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small bugs in houseplant soil

Monique Reed monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu
Tue Nov 20 09:55:59 EST 2001

Sounds like springtails.  They don't really harm plants, but they can
be an indication that you are overwatering or letting water stand in
plant saucers.

M. Reed

Adam Toner wrote:
> I have a number of houseplants - the standard ones like maranta, spider
> plant, rose, christmas cactus, snake plant, dwarf palm, etc. In almost
> every one of my 15+ pots I've noticed small (maybe 1mm) white bugs
> crawling around in the soil. They don't seem to fly or get on any other
> part of the plant, just in the soil. Sometimes I have to blow on the
> soil or push off the top layer to see these bugs.
> I think they killed one of my plants, a bolivian jew, because when I
> investigated the dead plant (I thought too much light had killed it) I
> found a ton of these little pests in the soil. I promptly threw all of
> that away, and went on a crusade to eliminate them from my other plants.
> I haven't noticed anywhere near that many in the others, and I've been
> spraying insectide soap on the soil every week or so. I also repotted a
> few of my plants that needed repotting anyway, and I tried to get rid of
> as much of the old soil as I could.
> Any idea what these are and how I can get rid of them? I looked in some
> books and on some web sites, and the closest match I can find are fungus
> gnats, but I really don't see them flying around.
> Thanks for the help,
> Adam
> --
> --
> Adam Toner
> Senior, Georgia Institute of Technology

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