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various pests can attack interior plants. The most common are mealybugs, scale insects and two-spotted (red) spider mites. When these are left unchecked, they make the plants unsightly. And they can severely damage the plants, which may shorten their life.
The key to keeping plant pests under control is to comprehend why the pests are there and be mindful of control measures available.
Many insect (and mite) species need plants for their survival. They live, feed and breed on plants and have evolved to coexist with them. Under natural conditions, plants can thrive even if there is a large population of insects living on them. The plants are able to outgrow any damage caused and the insects are controlled by natural predators such as other insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals.
Indoor plants do not have the advantages of a truly natural environment where plants and insects live in balance. If the plants can’t outgrow any damage caused by insects and the insects are not controlled, then they become pests that must be dealt with.
Instead of trying to control insects after they have caused a problem, aim to prevent them becoming damaging pests. You can take several steps to achieve this. First we try to prevent any insects from infesting the plants. This can be achieved by ensuring that plants are grown in clean, well-controlled conditions and do not come into contact with infested plants whilst still on the nursery.
Next, we can do our best to keep our plants clean. Regular cleaning not only keeps plants looking attractive, but it can dislodge any pests that have begun to infest the plant and remove any webbing or nests that the pests have built.
Finally, we can do as much as we can to keep the plant healthy. A healthy, actively-growing plant can better withstand the ravages of a pest infestation than a weak and poorly-developed example. By ensuring our plants are growing in just the right environmental conditions and are fed and watered properly, we can do our best to ensure that the plant remains in perfect health. A sick plant may attract damaging insects as well as give those that are already present an opportunity to multiply.
By keeping a close eye on the plants’ condition and understanding the way that plants and insects interact, displays can be kept healthy and attractive at all times without the need for expensive re-planting or treatment!