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indoor plant pests - questions

Rene Muslin rmuslin at wesleyan.edu
Thu Jul 6 16:19:28 EST 1995

hello all,

my rubber plant has recently gotten some insects.  They are white and 
furry, relatively big, (ie - i can spot them on a leaf from at least 5 feet), 
and ellipsical in shape, (though bordering on circular).  It was suggested to 
me that they might be mealy bugs.  

when i first noticed them i killed all the ones i saw, (about ten on the 
whole plant) and washed the leaves.  The next day i saw another one and 
killed it.  Since then i hadn't seen any til yesterday.  BUT, that first time i 
washed the leaves i went to wash the bottom of the pot and i found all 
these really little bugs that i wouldn't necessarily have noticed if i hadn't 
looked closer.  They look like they might be the babies of these pests.  
These are there all the time.  I wash the pot every other day, (should be 
every day i assume),  but they always are there.

my questions are these:

do the white bugs seem like they are mealy bugs to you?  (by the way, 
they didn't really seem to be doing any harm to the plant except for one 
spot on one leaf that looked sort of like a nest because there were about 
five there).  

if they aren't mealy bugs, what could they be?

do you think that they big white ones on the leaves are related to the small 
ones underneath the pot?

Are the small ones under the pot actually living in the soil and coming out 
through the holes in the bottom of the pot?

if they are in the soil, then are they most likely damaging the plant in a 
way i can't see yet?

how do i get rid of these pests?

is there a better word for them than pests?

lastly, could someone point me in the direction of a good book or such 
that deals with plant pests, (specifically indoors) really well.  Also, if the 
book has or if there is a site from which I could download color fotos of 
insects, (un/magnified), that would be great.  It would make identifying 
them much easier for a novice.

thanks ahead for any and all help,

rmuslin at wesleyan.edu

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