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Most Common Rubber Tree Plant Pests:
Identification and Treatment Guide

Updated: July 2, 2023

Rubber tree plants, also known as Ficus elastica, are popular houseplants known for their large, glossy leaves and low maintenance requirements. However, like any other plant, rubber trees are not immune to pests. In this article, we will discuss the most common rubber tree plant pests, how to identify them, and the best treatment methods to keep your plant healthy and thriving.

Scale Insects

Scale insects are one of the most common pests that can affect rubber tree plants. These tiny insects attach themselves to the leaves and stems of the plant and feed on its sap. This can result in yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and eventually, the death of the plant if left untreated.

Identification: Scale insects appear as small, oval-shaped bumps on the leaves and stems of the rubber tree. They vary in color depending on the species but are typically brown or black. If you notice a sticky residue on the leaves or a sooty mold growth, it is a clear sign of scale insect infestation.

Treatment: The best way to treat scale insects is through manual removal. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently wipe off the scales from the affected areas. For larger infestations, you can use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil spray. Repeat the treatment every 7-10 days until all signs of scale insects have disappeared.


Mealybugs are another common pest that can plague rubber tree plants. These soft-bodied insects have a white, powdery appearance and feed on the sap of the plant. Mealybug infestations can cause leaf drop, stunted growth, and weaken the overall health of the plant.

Identification: Mealybugs are easily identifiable by their cotton-like appearance. They congregate in large numbers, often hiding in leaf axils or along the stems. If you notice a white, powdery substance on the leaves or sticky honeydew residue, it is a clear indication of mealybug infestation.

Treatment: Similar to scale insects, manual removal is the first line of defense against mealybugs. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to carefully remove the bugs from the affected areas. For severe infestations, insecticidal soap or neem oil can be used to control and eliminate the pests. Regularly monitor the plant for any signs of reinfestation and repeat the treatment as necessary.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that can cause significant damage to rubber tree plants if left unchecked. These pests feed on the plant’s sap, causing yellowing leaves, webbing, and overall decline in plant health. Spider mite infestations are most common in dry and dusty environments.

Identification: Spider mites are difficult to spot with the naked eye due to their small size. However, you can identify their presence by the fine webbing they create on the leaves and stems of the rubber tree. Additionally, yellowing leaves with tiny yellow or brown spots are a telltale sign of spider mite infestation.

Treatment: One effective way to control spider mites is by regularly misting your rubber tree plant with water to increase humidity levels. This helps to deter spider mites and prevent further infestation. If the infestation persists, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to kill the mites. Be sure to thoroughly cover all surfaces of the plant, including the undersides of leaves where spider mites tend to hide.


Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of rubber tree plants. They reproduce rapidly and can cause significant damage if not controlled promptly. Aphid infestations result in distorted growth, yellowing leaves, and the presence of sticky honeydew residue.

Identification: Aphids are typically found on the undersides of leaves, where they cluster in large numbers. They can be green, black, brown, or even translucent depending on the species. Look for curled or distorted leaves and a sticky residue on the plant as signs of aphid infestation.

Treatment: One of the simplest ways to control aphids is by using a strong jet of water to dislodge them from the plant. This method is particularly effective for small infestations. Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to kill the aphids. Repeat the treatment as necessary until all signs of infestation have disappeared.


Keeping your rubber tree plant pest-free requires regular monitoring and prompt intervention at the first sign of infestation. By familiarizing yourself with the most common rubber tree plant pests and their identification, you can take proactive measures to protect your plant’s health. Remember to always use organic and environmentally-friendly products when treating pests, and avoid overusing chemical pesticides. With proper care and attention, your rubber tree plant will thrive and bring beauty to your indoor space for years to come.