The Q&A Archives: white - silver bugs

Question: I seem to have silver bugs that are so small you can barely see them - they are in 2 houseplants - what can I use to eliminate them.

Answer: I can't really identify an insect without actually seeing but what you describe sounds like springtails. Springtails are very small (about 1/16 inch long), slender white or gray insects. They?re commonly seen in the soil or in saucers beneath potted houseplants. Springtails jump when they?re disturbed, so they?re particularly noticeable right after you water.

Springtails are scavengers, feeding on decaying roots and fungi. They prefer to live in damp potting soil, especially a mix containing a high percentage of peat. Often associated with houseplants that are kept quite moist, they rarely, if ever, damage the plants. They?re just annoying.

Control is easy: Water thoroughly, but let soil dry as much as possible without letting plants wilt. Soil that is on the dry side will eliminate springtails.

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