Bird of paradise is a spectacular plant that’s closely related to the banana. It gets its name from its brightly colored, spiky flowers that look like a tropical bird in flight. It’s a showy plant, which makes it all the more devastating when it runs into trouble. Keep reading to learn more about bugs that attack bird of paradise plants.
Insect Pests on Bird of Paradise Plants
On the whole, bird of paradise plants are relatively pest free. That doesn’t mean bird of paradise bugs are unheard of, though. Maybe the most common problem pests with bird of paradise plants are mealybugs and scale. Scale appears as hard little brown spots on the stems and undersides of the leaves. Mealybugs appear as white patches of fuzz on the leaves.
Some other bugs that attack bird of paradise plants include caterpillars, snails, and grasshoppers, which all make their presence known with bite marks on the leaves. Leaf borers may be seen attacking flower bracts in late summer.
Aphids are sometimes a problem and can be seen with the naked eye. In fact, a surefire sign of aphids, other than physically seeing them, are ants covering the plants as they farm the sweet honeydew these pests leave behind.
Controlling Bird of Paradise Pests
Any large bird of paradise pests like caterpillars and snails can be picked off by hand. Aphids can be knocked off the plant with a steady spray of water. Scale and mealybugs can be removed with rubbing alcohol.
All of these pests can also be treated with an insecticide or with a horticultural oil. Systemic insecticides, or insecticides that are taken up through the roots to circulate through the whole plant, are especially effective.