9 Types of Insects That Live on Indoor Plants

Types of Insects That Live on Indoor Plants
Photo by minka2507 on Pixabay

Do you love houseplants? They liven up any home and bring a touch of nature indoors.

But what happens when these plants also become inhabited by bugs? So do you know the types of insects that live on Indoor plants?

Houseplants are an integral part of indoor decor; they provide color, texture, and vibrancy to any interior space.

With houseplants come the ever-so-pesky insects that not only disrupt the beauty of plants but can also wreak havoc on their health. 

Types of insects that live on Indoor plants are extremely susceptible to insect infestation despite the many methods homeowners employ to protect them.

While some may go undetected, certain insects live on Indoor plants and find refuge in pots and potted plants. 

Understanding the various types of insects that live on Indoor plants can help us identify suitable solutions for proper pest control.

Our article will discuss some common (and uncommon) pests responsible for destroying or damaging your favorite indoor plants.

1. Mealybugs

by USDA ARS Photo Unit is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Mealybugs are first on our list of types of insects that live on Indoor plants. It is a type of insect commonly found in indoor plants.

They have oval-shaped bodies covered in a white, waxy substance and can range from 1 to 5 mm in size. 

These types of insects that live on Indoor plants feed on plant sap, which weakens plants and reduces their overall health.

Mealybugs also excrete a sticky substance known as honeydew that attracts other pests, leading to even more damage to the plant. 

Mealybugs can reside on various houseplants, including succulents, cacti, ferns, ivies, agaves, aloes, hibiscus, palms, and others.

They are particularly attracted to stressed or unhealthy plants, so it’s important to regularly inspect your houseplants for any signs of damage, such as discolored leaves or stems. 

To get rid of them manually, you can use tweezers or cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to remove the bugs.

Insecticidal soap may also help reduce populations, but it’s best to contact an exterminator for help if you’re dealing with an infestation.

2. Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats
by John Tann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fungus gnats are also on our list of types of insects that live on Indoor plants.

It is a small, dark-colored insect often seen hovering or crawling around indoor plants.

They can vary in size from 1/8 to ¼ of an inch in length and are commonly mistaken for fruit flies. 

Adult fungus gnats live for about seven to 10 days and feed on decaying organic matter and fungi on the soil’s surface.

They lay eggs near the roots or at the base of the plant stem, where they feed on root hairs, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients to the plant.

The larvae stage causes the most damage to houseplants, rapidly reproducing and spreading disease throughout their living environment.

The larvae feed off plant roots for up to two weeks before pupating in the soil and emerging as adults. 

Fungus gnats have been known to spread plant diseases such as black spots, powdery mildew, scab, rust, and mosaic virus infections since they carry these pathogens on their legs while moving from one plant to another.

In addition, their larvae can damage sensitive root systems by consuming the organic matter collected deep within the soil layer.

3. Aphids

by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Aphids are tiny types of insects that live on Indoor plants.

They feed off the sap from the leaves and stems of plants, sucking up the sugars, proteins, and water content which can cause weakened or deformed leaves.

The sticky honeydew they secrete onto the leaves makes an ideal home for mold and other fungi growth, which can further damage the plant.

The most common type of aphid is usually green, but red and black variations exist.

Aphids reproduce quickly and don’t require a mate to do so, so an infestation can happen quickly before you even notice any signs of their presence.

Besides physical damage caused by their feeding habits, aphids can also transmit diseases to your favorite indoor plants, which is why it’s important to address any problem as soon as possible. 

As they mostly inhabit soft-stemmed crops such as annual flowers, vegetables, or herbs, treating soil and above-ground areas with insecticide may be necessary to eliminate all the pests.

If a light infestation occurs, you may remove them manually using soap, water, or rubbing alcohol.

4. Thrips

by Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia, Bugwood.org is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Thrips are tiny insects that can be found living on indoor plants.

They are typically between 1 and 2 mm in size but sometimes smaller than 0.5 mm; they’re generally too small to see with the naked eye. 

These insects that live on Indoor plants breed rapidly and can quickly become an infestation.

They feed on the leaves of plants, causing white spots and long streaks of dead foliage that stand out against the plant’s healthy green leaves. 

Thrips also damage flowers by cutting off the plant’s pollen supply, resulting in flowers that do not open or droop prematurely, as well as discoloration and early death of buds.

Besides eating tissue from plants, thrips may feed on fungi and organic debris in the soil.

It is possible to identify a thrip infestation by simply looking for their tiny black bodies running across stems and flower parts if it is necessary to determine what type of insect is present on your plant.

As soon as you spot them take action quickly so that the infestation does not worsen and spreads more throughout your plants. 

To eliminate these types of insects that live on Indoor plants, use an insecticidal soap or apply neem oil to the affected areas twice a week until their numbers have been reduced significantly or no longer show up during inspections done randomly over several weeks or months.

Additionally, reducing humidity levels around your plants helps reduce new generations of thrips eggs from hatching.

5. Spider Mites

Spider Mites
by Mick E. Talbot is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Spider mites are a type of insect that can live on indoor plants and cause immense damage to their foliage.

While they may be small, these arachnids measure just around 0.5mm and can usually go unnoticed for a long time.

