There are many insects that like nothing better than to eat plants.
As an indoor gardener you must be constantly on your guard against these damaging pests. A good magnifying lens (X15 or X20) is a very neccessary purchase. With this aid it is possible to spot not only the tell tale signs of destruction, but also the culprits themselves.
Plant leaves should be inspected daily for signs of insects. Should you come across any suspicious little visitors then you must take immediate action. Do not leave the job until tomorrow, because, as they say, “tomorrow may be too late!”
So how do you deal with the little pests?
There are several ways to eradicate your insect population. Apart from the use of natural predators, which is covered on the “Pests” page of this site, you can use a variety of proprietary foggers or “bug bombs” to destroy the infestation. Be wary of using any killer that contains lots of heavy chemicals. Start at the bottom of the chemical range and work up.
Personally I would use the following sequence, moving to the next only if their were live bugs still present.
Firstly use Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2).
Next would be soaps and detergents, for example, diluted washing up liquid.
The third line of defence would be Pyrethrums. An insecticide made from the dried flower heads of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium or C. coccineum.
Finally in desperation I would turn to the organophosphates, such as Diazanone and Malathon. (These last are banned in some countries because of the risk to health. They are linked to a lot of very nasty symptoms, including nerve damage, carcinoma and respiritory problems.)
If you choose to use Foggers or Bug bombs, it is vital to make sure that they are suitable for house plants. Do not use fumigator bug bombs.
THE FUMIGATOR BUG BOMBS WILL KILL YOUR PLANTS as well as your insect pests.
The use of HOUSE PLANT BUG BOMBS has to be carefully monitored. Remember that your plant needs to breathe as well. Half an hour, using a fogger with a mainly pyrethrum based product, followed by large amounts of fresh air should do the trick.
Remember to use a small bomb in a small area to avoid over-dosing the plants. It is strongly recommended that you do a test run on some expendable plants, prior to exposing your main plant base to the chemicals.
Because a lot of the more powerful chemicals used in insecticidal formulations are phytotoxic, they will cause leaf damage when applied in bright conditions. For this reason it is best to spray your bug killers on during the plant’s sleep phase. Make sure that the plants are dry before switching the lights back to full on. Always ensure that the temperature is turned down to 73 degrees Fahrenheit or less when spraying to avoid any leaf damage.
One final word of caution, people who smoke either home rolled cigarettes, cigars or a pipe should not be allowed to handle anything in the grow-room. The reason for this is the likelyhood of them contaminating the plants with the minute spores of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) . It is best to exclude all smokers in order to be on the safe side.