Aphids are supposed to suck on plant leaves, so where do aphids come from indoors? How can they find their way to your indoor potted plants? Let’s find out.
Aphids are tiny insects that bite the soft and fleshy leaves and stems of plants and extract the sap from them, leaving the plant withered and malnourished.
They can come Indoors through open windows or doors. Sometimes, they get carried in with new plants or soil you buy from nurseries.
If you put your indoor plants out in the sun for the summer, aphids might move from infested plants outside and then come back in when you bring them back inside.
How Aphids Come Indoors
Aphids are tiny and can get into your house in many ways. You can carry them through your clothes, your pet’s coat, or new plants bought from a nursery.
Aphids can crawl into your plants, or ants can move them into your indoor plants (if there is no other way!).
Besides, some aphids can develop wings and fly in the air, invading your house through open windows and doors. Let’s look at these ways in more detail.
Hiding in Various Things
Although it’s not common, but when you walk past plants that are heavily infested by aphids, some might jump onto your clothes and come into your house with you.
Most aphids thrive on the leaves of plants. However, root aphids live in the soil and infest the root, extracting nutrients from the call sap of the plant.
The affected roots have poor outgrowth because all the nutrition gets extracted from them. Your plant would not be able to grow properly, the leaves would turn yellow, and ultimately the plant would wilt and die.
It is difficult to trace root aphids or their eggs in the soil. If you use soil from a nursery or reuse soil from old outdoor plants, it might be carrying some of these aphids.
Other Infested Plants or Flowers
Plant-to-plant infestation is most common for aphids. They can crawl from an infested potted plant into the nearby plant, lay eggs and then start their work of extracting sap.
If you keep your plants outside in the summer to get sufficient sunlight and air, aphids might crawl into your potted plant from infected outside plants.
Sometimes, Their Babies Can Fly
Usually, female aphids lay eggs that hatch to give rise to nymphs. Nymphs undergo several molting stages, wherein the bugs grow into adults.
Most insects grow their wings during molting. But aphids don’t have wings by default.
However, when the mother aphids sense any environmental stress or scarcity of food, they can lay eggs that hatch as winged insects (this is known as wing dimorphism)!
Baby-winged aphids can fly directly into your house through open windows and doors. They can settle downs on your indoor plants and start reproducing, resulting in aphid infestation.
Aphids in all forms, including adult, nymph, and egg stages, can hibernate through unfavorable environmental conditions.
The ability is mainly contributed by the presence of a considerable percentage of glycerol and mannitol that helps them survive in low temperatures.
Aphids can lay eggs on soil or on the undersides of leaves that overwinter to hatch once the temperatures get warmer inside your house (usually during spring). So you might suddenly find aphids on your plants whereas there were none earlier!
Before buying plants, inspect them for any spherical or oval-shaped eggs and cocoons (they are about 4/100th of an inch, so very difficult to see). If you find even one, do not buy that plant, as there might be many more than one egg in the plant.
Aphids can undergo an asexual process of reproduction (also known as pathenogenesis) when the outside conditions are amenable. In this process, they lay eggs and produce babies without the need for both female and male gametes.
Thelytokous female aphids continue producing clones till they have access to food, light, and a warm temperature.
Greenhouse plants or indoor plants provide the perfect environment for cloning, where the leaves of your plants are the never-ending food source for them.
A large army of aphids gets created from even one or two of these pests and can infest all the plants of your precious indoor garden, resulting in wilted and dying plants.
Aphid populations can grow exponentially. The smaller the species, the higher their rate of reproduction. These bugs can produce up to 150 baby aphids in just a month.
Imagine 75 females producing 150 aphids each in a month. You will have over 10,000 aphids in 2 months! Additionally, females can clone themselves (as explained above).
They reproduce in warm temperatures, but their eggs can survive the winter to hatch in spring. Aphids might be small in size, but they can spread very quickly in this way.
