What are these bugs on my hibiscus?

Pocono Lake, PA(Zone 5b)

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what these bugs are on my hibiscus? I brought it inside for the winter and it is under a grow light. I did not see/notice these on the plant while it was outside during the summer. Are they harmful? If so, what should I do to get rid of them?

Thumbnail by allieninja
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The green things are aphids, not sure if the white ones are also aphids or something else. Insecticidal soap works pretty well on aphids (or just rinsing the plant off in the sink). But make sure you keep an eye out and repeat the treatment a few times--if you miss even one they reproduce very quickly so if you treat it once and then ignore it for a week you might be right back to where you started from.

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

The white ones are their shed exo-skeletons.

Pocono Lake, PA(Zone 5b)

Do they hurt the plant?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Yes, if you don't do anything about them they can hurt the plant. They suck the juices out of the leaves and eventually the leaves will die if they get sucked on enough. I've never had aphids actually kill a plant (although I've never just left them alone when I find them either), but I highly recommend getting rid of them because they reproduce very quickly and the more you let them reproduce the harder it'll be to get the infestation under control.

Pocono Lake, PA(Zone 5b)

Ahh, that explains why most of the buds have fallen off. Thanks for the tip, I just sprayed the bud they were on with vegetable wash (it was the best thing I had, didn't want to kill the bud with harsh dish soap) and then rinsed a bunch until all the bugs were off.

I'm hoping they just came in from outside when I transferred the plant in, I'd hate to think that aphids are getting in my house somehow (shudder).

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

They are disgustingly resourceful. Remember, they do not need a male to reproduce. All you needed was one blasted aphid, and it was off to the races. So if you had ONE, thet was enough.

I put my roses in the back of the garage every winter, and every April when I pull them out one particular rose (Enfant du France) that leafs out really early has literally thousands of those disgusting things. The worst part is that they would get all over me and I would be covered in aphids.

What always works is a sharp spray of water 3-4 days in a row. Once they've fallen, as the ad goes, they can't get up. But it's winter, for heaven's sake. Here it is going up into the mid-40's every day so I could take the plant outside and spray it. The catch with insecticidal soap (and yes, it does work) is that you have to get them all. Can you put the plant in the bathtub and use the shower spray? You will need to do it several days in a row, but it does work.

We moved our hibiscuses from outside to inside. It's really important to treat them before you bring them in.

Just be glad they aren't spider mites. Those guys are relentless. I put my miniature rosees (zone 5) back outside in the cold to get rid of them, but I actually had to pitch a brug because daily watering and insecticidal soap didn't work, and you can't shoe a brug outside in a zone 5a winter.

Pocono Lake, PA(Zone 5b)

The aphids were luckily only on one bud, so I was able to get them all off with the spray hose in the sink. The bud started opening this morning so it looks happier already. I'm hoping I didn't miss any.

Can anyone tell me a good brand of insecticidal soap to get, for if/when this happens in the future?

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

There are several brands in Garden shops, Safer's was probably the first- Natrol is a good brand too. Lowe's has a good selection of safe organics- read your labels--

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I've used Safer's. It's very good. Even better is if you can get the concentrate and dilute it yourself.

Congratulations on winning the battle! I love hibiscus.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I like Safer soap as well.

And make sure you inspect your plant carefully every day or two--aphids are sneaky and if you miss even one it'll turn into 100 before you know it, so you need to keep an eye out for them.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Ecrane, very very true!

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