I first noticed them earlier this week. Little, tiny almost mite looking critters in the area of the container garden in my kitchen. This is diametrically opposed to my personal philosophy that bugs outside are okay as long as they don’t bite me, whereas bugs in my apartment? Not cool. Not cool at all. The only exception to that statement is assassin beetles because their awesomeness outweighs their bugginess.
Over the course of the last few weeks my bean plants went from growing beautifully to looking, well, a bit sickly. First, the leaves started turning yellow then white with an almost lace appearance. If not for the fact it was happening in my kitchen to my plants I might have even thought it pretty. Never having grown green beans before, I thought at first that it was the ping pong weather we’ve been having here in Michigan of late. Surely they didn’t appreciate the hot then cold then suddenly then gray thing that had been going on, so I cleaned out the truly dead ones and made sure to keep a closer eye on watering them.
The flaw in this plan was that not only did the beans keep getting worse, my beautifully healthy looking 1+ year old green pepper plants started to exhibit the same symptoms. So I decided to take a closer look and that was when I saw them. The nasty little bugs fraternizing illegally with my plants. I had noticed the adults before. They remind me of fruit flies, but don’t behave like them so I thought they were some sort of gnat-like creature flying in through the window. Gnats, however, do not kill bean plants.
I did some research based on the leave’s color change and the little black dots appearing underneath and I think I have finally been able to determine my variety of pest: lace bugs. Being an indoor garden I am lacking in the usual natural predators (like assassin beetles) and there is a chance I could be wrong in this diagnosis, but luckily the information I have found on natural pesticides is pretty consistent. So taking the various bits of advice to heart I have mixed up a batch of natural insecticide soap. It’s kind of a hybrid of what I read.
Natural Insecticide Soap Spray
1 quart water
2 tbl spoons liquid dish soap
1 tbl spoon baking soda
Splash of canola oil
Fresh chopped garlic
As you can see it is meant to be used as a spray. I was impatient so thoroughly disgusted by the black dots that yesterday I drenched cotton balls in the solution and gently wiped down the underside of the leaves before spraying the tops. Needless to say, my kitchen smells like garlic. They plants are looking a little healthier now, but we shall see. This may have been just the first battle in the war for my plants.