Pests - Part 1: I’m Tired Of These God Damn Pests On This God Damn Plant!

Pests - Part 1: I’m Tired Of These God Damn Pests On This God Damn Plant!

Houseplants, we love them - however, they come with their fair share of challenges, including pesky critters and we’re not super pumped to say this, but sadly it is all part of the hobby. From Mealy Bugs to Spider Mites, Thrips to Scale insects, houseplant pests can cause serious damage and stress to your plants if they go unseen. So let's rate some of the common ones and get to know them a little better.


Easy to Identify - 10/10:
Fluffy white balls of hell, dotted around your plant (adults) or can look like miniature woodlice if fluff hasn’t developed yet (young mealys, also known as crawlers)

Reproduction Rate - 7/10:
Pretty fast reproduction, will lay 600 eggs at a time and will hatch in a week. On the bright side, young mealy bugs take 40 days to sexually mature, so you have a month before the next generation lays.

Speed of Damage - 5/10:
Relatively slow compared to some other pests, if treated in a timely manner the aesthetics of the plant wont be super bad.

Difficulty Treating - 7/10:
Easy to spot, however they hide in nooks and can come back with a vengeance if treatment stops suddenly. Waxy fluff is waterproof so washing with water isn’t super effective. Fluffy adults are more tolerant to pesticides, but detergent solution works just as well.

Cuteness - 2/10:
Fluffy and cute from afar, but trust us when we say watching them eat your plant under a microscope will change that opinion pretty quick. Side Note: Could do with a haircut.


Easy to Identify - 4/10:
Pretty hard to spot actually. A lot of the time you will see the damage before you see the individual pests. They are very small and dark and can fly so catching them in the act is pretty rare. But as one of the most common houseplant pests, the damage is pretty textbook and the brown spotty patches will be a clear sign that thrips are in the building.

Reproduction Rate - 9/10:
Oh boy do you want to catch these guys asap. Thrips have a very short life cycle meaning that they reach sexual maturity quickly (usually within 4 days of hatching). Thrips have a generation cycle of usually 1-3 weeks - this means every hatched egg from that last 300 egg batch can make their own 300 eggs within a week of being born. Now that’s scary…

Speed of Damage - 9/10:
Again these guys work quickly. They pierce the plants tissue to feed, and causes the classic scarring that we know to be thrip damage. They are sort of like plant mosquitoes, imagine getting bitten all over and now your covered in swollen bites. That’s sort of how your Thripy Monstera feels right about now.

Difficulty Treating - 3/10:
Despite the quick, stealthy damage these guys can cause, they’re pretty easy to treat. Choose a method to treat your plant and do this a couple times over. This normally does the job (of course this depends on the severity of your outbreak and how well you’ve isolated the infected plants).

Cuteness - 1/10:
Let’s be real here it’s a pretty standard small dot of an insect. Though they have cute dorky looking eyes under a microscope so have a point for that.


Easy to Identify - 7/10:
Fairly easy to identify, stationary bumps along the stem are a classic scale trait. If there is a bunch of blobs on your plant, it’s probably scale.

Reproduction Rate - 2/10:
Wow these guys like the slow land steady life! An entire life cycle can take up to and over 2 months, with sexual maturity being reached at around week 7. This means you have plenty of time to get all adults and young gone before they have another scaly baby shower.

Speed of Damage - 9/10:
Although stationary, these guys will damage your plants fast. They chew into your plants stem under their armoured shell, and drain nutrients directly from your plants system. When hundreds are doing this at once, your plant can wilt very quickly and produce deformed leaves.

Difficulty Treating - 4/10:
4/10 Given that these guys don’t really move, so it’s pretty easy to treat when you have the right equipment. Just make sure to go over the plant a few times even after you’ve removed the visible bumps as young crawlers may still be around finding their place to latch.


- -100/10:
Nope, nope, a thousand times nope.

Spider Mites

Easy to Identify - 7/10:
Fairly easy to spot but is often mistaken for just dust on the underside of a leaf. Look closely and you’ll see some movements eventually! Webs are a dead giveaway too!

Reproduction Rate - 7/10:
Reaches sexual maturity fairly quickly (about a week), but only lays 100 eggs at a time, a lot less than the other pests on this list. Don’t get lax though, 100 eggs per individual every 7 days means infestations can happen quickly and out of nowhere!

Speed of Damage - 8/10:
These guys damage plants quickly. One day you’ll be just checking out your plants and all of a sudden you’ll see the classic signs of small dots all over. Once you notice, you’ll start noticing those freckles of damage everywhere, and it only gets quicker from there.

Difficulty Treating - 6/10:
If you go down the chemical route, it can be easy to miss a few individuals and the infestation will just start again in a few weeks. However, predatory mites are incredible effective against spider mites, and they won’t stop until all those bad mites are eaten.

Cuteness - 0/10:
We love spiders but these guys definitely should stay microscopic - not into it.

Fungas Gnats

Easy to Identify - 10/10:
Listen, if you’re not getting annoyed by tiny little flies always being around your living room, you probably don’t have fungus gnats. They love to let you know they’re in your house by just by being all up in your face.

Reproduction Rate - 6/10:
A generation takes about a month, so is a lot slower than our other pests on this list. However, infestations often start from big store soil bags which have been left out for a while, so once you’ve got an infestation, its likely there’s already plenty in the population to cause a nuisance.

Speed of Damage - 0/10:
Well, we can’t be too mad at them I guess. They only eat mould from the top layer of soil or wherever else mould might be, they won’t hurt your plants!

Difficulty Treating - 7/10:
It takes a while to get rid of these guys, simply because they don’t really collect in one area. Best bet is to add a fresh top layer of the appropriate soil to your plants and use some sticky traps and let the population slowly decline.

Cuteness - 4/10:
Ya know what… as pests go… they look kind of cool up close when you google them. They’re hang around mostly to tell you that you’ve over watered a plant, plus they don’t actually hurt our plants so points there for sure.


Join us for Part Two of the blog - we'll be focusing on solutions and prevention. We'll provide you with practical tips and tricks for eliminating these pests from your plants, as well as guidance on how to maintain healthy and happy houseplants. Whether you're a seasoned plant parent or a newbie, you'll find plenty of helpful information to keep your indoor garden thriving.

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1 comment

Best bug guide I’ve read. I mean who looks at critters for a cuteness guide, lol.

Although now I need to locate predatory bugs as my entire garden/ house/ everything is covered in spider mites!

Marsha Cooper

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