They reproduce quickly and are very hard to eliminate, so it’s important to identify signs of infestation before it’s too late.

To spot spider mites, you should examine both your indoor and outdoor plants for web-like structures, yellowing of the leaves, brown spots, or disfigured leaves, as these could all be signs that you have an infestation on your hands.

You can also check the undersides of plant leaves where the mites normally hide during the day to look for, but they can sometimes be harder to see with the naked eye, so you might need a magnifying glass if possible. 

If there’s still any doubt, you can combine all-purpose insecticide with soapy water and lightly spray affected areas, as this should help control their population in small amounts.

However, suppose the situation gets out of hand. In that case, consulting a professional pest management service might be best to ensure your plants don’t suffer further damage.

6. Scales

Scales are a type of insect that is commonly found on indoor plants.

They prefer warm, moist environments and can usually be found in white or brown specks on the leaves and stems of potted houseplants.

Scale insects feed on plant sap, drawing essential nutrients while leaving an equivalent amount of sticky wax that hardens into scales. 

Although these types of insects that live on Indoor plants appear to be part of the plant tissue, they are a covering for the insect underneath.

Scales can reproduce quickly, lay several hundred eggs, and infest an entire houseplant pot within weeks if left untreated.

Signs of a scale infestation include yellow discoloration in spots with white patches scattered throughout and small bumps along the surface of leaves. 

They also leave behind a residue that gives leaves a shiny coating or honeydew-like appearance.

To control scale populations, isolating infested plants from healthy ones is important as soon as possible.

Physically remove any visible scales by hand or use natural deterrents like neem oil or insecticides registered for indoor use.

Regular inspections should also be conducted to ensure your plants remain pests-free.

7. Springtails

by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Springtails are a type of small insect that like to live around and on indoor plants.

These insects that live on Indoor plants are usually quite small, measuring less than 3 millimeters in length, and come in various colors such as white, brown, or black.

They thrive in moist environments and can easily be found near soil deposits or other plentiful water sources.

Springtails feed mainly on decaying organic matter and use their sharp claws to crawl over the surface of plants in search of food. 

Springtail infestations should not be ignored, as they can cause serious damage to your plants over time if left unchecked.

If you find the springtail population getting out of hand, you may want to consider treating your plants with insecticides or other safe pesticide options. 

Additionally, maintaining proper watering routines will ensure that moisture levels are not too high, while regular soil aeration can help discourage these pests from breeding on your indoor plants.

With simple precautions, you can keep springtails at bay and prevent further infestations on your houseplants.

8. Leaf Miners

Leaf Miners
by Arthur Chapman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Leaf miners are an insect that lays eggs on the leaves of indoor plants.

Once these eggs hatch, the larvae create tunnels between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf, often leaving white markings. 

These tunnels and damage to the surface layer of leaves are a detriment to the overall health of plants; due to their destructive nature, indoor gardeners need to be aware and knowledgeable about this type of pest control.

The plant variety’s incidence/prevalence may vary; some leaf-miner species target specific foliage or vines. 

Some common signs that a plant could harbor these insects include white spots on its leaves and webs wrapped around stems causing premature wilting or yellowing foliage.

Other indicators include frass (insect feces) sticking outside from their burrows in the veins of their host plant, as well as tiny remnants left behind by larvae when they move onto other plants to feed.

To counterattack a leaf miner infestation, remove any mature leaf miners before they begin laying eggs again after pupation; this can be achieved through physical means such as hand picking or pruning shears when possible. 

It’s also important to remove any infected foliage or branches to prevent further spread; again, this can be done physically or with pest control applications such as insecticides, which should be used with caution due to their potential effect on human health not properly utilized.

Taking proactive steps in monitoring for signs & layers from leaf miners is key to adequately preventing them from wreaking havoc in your home’s greenery!

9. Whiteflies

by gailhampshire is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Whiteflies are Last on our list of types of insects that live on Indoor plants.

It is a tiny insect that lives on indoor plants and can cause serious damage to the health of a plant.

These pests feed on the sap of plants, which causes them to lose essential nutrients and can even cause their leaves to turn yellow and drop off. 

Whiteflies also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts other insects, such as ants, and causes sooty mold to form on plant foliage.

To get rid of these insects that live on Indoor plants, immediately remove any plants with heavy infestation from your home or office.

Next, wash the entire plant with warm water and spray it with insecticidal soap or neem oil. 

It would be best to use traps such as yellow adhesive cards or sticky tape near areas where whiteflies might be present to catch the adults before they spread further.

Natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings may also be released as biological control methods in severe infestations.

If all else fails, you can always bring an affected plant to a professional pest control company for treatment with stronger chemical pesticides when necessary.


In conclusion, many types of insects live on Indoor plants. These include aphids, mealybugs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies.

While these types of insects that live on Indoor plants can feed on the leaves of your plants and cause damage to them, they can be effectively controlled with self-care measures such as frequent monitoring, cleaning off existing bugs with a damp cloth or mild soap and water solution and using insecticidal soaps or oils if needed.

Individuals with an indoor plant should also ensure it is well watered and fertilized to ensure adequate nutrition to help reduce infestation levels.

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