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Posted by Gale ( from GA on 2005-11-22 08:41:00

I always put my house plants on the back porch in the summer, but when I bring them in at the fall, they have small white bugs scurrying through the soil. They are not gnats and do not ever fly. They also do not get on any of the leaves. They stay in the soil. What are these and how do I get rid of these?
  • bugs in the soil of the houseplants
    Posted by Jeannie from Ontario 5 on 2005-12-28 08:21:00

    Bugs that reside in the soil only...
    so they must find whatever food they take in in the soil...and don't find it necessary to munch on leaves and/or stem tissue. And they are not gnats you say.

    OK, how about we do either of two remedies.

    First, unearth your pots and give them fresh new potting soil or soiless mix.
    If this were done, you are advised too to clean the pots with a concentrated solution of household bleach and water.
    If the pot/s are clay, since this material also absorbs water, bug residue....eggs and larvae...could be trapped within the water that is in the material or on the grit that always seems to adhere to such material.
    The bleach will certainly kill any larvae attaching itself to dry soil.

    Second...if you don't wish to change the soil, how about we cleanse it.
    Dunk the entire pot and plant into a sink full of water. Immerse the whole thing...letting the soil take in as much water as it will and let you know when that has occurred by simply waiting til the bubbles stop. That tells you water has fully occupied all the air spaces within the soil.
    Let it stay that way for ....5 minutes...10 minutes.
    Any bugs that are within the soil will have to come up....they are air breathers...then its a simple matter to extricate them from the soil and do what you wish with them. I suggest you murder them.

    Then, allow the plant to fully drain there in the sink. Treat this as a time of watering.

    This accomplishes two rids the plant of the bugs but it also rids the plant...somewhat...of possible too high a salt content from having been given fertilizer over any extended time.
    This leeching is always beneficial to houseplants for this reason.

    The leeching method can also do away with having to find ways to spray insecticides into the soil and onto plants that might not like the particular application.

    Unless other plants are inhabited by the same bug, this should do the job.
    If the problem re-occurs, I think its safe to assume you have other sources of infestation.

    The method of encapsulating your houseplant in an envelope of plastic wrap, then spraying into the tent and leaving it thus covered for 12 hours...24 hours, is another method.
    You would have to inspect the plant for any sign of living bugs before taking it into your home.
    I think the water treatment is the better way.

    The immersion method can though cause loose soil to float away and possibly too the pot is such that it too might wish to float. You would have to maybe hold its head under the water until the soil absorbs enough......or weight it down.



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