Indoor Pest Control

Indoor Garden Pest Control

Author: Eel River Hydroponics' Ryan Ledford
The damage done by indoor garden pest insects is detrimental to the healthy growth of plants and can cause serious damage to an indoor garden if not properly diagnosed in a timely manner. This damage can range from stressed, low producing plants to all out death in some cases. That is why it is imperative to learn about these insects and what signs of damage each pest produces, and maybe even more importantly how to abate these effects and stop pest activity within your indoor garden. Once a pest’s identity is known, their potential life cycle, seasonal cycle, and habits can be learned, Controlling them can be implemented quickly and effectively. There are several options when it comes to combating pest insect infestation including, insecticidal soap, neem or pyrethrin-based insecticides, miticides and repellents.
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Some of the most recognizable offenders of the indoor garden are spider mites, thrips, aphids and white fly.

Typical Indoor Garden Pests

Spider mite adults average 0.04 inch in size and vary in colors from white, orange, red and black. They lay small, round, initially transparent eggs and many species spin webbing to help protect the colony from predators and to allow increased movement and destruction of the plants. Spider mites feed by piercing the plant cell walls and consuming the contents of the cell as food. Normally spidermites and their eggs are visible on the underside of the leaf making initial diagnosis difficult. Yellow spotting on the tops of leaves and webbing on plants are good signs of mites feeding in your garden.
Thrips adults are very small, reaching a size of about 1/50 of an inch, which makes them a very difficult bug to spot in the garden. Because of the size, many thrips infestations are not identified until the infestation is a moderate to severe case. Adult thrips vary in color from translucent white/yellow to brown and black, are extremely fast moving, and can fly. Thrips feed on plants by piercing the plant cell walls and extracting the contents of the cell out as food. Leaves with small silvery streaks and black spotting (feces) around the feed marks are a good sign of feeding thrips.
Aphid adults are pear shaped and range in size of 1/32 to 1/8 of an inch. They have long antennae and short tubes protruding out the back of the abdomen. The aphids range in color from green, pink, brown, grey, or white and are fairly easy to spot. Aphids feed on plants by extracting plant sap as food. Damage on plants will be visible destruction to leaves, flowers and fruit.
White fly averages in size between 0.04-0.08 inches. They are white/yellow in color and cause crop damage through direct piercing into leaf veins and extracting plant sap as food. White fly tends to be easy to recognize as small ‘clouds’ of flys will disperse from and return to disturbed or shaken plants. Damage shows as small yellow spotting on the upper side of leaves.

Preventing Indoor Garden Pest Infestations - How infestations Happen

The old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Keeping your grow room clean is crucial to the fight against bugs indoors. All pests that are found in an indoor garden came from an outside source. For example, pests can ride in on humans, pets, outdoor gardening tools, non-sterilized soil and planting mixes, fly in through un-filtered air intakes, and can be present on newly acquired clone stock. Old plant debris and excess dirt are excellent hiding and breeding places for pests.

Controlling an Indoor Garden Pest Infestation - What to Do

So, first you identify an insect problem by spending an appropriate amount of time in your garden observing and noticing pest issues early. Then you isolate those plants from further contaminating your garden. Try to physically remove the bug population as much as possible then apply a pesticide, organic if possible. Hanging blue and yellow sticky traps at canopy level will help catch thrips and white fly, and there are always biological control solutions such as predatory bugs. Stay vigilant with your crop checking everyday for additional stress from pests and to make sure you’re maintaining control of the problem.
All intake fans should have air filters, clothing, tools, and equipment should be clean when entering your garden. All new plant stock should be quarantined from your clean room until you are fully satisfied with them being pest and disease free. Check your new plant stock daily for signs of fresh bug stress. It only takes a few days for un-noticed pest eggs to hatch and thus begins the cycle.
Being on guard and proactively taking these steps will help your garden grow healthier and help you control any indoor pests and keep them from damaging your garden. 
More questions?  Give us a call at 707-726-0395 or stop by the store at 164 Dinsmore Dr. Fortuna, CA. 95540 for personal expert help.
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