What Are The Bugs on My Poinsettia? πŸ›

By Kiersten Rankel

Jun 17, 20242 min read

Safeguard your poinsettias 🌺 from bugs and ensure their holiday cheer with these expert tips!

  1. 🐞 Spider mites, scale, and mealybugs threaten poinsettias; use oils, soaps, or predators.
  2. Fungus gnats and whiteflies also harm; combat with traps, Bti, or vacuuming.
  3. Prevent infestations with humidity control, plant inspection, and sterile potting mix.

Common Bugs Affecting Poinsettia

πŸ•·οΈ Spider Mites

Tiny yet troublesome, spider mites suck the life out of poinsettia leaves, causing them to look stippled and pale. Webbing on leaves is a dead giveaway. To combat these pests, introduce predatory mites or apply horticultural oils with a vengeance.

πŸ›‘οΈ Scale

Sneaky scale insects latch onto stems and leaves, sapping nutrients and excreting sticky honeydew. Spot them as tiny bumps on your plant. Fight back with insecticidal soap or neem oil, and consider dabbing them with alcohol as a targeted strike.

🦟 Fungus Gnats / Fruit Flies

Fungus gnats and fruit flies are more than just a nuisance; their larvae feast on roots. Yellow sticky traps can serve as an early warning system. For a full-on assault, use a soil drench with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) to target larvae.

🐞 Mealybugs

Cotton-like clumps on your poinsettia? Mealybugs are the culprits. They cause leaves to yellow and curl. Swipe them off with alcohol-soaked swabs or unleash ladybugs as natural predators to keep these pests in check.

πŸ¦‹ Whiteflies

Whiteflies are like tiny vampires, draining your poinsettia of its vigor. They're notorious for resistance, so mix up your tacticsβ€”yellow sticky cards, insecticidal soaps, or even a vacuum to suck them from their perches.

Potential Damage Caused by Pests

Unchecked, these pests can turn your poinsettia into a ghost of its former self. Vigilance is keyβ€”monitor regularly and act swiftly to prevent a full-scale invasion.

Integrated Pest Management

Diversity is your friend in pest management. Combine cultural practices like proper spacing with biological warriors like beneficial insects. Chemicals are a last resort, but sometimes necessary to save your beloved poinsettia.

General Preventive Measures

Prevention beats cure every time. Keep humidity in check, inspect new plants like a hawk, and use sterile potting mix to avoid unwelcome guests. Remember, the best offense is a good defense.

Poinsettia plant with vibrant red bracts and dark green leaves, appearing healthy.
Healthy Poinsettia plant with vibrant red bracts and dark green leaves.
Poinsettia plant with vibrant red bracts and green leaves, placed on a table indoors.

Eradicate pests and ensure your poinsettia's health 🌺 with Greg's precise plant identification and proactive care plans that prevent infestations before they start.

You Might Also Want to Know...

How do I scout for whiteflies on my poinsettia plants?

You can scout for whiteflies by checking the underside of the leaves for whitefly eggs or immatures.

What is the predominant species of whitefly found on poinsettias?

The predominant species of whitefly found on poinsettias is Bemesia, also known as Venesia whitefly.

When should I start scouting for whiteflies on my poinsettias?

It's best to start scouting for whiteflies as soon as the plants arrive.

What should I look for when scouting for whiteflies on poinsettias?

When scouting for whiteflies, look for evidence of whiteflies, such as adults, pupae, or immatures, on the underside of the leaves.

How can I determine the percentage of poinsettia plants infested with whiteflies?

You can determine the percentage of infested plants by dividing the number of infested plants by the total number of plants sampled.

Which poinsettia varieties are more susceptible to whiteflies?

Poinsettia varieties with lighter-colored foliage, such as whites and pinks, are more susceptible to whiteflies.

Are dark red poinsettia varieties affected by whiteflies?

Yes, if dark red poinsettia varieties are affected by whiteflies, it may indicate a more widespread problem.

What should I look for to determine if biological control agents are working against whiteflies?

Look for evidence of parasitized pupae or nymphs, which may appear dried and discolored to determine if biological control agents are working against whiteflies.

Where should I look for whiteflies on poinsettia plants?

Whiteflies are more likely to be found on the new, young growth of poinsettia plants.

When should I consider using chemical control agents for whiteflies on poinsettias?

If more than 20% of your poinsettias are infested, especially by mid-September, it may be time to switch to using selective chemical control agents.