Cut flowers are a delight in every home, especially when you freshly cut them from the garden or even buy them.
However, more often than not, those beautiful blooms will have uninvited guests. Bugs can be more than a nuisance as they carry diseases.
To get rid of bugs on freshly cut flowers, you can spray them with soapy water or hairspray or make a water, oil, and soap solution. Sometimes a strong stream of water is enough to flush the pests out. If that doesn’t work, put the flowers in the fridge, then shake the dead bugs off the flowers.
Although bugs on fresh-cut flowers are a menace, it’s not recommended to use insecticides on them. Instead, you can use safe pesticides or natural repellents to get rid of the bugs.
Read more to find out how to keep your flowers free of bugs.
How To Get Rid of Bugs From Cut Flowers
Some bugs are more invasive than others. There are bugs that will eat their way through the leaves and even the blooms of the cut flowers. Other bugs are just there to feed on other pests.
In either case, you’d need to eliminate all pests on the cut flowers to keep your home healthy. The following 8 methods will help you get rid of bugs in a safe way.
1. Stream of Water
A strong stream of water is enough to dislodge most pests crawling along the stems and leaves of the cut flowers.
This method is particularly effective against tiny bugs such as aphids. They are too small to pick by hand, and they’re good at hiding inside the blooms.
Put the flowers in the sink, and run the tap. Make sure the water drains off quickly.
Give the flowers one last rinse while holding them under the tap, and then give them a good shake to get rid of the excess water.
2. Soapy Water
Not all bugs will slide off the stems of the cut flowers when you aim a stream of water at them. Some bugs will simply fly and then circle back to the flowers in the vase.
For those bugs like thrips and scales, you’ll need to spray them with soapy water. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap in 1 cup of lukewarm water, and fill a spray bottle with the solution.
Unpack the fresh flowers in the sink, tub, or a large container. Spray the flowers liberally, but avoid spraying the blooms. Rinse the flowers under running water.
Hairspray is another way to exterminate bugs on cut flowers. The volatile chemicals in the hairspray will kill just about any bug lurking between the leaves.
Hairspray has another benefit. It will keep the flowers fresh for a long time.
4. Oil/Soap/Water Solution
Another option to get rid of bugs on cut flowers is to make a solution that will effectively kill the majority of pest species that attack flowers.
This is similar to the soapy water solution but with a dash of vegetable oil. The oil will smother the hiding bugs and kill them by cutting off their air supply.
The downside to this solution is that the oil makes the flowers a little sticky.
5. Neem and Spreader Sticker
Neem oil is a natural pesticide used as a defense mechanism against pests and pathogens. As such, it’s environmentally safe to use, and it doesn’t have adverse side effects either on humans, animals, or plants.
Spray the cut flowers with neem oil (find it here) immediately after unpacking them and again the next day.
6. Quick Dunk in Water
If you prefer to get rid of the bugs on cut flowers quickly, fill a bucket with water, and dunk the flowers in the water. You’ll see the bugs floating on the surface of the water.
Spray them with soapy water to kill them before you fish out the cut flowers. Watch out for little bugs crawling on your arm. Some can have a nasty sting.
Shake the flowers vigorously in the water to dislodge stubborn pests.
7. Insecticidal Soap
Insecticidal soap is relatively safer to use than pesticides. It doesn’t have dangerous chemicals or toxins that harm humans or animals. It also doesn’t leave any residue and is easy to clean with a wet cloth.
Spray the flowers with insecticidal soap before you put them in the vase. Give them another spray a day or two later if you notice any more bugs on the flowers.
8. Place in Fridge Before Shaking Gently
One sure way to kill bugs without messing around with sprays or liquids is to keep the flowers in the fridge for about one to two hours.
Keep the flowers in their package, or place them in a plastic bag and tie it. The cold temperature will either kill the bugs or put them in a coma.
Give the flowers a good shake to get rid of the dead bugs. Make sure to dispose of the bugs safely as some of them might not be dead.
Safe Insecticide for Plants
Pesticides are packed with toxins that pose a health risk for humans, pets, and even birds. A good alternative is to use natural insecticides that will kill the bugs without leaving toxic residue behind.
Here are some safe insecticides to use on your plants.
- Soap Spray: Soap is a common disinfectant that we use on a daily basis to wash dishes. It’s quite effective against germs and small bugs. Mix a tablespoon of dish soap in a cup of water, and spray the bugs on the plants to get rid of them quickly.
- Neem Oil Spray: This natural insecticide is potent against a lot of bugs that attack your plants. It is safe to use around the garden and on your houseplants. The spray is biodegradable and leaves no toxins behind.
- Diatomaceous Earth: This is a natural material made of sedimentary rock. It kills soft-bellied bugs when they crawl over the sharp edges of the grains. Sprinkle it around the corners of the house and the garden. It loses its potency when it gets damp, so make sure to apply it often. Find it here at a great price.
Natural Bug Repellent for Plants
Another way to get rid of bugs is to make the garden an inhospitable place for them. Natural bug repellents do a good job of keeping bugs away and protecting your plants.
Here are some bug repellents you can make at home.
- Garlic Spray: Many people find garlic aroma quite offensive. For bugs, the garlic odors are too much to bear. Blend two garlic bulbs in a food processor and add a cup of water. Strain the liquid and spray the plants with it.
- Pepper Spray: Pepper does more than offend bugs. It also burns them when they come in contact with the pepper residue. Mix a tablespoon of chili powder in a cup of water, shake well, and spray the plants with it.
- Onion Mix Spray: Onion is another plant with a natural repellent odor. Puree a small onion, one bulb of garlic, and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder. Add water, and use this potent spray in the garden.
How Do Florists Keep Flowers Fresh?
Florists manage to keep flowers fresh by storing them in cool temperatures and high levels of humidity. This keeps the flowers hydrated and extends their life by at least a week.
Misting the flowers regularly also keeps them fresh for longer.
Why Put Cut Flowers in Boiling Water?
Putting the stalks of cut flowers in boiling water is a sure way to kill bugs and bacteria. The hot water also improves moisture absorption by the stems, which prolongs the vase life of the cut flowers.
Bugs on cut flowers can spread diseases to other plants in the house. Get rid of these bugs with running water, with soapy water, using neem oil spray, or by keeping the flowers in the fridge for a couple of hours.