Houseplants forum: Small insects in the saucer ! What is it ?

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Name: Gabiche
Montréal, Québec (Zone 5b)
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Gabiche
May 3, 2016 10:27 AM CST
I have small insects that are in the saucer under my small plant. They don't seem in any of my plants, it looks like they live in the soil. When I shake they fall from the bottom of the soil. Here are some picture if any of you could recognize them ...
Thumb of 2016-05-03/Gabiche/243d60


Thumb of 2016-05-03/Gabiche/a1138d

Name: Gabiche
Montréal, Québec (Zone 5b)
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Gabiche
May 3, 2016 10:29 AM CST
This is the second picture... If it helps

They are dark grey and they are of various size but quite small... The biggest are the size of a pencil tip may be...

Thumb of 2016-05-03/Gabiche/1eb593

Sf, ca (Zone 10b)
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Laurelca
May 4, 2016 7:46 AM CST
Hi Gabiche,

Do any fly? Could they be fungus gnats? They sometimes hatch in soil, and they do tend to die in standing water.
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
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AlyssaBlue
May 4, 2016 7:52 AM CST
Gabiche- check out this thread, I had a similar issue. On page 2 of the thread, there are helpful links to bug identification.

The thread "Tiny, skinny, silvery bugs in house plant soil" in Ask a Question forum
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
May 4, 2016 7:53 AM CST
Yes, fungus gnats came to my mind as well. As hard as it might be, a much better picture really would help. What plant are they in? Gene
Name: Gabiche
Montréal, Québec (Zone 5b)
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Gabiche
May 5, 2016 4:09 PM CST
They don't seem to fly, at least I have not seen one fly.

I am sorry for the poor quality of the photos. I had to zoom in quite a lot and these little bastards are moving furiously fast as if they were afraid of the light. Now they seem to have vanished I don't know where as I can't catch one anymore.

It is the first time I see them. Yesterday I repotted a few houseplants. First I repotted a pothos that my boyfriend had left in a pot without any drainage hole. It was hard to take it off and the soil felt weird but I did not pay attention that much. Then I propagate a marginata, a schefflera and a spider plant to give my friend who does not have any plants and is settling in a new house. I might have taken a bit of the soil from the pothos that I incorporated with new potting mix. And it is this afternoon, as I was checking the plants, that I saw the little insects under the marginata. I have not seen them under the other plant, but I am a bit worried that it might disseminate around...

I checked on your thread Alyssa but I am not sure if that is what I got I will recheck later on
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
May 6, 2016 6:14 AM CST
springtails, or some other insect that likes moist decaying matter?

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
May 8, 2016 8:51 AM CST
If you are not seeing any flying insects near the soil surface, then they are not fungus gnats or springtails. It is not uncommon for small critters, usually a type of centipede, to be found living in potting soil. It is usually an indication of non-sterile, not very good quality soil being used. That said, these critters are just an aesthetic problem because they don't harm the plant or people.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Gabiche
Montréal, Québec (Zone 5b)
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Gabiche
May 9, 2016 9:58 AM CST
Thank you everyone,

As a few of you are saying it does not appear to be hurting the plant. I have not water the soil since and they seem to have disappeared at least the quantity of them has falling.

Anyway, now I have a bigger problem since I found a few mealy bugs in the schefflera that I bought one week ago..
I never had any problems with my houseplants and now it never ceases to stop !
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
May 11, 2016 4:54 AM CST
Gabiche--
Unfortunately--many house plants come with 'bugs"--as they are field-grown in Florida.
Mealy bugs are hard to get rid of--as the new "babies" fide in crevices between the
leaf-stems and the plant stem.

Spray the plant down with Horticultural oil. This should suffocate the Mealies.
Keep a sharp eye out--and repeat the spraying as needed.

Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol and Q-tips on hand. Dab any individual Mealies with it
if you spot any more.

Applying some Systemic to the roots (liquid or granular) will, in time, get absorbed
by the plant and kill any sucking insects on your plant.

Good luck! Gita
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
May 15, 2016 10:20 AM CST
For most of us, there is no avoiding pest problems. What is often not understood is that plant pests thrive on plants that are under stress for other reasons, including improper light and water. Sometimes pests keep coming back because the underlining stressors are still present.

The key to safely and effectively treating most plant pest problems is making direct contact will all of the critters, including the juveniles that are virtually invisible to the naked eye. Treating only what you see, is not effective. For mealybugs, mix a solution of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol and a squirt of liquid dish soap and then spray the ENTIRE plant until all leaves and stems are dripping wet. This is a messy task and best done outside. But if you are thorough, it is usually effective and will not require re-treatment.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]

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