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Does A Money Tree Attract Bugs? (Common Bugs+How To Get Rid Of Them)

The money tree is a popular house plant that is resilient and easy to care for. Like the other houseplants, even the money tree can attract bugs that can become a big problem if not treated on time.

Let’s find out more about the bugs that can attack your money tree and how to get rid of bugs from your money tree.

A healthy money tree doesn’t attract any bugs. However, if the living conditions are inappropriate, then the risk of bug infestation is relatively high. Overwatering, excess humidity, and improper ventilation are some primary culprits that attract bugs like spider mites, gnats, mealybugs, etc.

While some bugs attack the money tree to feed on the plant’s sap, other bugs get attracted if the plant is overwatered and is living in a low light condition.

Let’s understand more about the different kinds of pests that can attack the money tree and how to get rid of them.


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What are the common bugs that attack money trees?

The common bugs that infect the money tree are: 

  • Gnats
  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Scales

Let’s study more about these bugs and find out how to identify them and the signs that can tell you that the pests infest your money tree. We will also discuss the ways of eliminating these stubborn pests.

Gnats

If you notice tiny flies on your money tree, these are most probably are fungus gnats. If you have an overwatered money tree, it is likely to attract gnats. 

Since the soil remains moist, it develops fungus, and the fungus gnats feed on that.

Identification

  • Small flies that look like mosquitoes.
  • 2.5 mm long body.
  • Found near or on the soil of the money tree as they are weak fliers.
  • The larvae are 1/4 inch long with a black head and white transparent body. 

Signs

  • Wilting leaves
  • Yellow leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Brown scars on roots

Whiteflies

If you notice a white cloud near your money tree, the plant has a whitefly infestation. These bugs are incredibly tiny and populate very fast. 

These bugs suck on the sap of the plant and excrete honeydew. You might also notice mold along with this.

Identification

  • A cloud of white bugs is seen whenever you move or brush the leaves.
  • Found on the undersides of the leaves.
  • Create honeydew on and around the money tree.

Signs

  • Yellow spots
  • Stunted growth
  • Curling leaves
  • Powdery mold

Mealybugs

If you notice a white and fuzzy substance on the leaves and stems of your money tree, then mealybugs have infested your money tree. These bugs also feed on the plant sap and excrete a large amount of honeydew and promote mold.

Identification

  • Fuzzy white bugs
  • Cottony substance around the stems and the nodes of the leaves.
  • Honeydew makes the leaves shiny.
  • Oval shaped
  • Brown or cream colored

Signs

  • Yellow leaves
  • Defoliation
  • Wilting
  • Stunted growth
  • Leaf drop

Spider mites

Spider mites are hard to notice with naked eyes, but if you see web-like structures on your plant, you can guess that spider mites have infested the plant. Spider mites suck the nutrition out of the plant, making the leaves and stems weak. If the condition worsens, the plant can even die.

Identification 

  • Extremely tiny brown or red spiders
  • Webs on the underside of leaves
  • Visible as tiny dots
  • Its eggs are not visible
  • Dust-like on the leaves 

Signs 

  • Curling of leaves
  • Dry leaves
  • Weak plant
  • Dropping leaves
  • Brown spots on the foliage


Aphids

Aphids can attack your money tree if the plant is placed in an area with high humidity. 

If you already have a plant infected with aphids and if the money tree was placed near it, the aphids might have interested the money tree from there as they can even come to the wind. 

Identification 

  • Tiny green pests
  • Red, brown, or blue
  • Populates fast
  • Attacks new growth
  • Eggs look like tiny dogs

Signs 

  • Stunted growth
  • Yellow leaves
  • Leaf drop
  • Deformed foliage
  • Sticky residue

Scales

Scales are tiny bugs that suck on the step of your plant and absorb all the nutrition from it. Unfortunately, scales can also invite ants. 

You will be able to identify scales only if you look closely at your money tree. 

Identification

  • Brown rounded lumps
  • Colors can vary from brown to white
  • Oval shaped

Signs

  • Yellow leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Leaf drop
  • Deformed leaves
  • Brown marks on leaves

Why do money trees get bugs?