In a few months, their number can increase to an army of thousands, making it seem impossible to get rid of them.
Ways to Prevent Aphids From Coming Indoors
Once you know how aphids come Indoors, you need to focus on blocking those ways to prevent them from entering your house.
You can get rid of the aphids by using various natural techniques or by using chemical products on your plants. Natural techniques might include bringing beneficial insects to prey on them, and chemical methods would involve insecticides.
But more importantly, here are some preventive methods that stop them from coming into your plants in the first place.
Plant Seedlings Instead of Buying Plants
As discussed earlier, plants that you buy from nurseries may contain aphids or aphid eggs. They are tiny insects, and thus locating them on a plant or the soil of the pot is difficult.
You should not take the risk of buying plants even if the shop is trustworthy. Rather, buy seeds of the plants, apply good soil and proper nutrients, and plant yourself.
Give your Plants The Right Nutrition
Weak plants are more prone to attacks by pests and insects like aphids. It would be best if you provided your plants with good fertilizers that have the right minerals in adequate amounts.
Besides, your plants need light to synthesize food, so you should set up plant lights along your in-house garden and keep it on for about 14 hours.
Some plants have adapted themselves to synthesize chemicals within their body that are either toxic or undesirable for insects.
Herbs like cilantro, mint, catnip and chives are examples of aphid-repellent crops. You can grow these plants indoors without worrying about insect infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do aphids suddenly come from?
Aphids can come from open windows and doors. Besides, you or your pet can carry them inside with you on your clothes or fur.
They can come from soil or other infested plants that you buy from a nursery. You might have had them all along, and their eggs were overwintering and hatching just now.
How do I get rid of aphids in my indoor grow room?
You can try applying insecticides or spraying the infected plants with soapy water. You can do this by adding insecticidal soap to a stream of water.
Alternatively, you can rely on natural products such as neem oil or neem spray. Neem is a natural Insecticide and acts without affecting the plant.
Do aphids live in potting soil?
Yes, root aphids lay eggs on leaves, which can hibernate through the winter and mature in spring, with the aphids falling down into the soil.
Root aphids infect the roots and extract all the nutrients required by the plant from plant sap, thus retarding the growth of the plant and ultimately killing the entire plant.
Aphids are horrible pests to have in your indoor garden or greenhouse. They can come from anywhere, from open windows, your clothes, or the new plant you bought.
Eliminating them is very difficult once they come inside the house. It is best to check every plant before taking it inside. Only buy soil and insecticides from a trustworthy brand to avoid getting infected materials. Thank you for reading.
Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.
Letter 1 – Giant Conifer Aphid in Home
Subject: Little teardrop shaped beetles?
Location: Baltimore, MD
January 10, 2016 4:59 pm
I found three of these tiny critters crawling around on my floor today.
I am in Baltimore, Maryland. Never seen anything like them before, but three at once seemed like a potential problem. Thoughts?
The most common way for Giant Conifer Aphids to enter the home is on the live Christmas Tree.
Letter 2 – Aphids found Indoors
Two insects in the house
Location: New Jersey
February 1, 2012 9:40 pm
We have these two separate small insects in our house. Neither bites. The small winged one doesn’t appear to fly. The small ticklike one (it’s not a tick) seems to congregate around our baseboard heat. I’ve tried all the websites but haven’t come up with a name.
Thanks in advance for any info…
Both of your insects are Aphids, and they are most likely the same species. The winged individual is a sexually mature adult. Immature aphids and females that reproduce by giving live birth to clones without the need for a mate are generally wingless. Aphids are common pests on a wide variety of plants, including rose bushes, and you should be able to find much online information. We often hear of Aphids being brought indoors on Christmas trees, and that could be the source of your current sightings. You may have also brought Aphids in on plants that were brought indoors to avoid cold weather or even on fresh flowers from the florist or on fresh produce. Aphids will not harm your home.
Thanks so much for your quick response. This answers alot of our questions!!