Many people like to have various plants decorating their homes, adding a bit of brightness and the fresh look of nature to the atmosphere. While they may be beautiful to look at, house plants can also bring unwanted guests inside with them. Numerous insect pests live off of the nutrients they derive from plant matter, and those pests can sometimes be brought indoors with the plants they are infesting. As you can imagine, if these pests find a way inside your home, they can then move on to become a serious nuisance elsewhere throughout the house. Here are just a few of the insect pests that can be brought into the home through infested house plants.

Barklice or booklice, known officially at psocids, are commonly found on soil and flowerpots, and can be a particular nuisance in home greenhouses in undisturbed locations. They can quickly proliferate, their numbers growing quite numerous, which is largely what leads to them becoming such a nuisance. Their soft bodies are oval-shaped and somewhat flattened, and are yellowish white to grey in color, ranging from 1.2 to 5 mm. Depending on the species they can be winged or wingless. Thankfully, they do not harm living plants, feeding instead on fungi or dead organic matter. If an infested plant is brought inside, they can move on to feast on numerous other household items. In areas that become slightly damp they will often be discovered in your pantry feeding on damp and moldy cereals, as well as old books and papers.

Thrips are another insect pest that can infest house plants. These pests are very small and slender, with some species barely visible to the naked eye. Nymphs tend to be whitish, yellow, or orange, while adults are tan, brown, black, or blackish brown. The adults can be easier to spot, since they tend to run, fly, or leap away when disturbed. They feed on plants with their conical, rasping sucking mouths, destroying flower blossoms and cause leaves to curl, whiten, or become deformed. You can recognize their presence on plants by the irregular or streaked silver sections, which will also be speckled with small black dots that are the pest’s excrement. They can decimate all of the plants in your home if you are not careful to make sure none of the plants you bring inside are infested.

Have you ever accidentally brought infested plants inside your home?