House Plants/bug removal


how can I remove bugs from house plants that I have put out doors all summer?  like water bugs, etc.....I read some where, years ago, something to water with but can't you have any advice other than repotting?

Hi Virginia,

There is no foolproof answer to your question about removing pests from houseplants kept outside in summer. Every local region has different varieties of insect pests and there is no single answer for treating all of them. However, there are a few precautions you can take regardless of location.

First, use a strong hose spray to knock off any pests that may have attached themselves to leaves and stems.

Second, remove any loose debris, including pests, that have accumulated in the loose soil on the top surface of the rootball.

Third, if you suspect there are pests living down in the soil, then you will have to force them out with plain water. Water the plant thoroughly and then let the pot sit in a tub or bucket of water filled close to the rim of the pot. Leave the pot for about an hour or two. This will cause any critters to abandon the flooded soil in search of oxygen.

Finally, I want to point out that most insects that are normally outside, do not fare well when brought indoors for the winter. Many insects die off on their own after a month or two.

I have written detailed articles on indoor plant pests and on moving plants outside that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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