The Q&A Archives: Clouds of tiny bugs

Question: Northern Central Valley of California. We took over a house that had been empty for several years. As we work the neglected lawn and bushes we see clouds of tiny flying bugs. If I shake a bush they come flying out. They literally fly in a cloud like formation. What might they be and how can I get rid of them.

Answer: If they are white, they are whiteflies; if they are black they are probably fungus gnats. Whiteflies are difficult to control because they fly so quickly, but insecticidal soap, if it contacts them, will kill the pests. The best approach is to spray in the early morning or at dusk when the whiteflies are resting. Fungus gnats feed and breed in decaying organic matter such as mulch or plant debris. Raking away debris and mulch will expose the soil to fresh air and sunshine which will help it dry out. Best wishes with your landscape.

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