1. Grasscity.com August contest: Subscribe to our channel on YouTube to be entered to win a PAX 2 Vaporizer! Winner will be announced Sept 1st
    Dismiss Notice

Little white bugs in my soil. Are these soil mites? Harmful? [HD video]

Discussion in 'Absolute Beginners' started by bi0x, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. #1 bi0x, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2011
    Evening everyone! I'm in need of your help yet again.

    So, this morning I noticed in one of my four plants, little tiny white bugs crawling around on the soil, and the first two leaves of my plant. I assume they were on these leaves since these two leafs are almost in the soil, not because the bugs are necessarily attracted to the leaves themselves.

    Nevertheless, I was worried, as any paranoid grower would be, but after some research (particularly this thread) I'm pretty convinced I have soil mites, or "Hypoaspis Miles".

    Can anyone with experience confirm or deny what these bugs are? I'm completely inexperienced, so I don't want to assume they're harmless, and ignore a potential problem down the road.

    I've taken some video of the little critters so hopefully that will help someone diagnose my issue.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyrTJPNfuQM]YouTube - 11[/ame]

    Be sure to watch in 720p. They're small little fuckers.

    I immediately assumed they were fruit gnats or spider mites. My plan was to let the soil dry out, and to get some Azamax from my local hydro shop.

    Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do...what say you, GC?
  2. Bump for the Sunday crew! HALP!
  3. I think you can get some faster reply's if you post in the sick plants section.
  4. Cover the soil with 1 inch of fine sand. This should alleviate your problem. The sand will dry out faster than the soil so they cannot live/make new generation and it will also cut them on a microscopic level and they will die.

    I did this when my grow got fungus gnats and it stopped them in a couple days.
  5. Good call, any particular sand, or just a "fine sand" from Home Depot or Lowes?

    Yeah, I was debating which would get more exposure. I suppose I'll move it to the sick plants section :D
  6. Looks like root aphids, the sand won't work on them, they also give birth to live young, no eggs. Hope I'm wrong, fungus nats are easier to control.

    I used Hot Shot No Pest Strip to get rid of them in my room, took about 2-3 days and haven't seen them since.

    Good luck with whatever you try, these little bastards are straight from hell.:devious:
  7. Are you ruling out the possibility of them being hypoapsis miles (soil mites)? All signs point towards them being this (both in looks & actions, no leaf damage)

    What makes you think they're aphids?
  8. They are springtails, I raise them as food for my frogs. They are completely harmless and are actually a sign of healthy soil.
  9. had these in a bag Of FFOF and returned it didnt want to risk any type of bug. I transplanted my plants and got the most soil off but then again they had just sprouted so this may not be an option for you
  10. It's actually difficult to tell what these are without some good pictures to identify them. Are you able to get some HD closeups?
  11. The video is about as HD as I can get (it's pretty damn clear at 720p in full screen) but I'll see what I can do about nabbing one for a photograph.

    Not sure if my macro settings are quite that good, but we'll see.

    Can a mod move this thread to the sick plants forum?
  12. #12 loizier, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2011
    im positive their springtails. i have 'em.

    from what iv read they dont do damage to the plant unless theres nothing else decaying in the soil. basically they eat rotten stuff and poop it out.:)

    simply let the soil dry out more before waterings. remove some of the top soil thats less compact. replace with sand if you like. i didnt. if anything i did less. i just let them dry out more.

    happy growing:wave:

    mine jump too. if you noticed in your vid, a second before ending, one of those guys jumps off a boulder(pebble).
  13. hi guys, i spent days stressing about this problem and if they jump and come to the surface when watering then they are definately springtails.
    this is the most accurate information you will ever find on the subject.
    took me a long time to find it but is 100% accurate.

    Not only are springtails harmless to the garden, but their presence
    indicates good soil health. Their diet consists of decaying matter,
    fungus, & bacteria, & their activity helps keep nitrogen in the soil. A
    radical explosion in their population might be an indicator that something
    in the organic balance is out of wack, though it probably means only that
    there are excesses of mushroom spoors which can increase springtail
    populations since springtails go after the mushroom spoors like kids after
    halloween candy, & a black springtail called "snowflea" even hops around
    after snowfall gathering up fungal spoors from the surface of the snow. If
    springtails vanish that means the microflora is probably also missing or
    that soil is never sufficiently moist to support either springtails or
    microflora. In which case the plants will be at great risk too.

    Attempting to get rid of them by drying out the garden would be equally
    harmful to microflora, only the springtails would weather the drought
    better by moving to moist areas & estivating, or in unusual cases "heading
    for cool shelter" which will mean the house, where they will accumulate in
    bathrooms & kitchens, & not leave until it's moist outdoors again. A large
    indoor infestation without an outdoor drought can be a warning-sign of
    mold problems inside the structure or leaky plumbing somewhere undetected.
    Insecticides won't get rid of them if there are condensation or moisture
    problems in the house, but correcting leaks & moisture problems or
    installing a dehumidifier gets rid of them.

