Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >
Mar 21, 2010 08:04 AM

Teeny, tiny white bugs on my indoor parsley plant. What to do?

How can I get rid of the insects without harming hubby or my cat? Yes, I know my cat shouldn't be eating my plants, but it's parsley. If he wants to freshen his kitty breath, who am I to stop him?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Probably spider mites. They like it warm and dry, so try spraying your plant with water a couple of times and they'll get discouraged. They won't hurt the cat or hubby, but may gross out the latter.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Samalicious

      That's it? Really? That's so easy. Thank you very much,

      1. re: Samalicious

        I was going to say aphids, but the treatment is the same.

        1. re: Samalicious

          Actually the white insects are White Fly... and yes a stream of water will dislodge them.
          If the water alone doesn't do the job, spray with a soap/oil mixture. Mix 1/2 tsp. insecticidal soap, 1/4 tsp. horticultural oil, and 1 quart water in a spray bottle.

          Spider mites are red or rust colored.

          1. re: Gio

            This also sounds more like white fly / whiteflies to me. I have had a persistent problem with whiteflies when I've tried to grow herbs indoors that I normally grow outdoors.

            The plants are harmless to humans and will not infest anything other than plants, but they can ultimately kill the plants they are infesting, and they are, unfortunately, generalists, and can spread from plant to plant, infecting other houseplants.

            I've had more of a problem with whiteflies on tender deciduous herbs, like parsley, and less of a problem with them on more leathery, thick-leaved evergreen houseplants, but they can sometimes spread to these plants too. Be careful about them spreading.

            Also, if it's a warm time of year, placing the plant outdoors will typically kill or limit the whiteflies. They are more of a problem indoors because there are few natural indoor predators. However, in a few cases an indoor infestation can spread to other plants outdoors, just something to keep in mind. For frost-hardy plants, they are killed by frost.

          2. re: Samalicious

            I just sprayed with water, include the bottoms. I will do it several more time and let you know how I fared.

          3. Warm water with some mild liquid or dish soap (harmless to the cat) also works too

            1 Reply
            1. re: DeniseB

              I'd definitely recommend the water/dish soap. I use it for my indoor plants and it works out fine. I've had to get more drastic with my pepper/tomato plants in my bed and containers. I have an aphid infestation that has gone crazy. Water/dish soap, citrus peel and juice (to keep the ants out) has only worked so much. I'm afraid I may have to go with pesticide this year.

            2. Keep a small spray/mister bottle for your plants only (only a buck at the dollar store) and add water and a bit (start with 1/8 of a tsp) of peppermint oil. Give the plant a good misting and remember to mist under the leaves as well. Remember to give the bottle a shake before spraying each time.

              For plants that will *not* be ingested, tea tree oil is remarkable.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MysticYoYo

                Please be careful, even a small amount of tea tree oil can kill cats.