Once again, I am back to the house plants. And in January, most of the insect pests haven’t really started to get out of hand. If you heat with a forced hot air system of some sort and the air in your home is very dry, you might experience a problem with spider mites now and again.
But for me, the biggest problem is always scale. And scale is a huge issue (despite its relatively small size).
If I am able to catch it early, I will simply take the plant to the sink, grab a toothbrush, and scrub the tops, bottoms, stems and trunk of the plant, rinsing it down with water as I scrub. This usually pretty well eliminates the problem, although I will have to watch to be sure that some of the little critters didn’t escape, only to come back and colonize the plant–& its neighbors –all over again.
If the plant is pretty much coated, now I have two choices. Do I try to repeatedly spray something, which will only work on the immature scale (those without the hard brown shell) to knock back the infestation, or do I ditch the plant?
In the case above–the two birds nest fern fronds–neither is so badly infected that I would need to ditch the whole plant. In fact, just by cutting off these fronds, and a few others, I have controlled the infestation for the moment. (And by the way, the top leaf shows mature scale with the hard brown shell; the bottom leaf shows mostly immature scale without the hard shell. )
I did have a smaller plant that was completely covered in scale. It was between these two. I had to discard it.
In most cases, the plant goes out. I resist spraying anything (even though I only use organic remedies ), particularly in the house. My indoor air quality is not worth that.
If, for some reason, I feel that I must try to save the plant, I will usually isolate it, and then wait until a warm day when I can take it outside for a few moments to spray. So for I haven’t had to do that yet. I have, however, tossed one plant.
As we get nearer to spring, other insects like aphids become more of an issue. But for now, watch out for scale.