Grey Bugs in Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Concord, CA
Avatar for jgbratchny
Question by jgbratchny
January 31, 1998
There are thousands of grey bugs in my soil. What are they?

Answer from NGA
January 31, 1998
Well, you didn't describe them very well, but I suspect you either have pillbugs or springtails. Pillbugs, or sowbugs, are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. They roll up if disturbed. They are generally not a problem in the garden because they feed on decaying organic matter rather than growing plant material. If that's what you have, don't worry too much about them. If the bugs are even smaller than that, they're probably springtails, another little guy who feeds on decomposting organic matter. They like really wet places and will sometimes overtake a small puddle. People often describe them as clouds of soot that move on the soil.

In either case, you don't have much to fear from these ground-dwelling insects.

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