Can Plants Help With Pest Control In The Office?
Having office plants can offer so many benefits it’s amazing that everyone isn’t doing it. Some help clean up the air, some suck out moisture and all of them provide some pleasant greenery and sometimes floral delights as well.
This being the case, an office manager shouldn’t be asking whether they should have some plants, but which ones they should bring in.
Of course, when the warmer weather comes there will be some kinds that need to be avoided - specifically those that will add lots of pollen to the air, which will ensure any hayfever sufferers on the payroll suddenly become rather less productive and endure a plunge in job satisfaction.
There are some other plants, however, that can be extremely handy to have about in summer. If sneezes and runny eyes are one aspect of the sunnier months some people don’t enjoy, another is having lots of insects flying around. Anything with a sting can be intimidating, while others will be an irritation and possible hygiene hazard.
You could try using lots of fly spray, but this can irritate some folk, may involve a lot of chasing flies around an open-plan office like the Keystone cops, and can also contaminate food.
For that reason, you might consider introducing some carnivorous plants. It is an organic, natural and extremely entertaining way of greatly reducing your insect population. These amazing specimens catch plants to supplement the otherwise inadequate nutrients they get from the poor soil they live in.
Many of these grow in tropical or sub-tropical climates, which means it is always best to keep them indoors. Others are equally happy indoors or out, such as sundews, some of which grow in Britain - but of course you will need them indoors.
The Venus Fly Trap is perhaps the most famous of them all. It has an almost unique mechanism for catching its prey, with a v-shaped leaf that attracts flies (and sometimes other small creatures like spiders) and four trigger hairs, which if touched more than once in quick succession prompt the leaf to snap shut.
When this happens, the spiny ends of the leaf act like prison bars as the leaf closes, trapping the victim and giving it one last look at the world before it is sealed inside, suffocated and devoured by the plant’s digestive juices.
Sundews also have moving parts, but they work more slowly and trap flies initially with the sticky, attractive lollipop-like stalks on their leaves. The leaves will gradually close in and fold over on their prey before digesting them. They can be very useful for catching smaller bugs.
A third option is to use pitcher plants. These are like giant green vases and insects are drawn to the nectar on the slippery rims, from which they will fall into the liquid below to drown and be digested. They don’t put on a show with moving parts, but they are very effective as they will catch all sorts of pests, great and small.
You may be glad to know that, contrary to any science fiction you may have encountered from the likes of John Wyndham, none of these plants prey on humans. Instead, they can go a long way towards ensuring your office is mostly insect-free.