Insect and Bug ID forum: Bugs in my house plant

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kimlenznorth
Jul 25, 2013 2:27 PM CST
I had these worm looking white/clear shells in my palm tree house plant soil. Not on the limbs or anything just in the soil.. it grossed me out and I put the plant outside.. cleaned the roots and pot. Used new soil and re planted it. Can you tell me what these were and why I had them?
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jul 25, 2013 3:36 PM CST
Hi kimlenznorth, and a big Welcome! to ATP.

Do you have a photo of the culprit?
Or maybe a drawing of what they looked like? I picture a worm like things as long and slender. But you mention shells, so I am a bit confused?

Sounds like you did the right thing by moving it outdoors and doing a complete cleaning, down to the roots. Wonder if there would be any remains of the critters in the old potting soil?
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 29, 2013 9:46 AM CST
Hi kimlenxnorth! Welcome from me too!

I wonder if the pests were Sow Bugs/Pill Bugs? Sometimes they are white in color and they do sorta resemble little shells when curled up:

http://www.bugfacts.net/pill-bug.php

https://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg377.html
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Name: Therese Bennett
Indianapolis, IN (Zone 5a)
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tbennett44
Aug 22, 2013 6:43 AM CST
They are roly poly or pill bugs and they are crustaceans. They molt and leave a little shell like skin. They generally only munch on dead plant material in damp places but I just found a group of them munching on my sempervivum roots on one of my plants. I used diatomaceous earth, mixed it into the soil and replanted the dozen or so that were around it. I had to amend the whole rock garden bed. They are doing fine now and the destruction has stopped. Some people dust their roots with it before planting. You can get diatomaceous earth at any Tractor Supply store and sometimes find it at Lowes. You can also get it online. It will kill insects around the house too. We put it around the outside of the house and puff it into the kitchen cabinets too. Haven't seen a bug in the house in years! Take precautions to not breath in the dust. Hope this helps!
This year I'm into sempervivums and sedum!
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[Last edited by tbennett44 - Aug 22, 2013 6:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Aug 22, 2013 7:50 AM CST
Does diatomaceous earth hurt earthworms?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Aug 22, 2013 8:04 AM CST
No, DE will not hurt earthworms if sprinkled/dusted on the plants. I have used DE directly in the soil to deter ants with success.
[Last edited by abhege - Aug 22, 2013 8:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Aug 22, 2013 8:10 AM CST

Plants Admin

jvdubb said:Does diatomaceous earth hurt earthworms?


Yes, if they come in contact with it. Most often, people just spread it around on the surface of the soil which would minimize the chances of earthworms contacting it. If you mix enough of it into the soil, though, it could have an impact on worms, or any soft-bodied "bug".

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Aug 22, 2013 8:19 AM CST
Okay, so usually DE is dusted onto the plants and the earthworms woud NOT come i to contact. Sorry for the confusion.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Aug 22, 2013 8:50 AM CST
Also note that DE is only useful if it's dry. Once it gets wet you need to reapply.

Karen
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Aug 22, 2013 9:07 AM CST

Plants Admin

I've wondered about this. Certainly all the packaging says this but I'm wondering if you need to reapply simply because it washes away and isn't where it will do it's job.
Evan
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Aug 22, 2013 1:22 PM CST
tbennett44 said: ...You can get diatomaceous earth at any Tractor Supply store ...


Thanks for the tip, Terese. I didn't know I could pick this up at TSC. Thumbs up They're one of my regular shopping stops so this info helps a bunch. Big Grin

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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Aug 22, 2013 7:39 PM CST
Why is DE sold at a tractor supply store?

What is it used for there?
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Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Aug 22, 2013 7:48 PM CST
Rick
If you don't have a Tractor Supply then you may not know they are not really about tractors , they cover all farm needs and then some (snacks and greeting cards) Smiling
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all else is just existing.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 22, 2013 7:56 PM CST
They sell Diatomaceous Earth at Tractor Supply because people buy it as a feed supplement for beef, goats, sheep, chickens, quail, ducks, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. It is also reported to help keep intestinal worms at bay. It is also used as a dust to keep fleas and flies down either on the animals or in their bedding areas. I have also purchased the 'food grade' DE as a powder just like flour which is easy to dust onto plant foliage.
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Aug 22, 2013 11:32 PM CST
If you don't have a Tractor Supply then you may not know they are not really about tractors

Ah! Yes, I didn't realize.

I had never heard of a tractor supply store before... here, we call them farm stores. Smiling
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Aug 23, 2013 5:19 AM CST
Tractor Supply Co. is actually the name of the chain, we call TSC or Tractor Supply.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 23, 2013 9:02 AM CST
Guess the closest Tractor Supply Store to you would be in Bloomington or Inver Grove Heights. I like my (semi-local 37 miles away) TS because they let me bring my dogs in when I shop.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Aug 23, 2013 11:04 AM CST
greene said: I have also purchased the 'food grade' DE as a powder just like flour which is easy to dust onto plant foliage.


So there may be hope if there's something safer for myself to use DE by way of application onto my sempervivum foliage?!!!
Please, any idea where I can buy this form of DE? is this only available in "farm" stores?

Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Aug 23, 2013 11:21 AM CST

Plants Admin

greene said:It is also used as a dust to keep fleas and flies down either on the animals or in their bedding areas.

I'm surprised at this. I was under the impression DE should not be inhaled.
Evan
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Aug 23, 2013 11:33 AM CST
I think that's true, Evan.

I use a systemic insecticide on my plants when I bring them in the house in fall. To each his own.

Karen

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