Insects are less of a concern in the winter, but there’s one thing that makes your home more susceptible to a bug invasion. Houseplants. When temperatures drop to the point of freezing homeowners usually bring potted plants indoors, which gives some bugs easy access into the home.
You want to protect your plants, but not at the expense of your home. So what are homeowners with green thumbs to do? Taking a few precautions will keep pesky critters from spending the rest of the winter shacked up in your (ironically named) spider plants, weeping figs and all other houseplants.
Give Them a Good Once Over
No matter what time of year it is, plants need to be carefully inspected before coming indoors. Take a close look at all the leaves, including the undersides, and poke around the soil to look for bugs that have burrowed down. Critters like ants prefer to overwinter in the soil, including the dirt of potted plants. Once inside a warm home they can become active and turn into a huge problem.
Another thing to look for are leaves that have been chewed on. This is less likely during the winter, but it’s a tell-tale sign an insect used your plant for a meal.
Wash Plants Off
An even better way to make sure no insects hitch a ride inside is to wash the plants off. That’s right, plants can be washed off with lukewarm water in the sink or tub to dislodge any bugs that may be hiding in the leaves, flowers or branches. If it’s not too cold outside larger plants can be sprayed off with the hose and aired out for a few minutes before being moved indoors.
Like all living things insects need water to survive. Damp soil will not only attract pests, it will also serve as a breeding ground for gnats, mosquitoes and more. Giving the soil time to dry out between waterings can help kill off larvae that may be lurking beneath the surface.
Use a Homemade Bug Spray
If you suspect that your houseplants may be harboring insects a homemade bug spray can flush them out. There are a variety of safe mixtures that can be used indoors, but one of the most effective options is neem oil. Mix a half ounce of neem oil with a half teaspoon of dish soap and two quarts of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle so it’s easier to cover the entire plant.
If houseplants have been coming in and out of your home then a winter pest control treatment is a good idea. At Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Inc. we provide year round services that keeps homes bug-free season after season. Give us a call to discuss how we can help you transition from winter to spring without any pest problems.