    Some springtails are so small they will never be seen by the even
    moderately farsighted. Tinier-than-average varieties are encountered in
    potted indoor plants, but they restrict their activity to the soil & don't
    spread elsewhere in the house, & are not harming houseplants.

    There is ONE North American exception to the general harmlessness of the
    genus. A rounded stumpy flea-like springtail (Bourletiella hortensis) eats
    the delicate roots of evergreen tree seedlings, so if you are growing
    evergreen seedlings & had a population explosion of this flealike pest,
    that could be bad news. Few are the gardeners with lots of tree seedlings,
    so the primary bad history for this critter is in tree farms & ornamental
    tree nurseries of the Pacific Northwest, where their feeding habits reduce
    emergence or cause deformities of western hemlock, sitka spruce, & other
    evergreens, & cause lesions in developing bark where harmful fungus can be
    established. They are most active in summer & would be dormant now. When
    present & active they are easily detected by laying a white piece of paper
    on the soil & then blowing on or fanning the soil around the edges of the
    paper; if they are present in sufficient numbers to be harmful to
    evergreen seedlings, several will jump onto the white surface of the
    paper. But if what one sees are ELONGATED springtails (& most of the
    numerous species are elongated) then these are invariably harmless.

    A similarly primitive insect (far older than true insects) is the jumping
    bristletail. They're very nocturnal & feed primarily on the types of algae
    & lichens that grow on forest floors in leaf & needle litter. They can be
    very common in moist coastal forests where fallen leaves & debris are
    thick, which material jumping bristletails help turn into topsoil. They
    are rarely numerous in gardens. If there were many, you'd see them by
    turning over a piece of lumber or flat piece of bark. As with springtails,
    bristletails are harmless, & though they do eat living plant matter, it's
    only algae & lichens, not higher plants.

    Although springtails are a sign of good healthy soil & ideal plant
    conditions, many vendors of various pesticides recommend getting rid of
    them. Because chemical vendors don't care to distinguish between what is
    helpful & what is harmful, they just want to sell more of their products.

    Even if there were an imaginary reason to control them, the method would
    be to clean up the leaflitter from the garden. I'd never do this because
    springtail activity in leaflitter is a great source of garden nutrients
    that helps do away with the need to artificially fertilize. But if I had a
    phobia about springtails I'd sweep up all the leaves & that would
    automatically lower the springtail population.

    -paghat the ratgirl

    "Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
    "Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
    -from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
    Visit the Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl: Gateway

    \t\t \t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t \t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t \t\t\t \t \t \t \t \t \t \t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t\t[​IMG]
  14. thanks schmoookin and loizier!! you have put my mind at ease was stressing big time before I read this :D
  15. iv got thiese in my soil too and what your saying makes perfect sence and i can verify that i have a pot with soil but its bone dry and a plant thats growing in a seperate pot. the empty pot is right next to the planted pot yet the plant has loads of thiese little bugs in the soil and dry pot have absolutley none (i tested this by adding water to the dry pot, they jump arround when you water your plant) so basicly they eat rotting plant matter? do they eat dead roots? if so il let them do there job and wont bother buying cannazyme anymore!
  16. That's good info, I learned something new today.
  17. me too it totaly put my mind at ease, this information should be transferd along with the clip link to help identifuy this problem to the sick plants area and stickyd
  18. I too have had good luck with the pest strips. Diatomaceous earth is better than sand, imo. It cuts them up and they dry out and die.
  19. Those look like the same thing I have. My plants don't seem to be troubled by them much, they're about 3 weeks into flower. I was freaked out that they were root aphids, which I've heard nothing but horror stories about, but I got a 30x microscope and checked em out under that and they're definately a mite of some kind. I'm still trying to figure out what kinda of mite, but the mention of the hypoasmis miles has me thinking that might be what I have. I am going to take a sample down to the horticulture department and the community college here and see if they can help me nail it down. If that's the case, I'm stoked, cuz hypoasmis miles is apparently a predator of fungus gnat larvae and a few other soil pests. Crossin my fingers, but for anyone who is wondering what kind of white soil bugs they have. I would suggest getting a microscope and catching a few to scope, then do some image comparisons. Spider mites have 8 legs and hairs, root aphids only have 6 and no hairs. Good luck out there, I'll let ya know what I find out bout my buggers...
  20. I bought a bag of moisture control Miracle grow potting soil. I noticed these things running around in there today. Saw one of them jump to his death onto my rug. I tired to find him but could not.

    So this was awesome finding out that my brand new bag of Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil doesn't have mites or some other kind of insect in it. It's always good to do your research eh? :hello:

Share This Page