How to get rid of indoor insects attracted to plants

June K.April 14, 2014

I recently moved to a new apartment with great light and have been buying indoor potted plants, including edible herbs. What is a natural way to get rid of insects that are attracted to my plants? Diatomaceous earth maybe? I was planning to buy DE for my compost pail, anyway, but am not sure how to use it for plants. I think DE needs to be kept dry to be effective, so I shouldn't use it on the soil due to watering. None of my plants require misting. Can I dust the plants with DE, or will that hurt the plants themselves? Fyi I have (so far) daffodils, gardenias, a bunch of edible herbs and a few other flowering plants.

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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

I don't have an answer but am just curious. Do u already have insects.....or r u just being preventive? Because with all the various houseplants I have, I've never had any sort of insect problem. I know that it's best to inspect plants before buying and before bringing in house. And weather permitting, I sometimes give 'em a good spray with the hose before bringing 'em in, bit not always.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:29AM
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June K.

Hi Brit, it's a bit of both. I have been noticing more bugs and I remember getting bugs when I got houseplants in the past. Honestly, I wouldn't go out of my way to get rid of a few bugs, but I'm going to buy some diatomaceous earth anyway. I will spray down the plants that can get wet to see if it helps. Any other advice, using DE or not, would be appreciated, too. Thanks, all!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:01PM
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It is important to identify exactly what the insect pests are. DE is only effective on certain types, whereas insecticidal soap or neem oil may be more appropriate with sucking insects. And if fungus gnats, you may not need any insecticide at all but to back off on the watering and layer on some coarse sand.

But proper ID is paramount before specific suggestions can be made.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:22PM
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June K.

Gardengal, that makes absolute sense. I'm not familiar with insects other than fruit flies. Do you have any advice on how I can familiarize myself with potential pests so I can identify the ones we have?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:26PM
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What gardengal said.

As far as I.D. for pests, get really good with a camera and take pics. Then post them in the Garden Clinic forum. They'll usually have an answer.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:51PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

My plants are all move to outside. I just had Fungus Gnat problem. At the suggestion of friend at Hot peppers forum, I used Mosquito Dunk and it worked for me.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:52PM
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June K.

Kevin, that's a great idea! I'll do this.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:52AM
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