So it has been a great year growing outside. The days have started getting shorter and the temperatures are starting to drop. The poor little babies are desperate for some warmth, so they get brought in the house with the inside plants. Little did you know that these beloved plants were harbouring fugitives! Little, tiny, creepy, crawly, fugitives!
These sneaky little pests can be hidden all over the plants and once in the warmth of the house they can take over every plant they come into contact with. Just last week a basil plant was brought in from outside and in just a few short days, every plant in the house was fully infested with spider mites. So what can we do to prevent unwanted insect visitors in our homes during this time of the year?
Check your plants for damage. It is important to know what type of pest you are dealing with, if any at all. Each type of pest bug creates a different type of damage. Spotting damage from spider mites, scratching and bronzing of the leaves with thrips, and curling leaves is common when dealing with aphids.
Wash your plants. Make a mixture of lukewarm water and dish soap and wipe/rinse plants down thoroughly. Make sure to get the undersides of the leaves, as that is where most insects gather and lay their eggs. Once the plant is wiped, rinse it off with a hose on a shower setting.
Re-pot your plant if possible. Substrate is one of the largest transporters of pests. When cleaning the plants some adults or eggs may fall into the soil, or some may already be in the soil in pupal form (thrips). If time and resources allow, re-pot your plants.
Invest in beneficial insects. When initially checking plants for damage what type of damage was visible? If spotting from spider mites was found Phytoseiulus persimillis or Neoseiulus californicus will be an effective predator. If thrips was the discovery when first investigating then Neoseiulus cucumeris or Orius insidiosus predators are recommended. Aphids can be treated with Chrysopa carnea or Adalia bipunctata.
Monitoring and best practices. Best practice for bringing plants indoors is keeping the plants separate from the rest of the indoor plants at least for a week but two weeks if possible. This allows the outdoor plants to be monitored for signs of infestation and helps lower the possible of infection spreading to the already clean indoor ones. When watering plants start with the clean or least infested to most infested plants. This means watering indoor plants first then your newly brought in formally outdoor plants last. When watering the plants always check for damage from insects or for the presence of the insects themselves. A great way to check for insects is to use a magnifying glass and give plants a quick once over after every water. Yellow sticky cards can help attract pest insects away from your plants and also help with pest monitoring.
Following these steps may prevent a catastrophic infestation of pests when moving from outside to inside for the winter. Prevention is ALWAYS better than having to clear a heavy infestation.
What insect do you have the most problems with when moving your plants from outside to inside for the winter? Let us know in the comments!
Photos containing cannabis were used with permission from www.growweedeasy.com. Please head to their website to check out expert tips and tricks on how to successfully grow cannabis.