Detect and eliminate insects on tender plants. If you're planning an end-of-September move-in date for tender plants, now is the time for some serious pest control. Be on the lookout for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale before carrying plants indoors. Check the underside of each leaf and where leaf meets stem, a place where insects love to hide. You won't need any heavy pesticide artillery. A good spray of water from a hose knocks off most of the pests. Scale and mealybugs need hands-on treatment. Scrape scale off with your fingernail or, if you're squeamish, with a cotton swab. Dip that cotton swab in alcohol to remove mealybugs. You may think all of this is tedious, especially when you're rushing to get plants indoors before frost. However, you'll be glad you took the time. Once pests get a foothold in heated indoor comfort, you'll spend even more time and effort trying to get rid of them.