TOPEKA (KSNT) – As we get farther into winter, and the sun sets earlier, its important to bring your house plants inside to protect them from the elements and possible pests.

With temperatures gradually decreasing and nightly freezes becoming more frequent, house plants are going to want to spend less time outside. Most houseplants are native to more tropical locations, so they aren’t used to temperatures dropping quite like they do here.

“Some gardeners move houseplants outdoors to bask in the summer heat and recover from the stress of an indoor environment,” Kansas State University Horticulture Expert Cynthia Domenghini said in a press release from September. “Planning for their reentry to the house is important so houseplants have time to adjust to the changes in growing conditions.”

But as you’re bringing those plants in, make sure you check them carefully for creepy crawlers, like aphids or spider mites that can make their way into your home. Mites or bugs that are brought inside on plants could transfer to other plants and create a home. A Shawnee County Research Extension representative tells 27 News its fairly easy to clean those plants without harming them.

“The best way to control especially small insects like aphids and spider mites is to actually just spray them off with water,” Lane Wiens, Shawnee County Research Extension horticulture agent said. “Taking a high-pressure hose and just spraying the plant down is a great way to dislodge those insects so they can’t keep hurting the plant and bringing them inside with you.”

To check if you have any bugs, Wiens told 27 news its best to inspect the bottom side of leaves and where the leaves meet the branches; that’s where the critters like to hide. If you are wanting to use chemicals to clean your plants, Wiens said you need to carefully follow the label as instructed.