The Q&A Archives: What are the tiny little white bugs in the soil of my shamrock?

Question: I have a shamrock plant and it does really well. I've notice the soil is infested with little tiny white bugs that hop around in the soil. How do I get rid of these and what are they and where did they come from.

Answer: These are probably immature fungus gnats (the gnats look a bit like fruit flies). These are occasionally found in houseplants, especially in those where the soil is kept on the wet side. The fungus gnats breed in soil that is wet, so an easy way to control them is to place a thin layer of sand on the soil surface. The sand dries out quickly and prevents them from breeding so they should disappear in a couple of weeks. Or, you could use a soil drench of commercially formulated insecticidal soap (sold at garden centers). One such product used for this, for example, is called Gnatrol. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions. I hope this helps!

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