Houseplants forum: Worm Bugs in my plant! The HORROR!

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maulydaft
Nov 28, 2011 1:56 PM CST
I've posted a couple plant issues here and thank you for the response! Little did I know the horror growing behind me in a plant that I thought was doing really well! The plant, which I have no idea what kind it is, except that it's "tropical" has been growing steadily, to the point where I'm wondering what to do with it. Such a newbie, the idea of cutting a plant seems "mean" ;)
Anyway, I had noticed some dirt coming out of the bottom, but didn't think much about it.
Yesterday I saw this strange centipede like creature in my hallway. It was like a centipede or millipede but was slow. My partner said he saw one the other day as well.
Didn't think much about it.
Today the plant fell over because of all the weight it had on one side, I'd turned it so it could get light on all sides.
There are TONS of these worm bugs at the bottom of the plastic tray. There are no doubt tons in the bottom of my plant. I am horrified and they gross me out. I cleaned up the mess and have put some diatamacious earth at the bottom of the plastic tray, around the holes where these things are coming out of.
What in the world are these things and what should I do!?
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
I am beginning to think I am way over my head with buying these beautiful huge expensive plants!

Thumb of 2011-11-28/maulydaft/48e01f

Thumb of 2011-11-28/maulydaft/651f67
Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Nov 28, 2011 3:27 PM CST
I would go to my local hardware store and purchase a spray bottle of house plant insecticide. Take the plant outside (on a warm day) and give it a good spraying. You could put it in the bathtub and spray it there. Some dish soap (the plain kind with no sanitizers in it) one table spoon to a gallon of water to water it in the future might help. Also try 'Gardens Alive' if you can wait a while. They have all sorts of products to deal with any kind of invasion.
Good luck,
Stush
Name: Ang
Bremerton, WA (Zone 7b)
Hummingbirder I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tikipod
Nov 28, 2011 3:39 PM CST
They look to be centipedes and if they are, then these fellas are the least of your worries. Centipedes are beneficial bugs that eat other insects and I have to wonder what has attracted them to these pots. I would try to avoid killing them because if you kill the predator the prey might increase their numbers.

maulydaft
Nov 28, 2011 6:29 PM CST
Stush2019 said:I would go to my local hardware store and purchase a spray bottle of house plant insecticide. Take the plant outside (on a warm day) and give it a good spraying. You could put it in the bathtub and spray it there. Some dish soap (the plain kind with no sanitizers in it) one table spoon to a gallon of water to water it in the future might help. Also try 'Gardens Alive' if you can wait a while. They have all sorts of products to deal with any kind of invasion.
Good luck,
Stush


Where would I spray? Since they are in the bottom of the pot would it be helpful to spray the leaves? Or would I take the plastic pot off and spray the roots? What's your take on the "It's centipedes and they are ok" comment? If it was just 1 or two I wouldn't be worrying but there were/are tons!
Thanks!!

maulydaft
Nov 28, 2011 6:32 PM CST
tikipod said:They look to be centipedes and if they are, then these fellas are the least of your worries. Centipedes are beneficial bugs that eat other insects and I have to wonder what has attracted them to these pots. I would try to avoid killing them because if you kill the predator the prey might increase their numbers.


They COULD be centipedes but I thought centipedes were faster than these guys. They are pretty slow. Considering how MANY of them they were I AM worried... although if this plant were outside I would be worried less Smiling I'm shivering just thinking about them lurking behind me as I type this ;)
Name: Sheryl
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sheryl
Nov 29, 2011 8:02 AM CST
I think millipedes are faster? Who knows.

Anywho, it *looks* like you have a Schefflera. They do okay with pretty good pruning, so I wouldn't worry to much about cutting it back. And it might be a good opportunity for you to practice some plant propagation - especially if you decide the bugs are too much to deal with and you want to trash this one.

Stush's advice is good, but admittedly, I won't use most of the insecticides on the market if I can get away with other means - especially inside my home. Oftentimes soap and water are the basis of good care, unless you get something ugly like mealies or scale - but that's a whole 'nother post.

What *I* would do.... I'd go buy a bag of potting soil. I'd take your plant outside, take a bucket of warm soapy water and wash all the soil off of the roots. This will give you chance to see if there's something eating your roots, as well as (hopefully) taking whatever is in there and putting it outside. Then I'd re-pot the plant in the fresh soil, using a larger pot so it doesn't fall over again!

You also might want to back off of the water a little - that might be where the bugs and the large amount of growth came from.

HTH!
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: June or Nancy-June o
Dover AFB, Delaware (Zone 7a)
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JuneBug
Nov 30, 2011 12:07 AM CST
I had those bugs and I was told that they *really* love to eat slugs and decaying potting soil/organic matter
I bought BATS=Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub. It is a systemic insecticide and is only to be used on plants that either do not ever go outside or that you can keep from blooming while out there. The poison in systemics goes throughout the cells of the plant and anything that bites it or sips it's nectar dies. It is supposed to last for a year in the plant. I know that it is the only thing that works on every kind of bug that bothers my plants - even root bugs. And it is the only thing that could get rid of gnats in my house that were breeding in my pots Big Grin