If pests have infested your money tree, you need to take action as soon as possible and eliminate the bugs before they kill your money tree.

Overwatering

Overwatering is a severe problem and can lead to pest infestation in the money tree. The money tree does not enjoy sitting in the water for long.

If the drainage system of the money tree is not working well, it can lead to overwatering. If the drainage holes under the pot are not letting the excess water drain out, the plant will end up sitting in the water for longer than required.

If the money tree is exposed to too much water, the roots fail to function correctly. Due to this, the plant is unable to absorb any moisture or nutrition and becomes weak.

This not only invites pests but also causes fungal and bacterial infections.

If overwatering is the problem, you need to: 

  • To check the drainage system and make sure that it is working properly.
  • The potting mix should be well-draining.
  • Avoid watering the wet soil and wait for it to get dry.
  • Please the plant in a bright environment where it gets 6 to 8 hours of indirect light.

High humidity

If your money tree is placed in an area with high humidity levels, it can increase the chances of pest infestation.

Giving the money tree more water than required can increase the humidity for the plant. Misting the money tree frequently can also increase the moisture for the plant.

Pests require a moist environment to thrive and grow. Therefore, plants that are placed in high humidity areas are vulnerable to pest infestation.

Lack of air circulation

Keeping the money tree in an area that has good airflow is good for the health of the plant. Good airflow does not allow the humidity levels to increase.

If there is good airflow around the plant, the soil will get dry quickly and will not remain moist. This is not the ideal condition for pests.

If your money tree lacks proper air circulation around it, it can be the reason behind pest infestation in the plant.

How to get rid of bugs on money tree?

If you notice bugs on your money tree, you should get rid of them as soon as possible. Otherwise, they might do some severe damage to the plant from which it will not recover.

Here is how to get rid of the bugs on the money tree:

Isolate the plant

Once you identify the pest infestation, and if your money tree is grouped with other plants, you will need to isolate it so that the other plants don’t get infected.

Prune the damaged parts

You need to get rid of the affected and damaged areas to allow the plant to recover faster.

Use sterilized pruners to prune the damaged leaves and make sure to dispose of them. Use gloves while pruning the money tree, or wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of the damaged parts of the plant.

Shower the plant

Showering the money tree is an excellent idea to get rid of the pests. During the initial stages of infestation, it can help get rid of the pests without using pesticides or miticides.

Wash the plant thoroughly so that the water reaches all parts of the plant.

Use organic miticides

You can use organic miticides to get rid of the pests, and these don’t cause any harm to the plant.

You can choose from any of the following options.

Neem oil: Mix 2 tsp of neem oil with 1 gallon of water and spray it all over the plant. Continue for two weeks to see results.

Rosemary oil: Use diluted rosemary oil or any other horticulture oil and spray it on the plant. The pungent smell will repel and kill the bugs.

Cinnamate: Dilute cinnamate and spray on the money tree every three to four days till the pests get killed. Cinnamate is non-toxic and safe to use on plants.

You can also use a commercial miticide that is organic. I prefer this one.

Use household chemicals

If you don’t have the above miticides available, you can use household chemicals.

Rubbing alcohol:

  1. Add rubbing alcohol to water with the 1:1 ratio.
  2. Spray it all over the plant and wash it with normal water.
  3. Use this regularly.

Dish soap: You can mix 1 tsp mild dish soap with 1-liter water. Spray it on the plant and wash it off with plain water. Keep doing this till the pests persist.

Use commercial pesticides

You can opt for commercial pesticides available in the market, but they often contain harmful chemicals that can have bad effects on the plant.

Before purchasing the pesticide, read the instructions carefully. Avoid getting a pesticide that can harm the plant.


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Final Words

If you want to prevent the bugs from infesting your money tree, you need to avoid overwatering the plant and keep it in a bright spot where it will get enough indirect sunlight.

Use well-draining soil and a pot with working drainage holes so that the plant doesn’t get overwatered.

You can spray neem oil solution on the money tree every month to protect it from pests.


Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Common insect pests and diseases.