What are some small grey insects?

alicia1July 3, 2007

Hi, I am new to this forum, and would like some help. I am fairly new to the cacti and succulent collecting. I have now ran into some trouble. I have discovered some small greyish insects in some of my cacti, and also some mealy bugs. Does anyone know what the grey insects could be? They are not seen until you move some of the dirt and they then start moving around, they move fairly fast. Help please. What can they be and what should I do. I don't want to lose my cacti. Thanks Alicia

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Alicia, are the 'grayish' bugs living in the soil or on leaves?
If in soil, they sounds like fungus gnats..Actually, fg's are black, but for some reason when running around, they have a silvery color.
To rid gnats, make sure soil dries out thoroghly..Cactus and succulent soil shouldn't stay wet anyway..Fresh air keeps fg's at bay..
Where are your C&S's? In or outside? They do great outside in summer..if you can't place outside, then keep a small fan running to circulate air/and an open window.
Fg's are bad, but mealy is a million times worse..You need to focus on ridding the mealy..they'll eat away at your plants in no time.
One solution is rubbing alcohol. Swipe infested areas using cotton balls or Q-tips. You'll need to do this a couple times a wk for 2-3 wks.
There are insecticides that can also be used.
On the Geranium forum, ppl have been breaking up scented geraniums..they vow this rids mealy..or keeps them away. It's almost worth giving it a try..
If it were my plant/s, I'd unpot, clean out pot, hose off plants and add new soil..It's important using a well-draining soil w/C&S's. If it's too heavy you'll have nothing but problems. What type of soil are your C&S's potted in? What size pots? What type of light are plants getting? Toni

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 6:14PM
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Hi, toni, thanks for the info. I wanted to add that they are in the soil. I was looking in the internet and I believe that they might be springtails. Can anyone else agree with me? They only come out when I move some of the topsoil. The pots are wet right now, because of all the rain we have been having. They are located outside, but now are in my garage drying out.I placed a fan that is helping circulate some air around them.
Usually my succulents are in my uncovered deck which get about 3 1/2 hours of early morning sun, and the rest of the day get some shade. My cacti are placed where they get some more sun. I really had not had any trouble with them until the rain started.

I also wanted to ask if anyone else uses the Schultz brand cacti and succulent soil. I opened a NEW unopened bag that I purchased about a week ago and was so shocked that these insects were inside the bag. You have to move the bag around but they will start moving around soon after. I believe this is where they came from. Before I was using a differ type of brand of soil, but then I found this at walmart, and used it. I wanted to know if anyone else has noticed this. Thanks .. If in case they are springtails does anyone know if they are harmful to the c&h? If they are, what can I use to KILL them. What insecticides are safe for the c&h? I forgot to mention that the ones in the bag were jumping, not that high, but enough to move from one place to another, the ones in my plants just scurry around in a hurry. Thanks for all the help. Alicia

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 12:35AM
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Every week or two, Take a spray bottle filled with water and one or two drops of liquid dish soap and mist your plants and soil. Make sure everything gets pretty wet. This will help clean your plants and get rid of most bugs while doing no harm to your plants. Red

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Hi, thanks for the info. I wanted to ask if anyone else has heard about using garlic with water and then spraying the soil for springtails? Yesterday I read it somewhere but i cannot recall where. I will try the liquid dish soap with water, but I just wanted to check if anyone else has heard of this other remedy working or if there is something that might make it worse. Thanks once again, for all information. Alicia

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 12:56PM
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I use Murphy's oil soap diluted in water for my plants and it has helped with every bug i've had. i have a lot of plants so what i do is i actually make a few gallons of it and water my plants with the solution. this makes the lot of the soil drenched and it smothers the bugs because they cant breathe. Murphy's oil soap is made from a plant so it is plant safe and you can use more than a few drops. you can also fill a spray bottle with it and spray your plants. one time i had spider mites and it was a really bad infestation and the murphys oil soap took care of them quick. good luck!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 2:07PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Missapril -

I am curious about the Murphy's Oil soap - what dilution do you use for spraying? As a soil drench? Can you give some examples of the plants have you used it on?


    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 3:31PM
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