maulydaft
Dec 22, 2011 7:23 PM CST
Thanks everyone! I haven't had much time to deal with the poor thing. It still amazes me that it's green and lush and looks GREAT compared the others I bought at the same time, and yet it has these hiddeous things living inside it. I have to move (Yet again!) and am considering leaving it behind Sad Although I'm sure the next place will be WARMER, which is is one problem happening here (warmest room, which also has nice south and west windows, is on good days 68 degrees this time of year. I live in canada).
I like the idea of getting rid of the soil, giving it a wash and starting all over - but it's winter here. Temps are plus 2C and getting colder. Can I take a plant like that outside at this time? Even if I do a rush job?
I'm so inexperienced!!!
:( :)
Name: June or Nancy-June o
Dover AFB, Delaware (Zone 7a)
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JuneBug
Dec 26, 2011 5:44 AM CST
It would die of the shock from the cold! It is too used to household temperatures to do that to it until it warms up outside.
Your best bet to kill the bugs and not harm the plant may be to find some insecticidal soap, mix it according to package directions and wash the plant and drench the soil with it.
It is really important that your plant is packed well for the move...I thought that mine all were...but a really beautiful one flipped and was crushed and cold damaged by the time I found it. Somewhere on here somebody did a thingy on packing plants for a move....I couldn't find it, maybe someone else can help...
Name: Janice
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sandnsea2
Dec 27, 2011 5:10 PM CST
Hello, Mauly,

My 2 cents.

I would take the plant outside and remove it from the pot.

Wash all the dirt off the roots with a hose , then soak the roots in a 1/2 strength Bleach solution. There may be eggs among the roots and you want to kill them. You don't want anything hiding there.

Then I would hose down the whole plant.

If you want to spray with the insecticidal soap, I'd do it outdoors really well.
The insecticidal soap should be ok indoors, too, but you can get messy with it, without fear, outside.

Myself, I would be ruthless, because I hate the idea of bugs in my house.

But, like Sheryl, I equally dislike the use of strong pesticides inside my home.

Oh, and be sure to bleach the pot it was in before repotting with fresh soil.

The systemic insecticidal granules should be ok mixed in with the soil, as long as you don't have any pets or children who might be digging in that pot.

Then for 3 weeks, I would quarantine the plant, keeping it away from any other houseplants, until you are certain it is bug-free.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Dec 27, 2011 6:50 PM CST
Something you could do to help with the temp change is put it all inside of a plastic bag, shake off the dirt, bring it back inside. Put another plastic bag over the leaves (and warm air) and go back out and use warm water in a bucket to give the roots a quick rinse then RUN back inside before you freeze your tuchas off!

But me, I'd wait for spring, lol.

And actually, if the plant looks good, why worry? Those bugs won't leave a nice, damp environment, I'd bet.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.



maulydaft
Jan 9, 2012 4:16 PM CST
Thanks again! I guess normally I wouldn't worry about bugs in a plant, problem is they are crawling all over my place!
I'm going to look on here for plant propagation and leave this one behind Sad Sad but my BF really doesn't want to bring it along! And I'm not so hot on the idea either...
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Jan 10, 2012 3:44 PM CST
LOL - best answer yet.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 8, 2012 8:02 PM CST
Did you solve your problem? I just came across this thread.. sounds very yucky to me, to say the least! If it is a Schefflera (sp?), they are VERY easy to cut the stems off and root (meaning, even I have done it quite a few times). I would suggest cutting the tops off somewhere above the soil line, take off the lower leaves, stick them all in a vase full of water and wait for the roots to pop out. And get rid of the pot full of whatever kind of 'pedes they are! Honest, I've had cuttings live in water for months while they were waiting for me to get around to doing something with them. Hope you have better luck with all future plants!
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Jasnim
Sep 23, 2014 1:39 AM CST
No solution seems to be ok with me! this worm/bug/arthropod is coming inside my room! they are hiding inside my cloths even!
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purpleinopp
Sep 23, 2014 7:50 AM CST
I read through this and am late to the party, but, FWIW, this kind of bug (which I think is a millipede,) is not a pest of the plant, just the soil in the pot. The fact that they were leaving the pot probably indicated that there wasn't enough sustenance for them. If they were eating some other critter, they must have eaten all of them. A potted plant is not inherently a suitable environment for any soil-dwellers. Finding them (in the pots of plants that are inside) should be cause to investigate things such as the appropriateness of the soil, watering habits.

Dunking a pot in a bucket of water so the soil is completely submerged should cause anything that breathes to evacuate, or drown. I do that before bringing plants inside.
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Goldie
Sep 14, 2016 10:12 AM CST
What is the name of this work. I feel they are coming from the pine bark I put out around my plants. They are invading everything mostly around 10 to 2 I the day.
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Hamwild
Sep 14, 2016 11:20 AM CST
It looks like a centipede to me. They're not pests, but rather a hunter type insect. They eat other bad insects.
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 12:01 PM CST
The picture you have uploaded is a centipede, there generally harmless to plants and only eat dead leafs and like damp soil. There are many species of centipedes, the one you have just generally likes to borrow down in the soil and likes to hide out in dead wood and damp rotten tree bark. I understand that you don't like them crawling around your house though. I prefer millipedes there one of my favorite's. I'd recommend buying some fresh potting compose. Take your plant outside and take off all the old soil from the roots by using a hose and gently rinse off the soil and clean out the pot then bring it back inside and re-pot your plant using the fresh compost.
Name: 'CareBear'

Sempervivums Hostas Dog Lover Irises Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents
Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Oct 7, 2016 4:11 PM CST
Kevin, Sorry to correct anyone but I think you got that reversed. Millipedes eat rotted products and centipedes eat insects. Both are harmless unless you happen across those 1 foot long centipedes from South America.

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