Infestation Of Tiny Insects That Live In Soil And Fly

Filed Under: Insects · Keywords: Tiny, Insect, Infestation, Soil, Underground, Damaging, Plants, Fungus Gnat · 2266 Views
my plants and trees are being overrun by several kinds of tiny little bugs. i think they may be aphids. i'm not sure since i have barely began to do yard work last year. yet my online research claims ants accompany aphids and i've noticed colonies of black and red ants around in the same areas. my main problem is under the mulch of my trees and plants. there are microscopic, semi white to translucent, little buggers. the further i dig down the more that surface. its very unnerving. i've sprayed poison thrice in the past three weeks w/no dent on the populace. i've seen many eggs on the marigolds besides them running all over the ground beneath them. they're also in the soil of my 3 new trees i had planted and i'm worried about them dying on me. my rosemary seems to have gotten effected the most, being mostly yellow. i removed all the mulch thinking it contributed to the infestation since i saw them moving around in there every time i moved it around. they also love to live under pots. i moved one this morning and there was a swarm there. i sprayed them but they seem to just soak it in and carry on. the other insect i definitely know are aphids. they're very light green and collect along the buds of my roses. i know i have to just spray them down. so no problem there. the last one is a nuisance to me as well. indoors we have little black flying insects that just love the soil of our household plants. we've sprayed them w/a poison all over and under the leaves and atop the soil but they seem to bury themselves deep where the roots are. at first i thought they were mosquitoes but i'm guessing they're another type of aphid. i did spray off the eggs of one plant but i've not seen anymore for the past week. they just want to live in the soil and eat, it seems.
well theres my problem. i'm willing to try anything to rid these pests. its gotten to the point that i'm dreaming of them as well. very unpleasant results (shivers). as long as it doesnt kill off the vegetation and endanger humans, pets, environment, etc. course, i don't want to be too desperate where i'll just use a bloody torch or grenade. so any advice will be extremely helpful.
thanks :)


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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Esther-Another insect i'm thinking you may be seeing is a soil mite (Hypoaspis miles). It is light brown somewhat translucent and lives in the top layers of soil. I found that it is a natural preditor of the fungus gnat that lives in the soil. They are actually beneficial insects as they feed on other bad pests in the garden also. I read that they are also food for ants so this may be why you are seeing some ants at the same time. There are also many species of mites that live in the soil also. I have uploaded a few pictures in hopes one of them may be what you are seeing. Possibly you are seeing small imature Sprintail insects. They can be small and white in color and move or spring fast like a flea. They can congregate in large numbers hiding under mulch, pots, mostly damp hinden areas.

John)


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Esther Hinojosa

Esther Hinojosa · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
the Sprintail sounds like the one i have outdoors. i would find them in the areas that you mentioned. do i just leave them alone then? i just freaked out since i believed they would harm the plants.
thank you so much John. you did not have to go through all the trouble of researching this. i really do appreciate helping newbies like me :)

7 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Esther-You're very welcome. Helping others is a real enjoyment. I couldn't count the many that have helped me here on Gardenality.
The Springtails feed on algae and decaying matter and are usually only in damp, moist or very humid locations. Indoors they would be in kitchens, moist basements and in the soil of potted plants that are kept moist. The Springtails also will be found outdoors also in the soil and under pots as you have found.
Eliminating moist places of concealment will be the best control for springtails. Insecticide sprays can be used to control the springtails also. The number of springtails in houseplant potting soil can be reduced by avoiding overwatering. Allow soil of potted plants to nearly dry out between waterings to prevent springtails from flourishing. Houseplant insecticide sprays can be applied to the soil surface and to cracks around and under the pot to control springtails. Appropriate sprays are the aerosol or pump dispenser ready-to-use products from garden centers and similar stores that indicate on the label that the product is specifically made for use on houseplants. Read and follow label directions.
The Springtails are harmless; they won't damage anything within your home. They are annoying as any insect would be in our homes. Even if there seems to be a large number of them in an area or in your house plants they will not do any harm to your plants. Hope this helps. Let me know if you would like me to look further for other information.
Hey, we were all Newbies at one time. I just wish we had a site like Gardenality, or even computers, back in the stone age. More than happy to help. Please ask any other questions you may have.
John

7 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Esther-Both the insects you are seeing outside in the soil, your rosemary in a pot, and your indoor pots sound as though they may be the Fungus gnat. Most of the time these small insects are more of a nuisnace than anything else flying around your indoor plants and in your garden. Although in large numbers the gnats larvae can eat and harm the roots of plants.They do look somewhat like mosquitoes and their eggs and larvae live in the soil. Fungus gnat adults are highly attracted to moist growing soils, mulches, or just areas that stay moist for long periods of time.. As the growing medium ages or degrades, as it can in pots, it tends to retain more moisture, which will also attract fungus gnat adults.

I use a bark to cover the soil in my outdoor pots in order to hold moisture in the soil during warmer months. I get these gnats at times also. I usually use any good insecticide that notes "For Outdoor or Indoor Pest Control" that comes in a ready to spray bottle at most nurseries. This will kill the adults that you see on the surface of the soil or flying around. Letting the top few inches of soil dry somewhat between watering will kill the eggs and the larvae that hatch in the soil. They need the moisture to survive. Doing these two things usually controls the problem every year for me in the spring. As the weather gets warmer moving into summer I usually don't have this problem as the amount of moisture dissipates more quickly in the pots and outdoor soil. If the soil is too moist causing an infestation of fungus gnats it may also be causing the yellowing of leaves of your rosemary.

I noted a link below to a Colorado State University Extension site that I felt had a good explanation of the Fungus gnat and its habits and how to control them. The University of California also had a link I felt interesting regarding the Fungus gnat, Shore Flies, Moth Flies, and March Flies. Just click on these links to go directly to the sites.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05584.html

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7448.html#IDENTIFICATION

Hope this helps. Let me know If you believe the fungus gnat may be your problem after looking at the identification pictures on these sites.

John)


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Esther Hinojosa

Esther Hinojosa · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
thank you for taking the time to answer John :)
i looked through the pictures and they do not look like them. the eggs would be on the leaves of the plants. yet the insects would live in the soil. i tried an indoor/outdorr insecticide w/out much help. however, since i posted i used another one in dust form. it was by Bengal. it worked w/in the hour. my rosemary is coming back and so is my Ash tree. the ants also are finding other locations. i cannot be too gung ho w/it since i have pets who like to go out. i do get aphids still on the roses but so far i'm just using a sprayer to get the lil buggers off.
again, thank you for your advice John :))

7 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Esther-Are they actually eggs on the foliage that maybe you have seen hatch or could they possibly be insect droppings (feces)? If possible maybe you can upload a picture of one of the insects and an upclose picture or the spots on the foliage. I may be able to track the insect by identifying the eggs, feces, or whatever is shown. To the right of your name below your original question you will see where you can upload a picture. I will continue to search for another insect that it might be for you.

7 years ago ·
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Esther Hinojosa

Esther Hinojosa · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
hi, John
i did not know you replied again. i was not given a notice. so my apologizes.
as for the insects, i'm starting to think they're baby ants. when i dig into the soil, they hop and move around and i notice a few black or red ants scattered about. so maybe they're there to protect them and make sure they eat all the yummy nutrients from that garden soil.

7 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi Esther - You should be getting notifications in your email when anybody answers or comments on a question you asked. Let me know if you continue not to get them. We may have a bug that needs taken care of here in Gardenality:-)

7 years ago ·
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