Getting Rid of Houseplant Pests the Easy Way
A Fast Way to Treat Housplants for Insect
Wash the plant thoroughly in warm water to which you've added a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent. (Don't forget to treat the undersides of the leaves, too.) This is basic plant pest maintenance 101. If you think more than one plant is involved, move them all to the bathtub for convenient spraying and rinsing.
After the plant has had a chance to dry thoroughly, place it away from your other houseplants, and put a new pet flea collar on the shelf around the base of the plant. The insecticide in the collar is localized so it won't create many odor problems, but bugs typically loathe the smell. Even if the collar doesn't kill the critters, they'll evacuate the plant or at least lose their perky attitude. After a few days (four or five), remove the collar and wash the plant again. Hopefully, that will take care of the problem until things heat up in spring and you can give your plants a good blast of your favorite pest treatment. Avoid harvesting the edible leaves from your affected herbs the duration.
This isn't a perfect fix. Ideally, you should research the infestation and treat each plant thoroughly based on your assessment. In the real world, though, this is a quickie that may work and save you time, effort and pesticide fumes.
A couple of notes:
You can use one of my herbal insect treatments (there are recipes listed in sidebar), but some of them call for fresh herbs you may not have on hand (and the dried alternatives may not be as effective).
If the dog collar idea works pretty well for you during the first bug fighting round, you can repeat the process every couple of weeks.
I've used this method for years, and although it won't kill every pest, it kills quite a few and discourages many of the rest from multiplying like crazy and doing as much harm as they would otherwise.
If you're treating small plants like African violets, you can snip the collars into three inch pieces and treat multiple plants simultaneously. If you have leftover snippets, store them in the original bag (staple the top shut).
Oh, one last thing: Pet flea collars can get expensive, but major variety stores like Walmart sell generic alternatives that work just fine. When they're on sale, you can get them for as little as a dollar apiece, so stock up when you can.
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