Ask a Question forum→How to "clean" potting mix that insects now reside in?

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Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
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Altheabyanothername
May 5, 2020 9:51 AM CST
I have quite a bit of potting mix that insects are in. I do a lot of container gardening. Some potting mix is new in the bag and the other is coming out of pots to be refreshed and reused. The main insects are ants, earwigs, pill/sow bugs, beetles, and occasionally wire worms.

The soil does not need to be sterilized more like cleaned. I am thinking of putting some soil in 5 gallon pails and filling them with water for a week to drown the insects. Making sure mosquitos do not develop. The other option under consideration is putting the soil in a black contractor bag sealing it tightly and leaving it in the sun for two weeks.

If you do something differently, I would love to hear it. Or which of the above seems like it would be the most successful.

Thank You and many blessings for a successful gardening season!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
May 5, 2020 10:35 AM CST
Drowning them won't work as they will float to the surface and walk away. The black plastic bag will work but the layers of soil will have to be thin enough for the heat to penetrate all the way through.

Are you trying to kill them or discourage them? Watering the pots with Insecticidal Soap would kill them. You would have to make sure all the soil was wet - little pockets of dry soil means little pockets of live insects.

I think the thing that would be simplest though, is pouring the soil out on the concrete someplace, spreading it out and leaving it for a few days. The insects will all go someplace else without their happy home.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
Image
Altheabyanothername
May 5, 2020 12:36 PM CST
Thank You! for your input. I would like to kill them...otherwise they will just move into something else. My preference is not to use insecticidal soap because earthworms live in my containers, too.
After I turn over a container to pull out the old soil, I start grabbing the earthworms, so they can be put back in the container. I am sure that all the organic matter in my containers is an insect invitation. nodding

Thumbs up I think you came up with a good idea/solution to just spread the soil out on concrete in the sun. That is the easiest!

Many blessings for a safe, healthy, and happy year!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 5, 2020 1:52 PM CST
Good plan!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

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