Scale insects come in all varieties of shapes, round, oval or oyster-shaped, and are dark brown or black. They are readily identified, however, by the fact that adults of the species cannot move and they affix themselves tenaciously to the plant and refuse to budge. They most often attack ferns, palms, ivy, rubber plants and citrus fruits. Insecticides are not totally effective and so the only way to rid your plants completely of these pests is to pick them off individually by hand. Here again the toothpick wrapped in cotton and dipped in alcohol is useful and effective.
Red spiders are those minute red bugs so small that they are difficult to detect without magnification. Often the first indication you have of their presence is a fine web at the joint of the stem and a leafstalk. These insects thrive in hot dry air and an infestation of spider mites indicates that the air is too dry and more humidification is needed. They can be washed off with a strong spray of clear water, but as an extra precaution it is wise to treat also with a nicotine-based insecticide.
White flies are tiny moth-like creatures which attack Geraniums, Lantana and other plants. They are hard to control as they will fly off whenever the plant is sprayed, and will return later. The best approach is to spray several times a week with an insecticide until the pest disappears.
The list compiled here may seem long, but remember what we said at the beginning of the chapter; with proper care you never need face the situation of an insect-infested home garden. Below is a list of symptoms and things to watch for concerning the health of your plants. As you will see, good general care and attention will remedy most of the ills listed.