indoor plant pests - questions

Maarten van Helden Maarten.vanhelden at
Mon Jul 10 05:39:15 EST 1995

In article <3thk10$cu6 at>, rmuslin at says...

snip snip...

>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).  

They certainly are mealy bugs, they often appear on ficus species.

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

No need to answer this.
>do you think that they big white ones on the leaves are related to the small 
>ones underneath the pot?

It is possible, some of the mealy bugs also feed on the roots of the plant, maybe 
they just appeared on the leaves because the population became too large in the soil.

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

Possible, but then you should check the roots tt !!

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

They are phloem sap feeders, so they feed on the very sugar rich phloem sap. That 
causes some harm to the plant because they take nutrients. Small colonies do little 
harm, unless they transmit viruses, which is unlikely in this case.

how do i get rid of these pests?

You can use pesticides, but a much better and safer solution would be to submerge the 
pot in water for a day or two. This should kill most of them.

>is there a better word for them than pests?

Pets ???, They are really interesting animals, apart from the fact that they are 
small they totally look like nice wooly sheep or childern toys. 

>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.
Try the excellent colorado entomology site with many pointers at

>thanks ahead for any and all help,
>rmuslin at

You're welcome !!!
||\\  //||  Dr. Maarten van Helden
|| \\// ||  Dept. of Entomology
||  \/  ||  Wageningen Agricultural University
||||||||||  Binnenhaven 7, 6709 PD
||      ||  Wageningen, the Netherlands
||      ||  Tel +31-8370-85118 Fax +31-8370-84821
||      ||  Email: <maarten.vanhelden at>

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