Let it Grow: Get rid of unwanted insects quickly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2005

With the cooler weather upon us, you may have noticed some unwanted creatures in your home.

A lot of these bugs came in on the plants that you brought in over winter.

If you have time to treat your plants outside before you bring them in, that would be best.

However, if you have already placed them indoors and you see some pests on your plants, treat the problem immediately.

Pests can spread from plant to plant easily when they are warm and your plants are closer together.

First of all, identify the bug.

All bugs are not the same when it comes to killing them.

Also, the same bug on different types of plants may need to be treated differently. For example: If you have mealy bugs on your scheffelera, you can easily treat them with an insecticidal soap.

However, if the mealy bugs are on your African violets, the soap can do much harm if you cover the entire plant with this product.

Instead, you should apply the soap with a cotton swab and completely cover the bugs. You can do the same with isopropyl alcohol and a swab.

For any insects with piercing-sucking mouthparts such as scale, mealy bugs and aphids, use the soap.

Ants may have also invaded your plants.

When you bring the plants indoors, you are giving the ants a haven for warmth and food foraging.

According to Dr. Xing Ping Hu, entomologist at Auburn University, &8220;Homeowners should water plants thoroughly before bringing them into the house. Watering will force ants out of the soil.

&8220;Check plants to ensure ants haven’t crawled onto the foliage. If ants have infested your home, identify the type of ants before applying insecticides. The most efficient way to control an indoor ant problem is to use an ant bait formulation.&8221;

Hu says, &8220;Different ants have different food preferences and behaviors, so knowing the type of ant you are up against will greatly affect the success of an ant bait.&8221; More pest info is available from Dr. Hu at ACES.edu.

For more on these and other gardening tips listen to Home Grown Tomatoes every Saturday from 6-8 a.m. on 101.1 FM or log on to HGTradio.net.