Houseplants forum→Bugs in houseplant soil!!!

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New York
Kaitlyn712
Oct 14, 2021 9:14 PM CST
Occasionally over the last month, one of my plants (a pepperomia) has been dropping leaves. I thought it was stress from moving but I noticed some tiny beige bugs crawling around on the soil. I've included a picture of one below and suspect this is also a problem for 2 of my other plants. Any idea what these guys are and how to get rid of them ASAP? In the meantime I've quarantined the effected plant(s).
Thumb of 2021-10-15/Kaitlyn712/6ac59e

Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Oct 15, 2021 7:26 AM CST
Hi Kaitlyn,
There are both mealy bugs and aphids that can be found feeding on the roots of plants. Check all parts of your plant for insects. Clean them off with a q-tip dipped in alcohol.
If you plant is small I would remove it from the soil and wash the plant and roots, leaving no soil attached. Replant in fresh new soil.
Was this plant outdoors for summer?
New York
Kaitlyn712
Oct 15, 2021 9:49 AM CST
valleylynn said:Hi Kaitlyn,
There are both mealy bugs and aphids that can be found feeding on the roots of plants. Check all parts of your plant for insects. Clean them off with a q-tip dipped in alcohol.
If you plant is small I would remove it from the soil and wash the plant and roots, leaving no soil attached. Replant in fresh new soil.
Was this plant outdoors for summer?


The plant was not outdoors but I did spread my houseplants amongst my friends' apartments while I moved so something could have happened there. Luckily the plant is small so I'm going to change the soil out right now and inspect the rest of the leaves. Thanks so much for your insight!
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Oct 15, 2021 10:58 AM CST
I would love to see before and after photos of the entire plant. Look forward to seeing how it does. Hurray!
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Oct 15, 2021 12:03 PM CST

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Removing it and washing the plants and roots will most likely greatly disturb the fine feeder roots and then your plant will show it's unhappiness. Moving a plant from one environment to another often takes a plant time to adjust.
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[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Oct 17, 2021 8:42 AM (+)]
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Humboldt
Oct 16, 2021 11:12 PM CST
Root wash I'd hold off on unless other methods don't work and you think they might be in the soil (likely).

Haven't dealt with mealy bugs in a while and not familiar enough with them to ID, but I'd wash the leaves first after covering the soil.

Gently scrub with a paper towel under water (especially under the leaves).

Some people have good results with rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips, haven't tried it. Neem oil is the first thing I'm seeing recommended.

Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Oct 17, 2021 9:59 PM CST
That is not a mealybug or aphid. I'm not sure exactly WHAT it is though. Neem is a good first step.
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Humboldt
Oct 20, 2021 10:13 PM CST
Anyone figure this out?

I thought young springtails at first but I don't think that's right.
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Oct 21, 2021 8:09 AM CST
I'm not sure what Kaitlyn decided. Would love to see how her plant is doing.
New York
Kaitlyn712
Oct 22, 2021 6:37 AM CST
valleylynn said:I'm not sure what Kaitlyn decided. Would love to see how her plant is doing.


Apologies for the delay! I ended up changing out the soil and washing the roots as it was a pretty small plant. For good measure I also got a neem oil spray and sprayed the soil for a couple of days afterwards. I have not seen any sign of the bugs since which is reassuring! It also hasn't dropped any leaves in the last week and I'm hoping it stays that way Smiling plant picture included. Thank you Valleylynn and everyone else who responded!!!
Thumb of 2021-10-22/Kaitlyn712/080aaa

Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Oct 22, 2021 8:05 AM CST
Hurray! What a beautiful site. Thank you so much Kaitlyn for posting the updated photo. It is lovely. Lovey dubby

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