little half inch worms in potted meyer

gmb7(8a ma)March 11, 2006

i have these little half inch worms in the soil of my potted meyer lemon anyone have any ideas what to use to get rid of them they say not to use systemic pesticides on lemons so i have no idea what to use thanks

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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I guess first you will need to determine what kind of worms those are. Have you noticed any gnats around your tree lately? You can stir up the soil a little with your hands and see if any fly out. Sometimes they will surface during watering as well.
If so, the worms could be the larva of fungus gnats which will eat the roots of the tree which may cause it to eventually wilt and die as the roots can no longer take up nutrients/water. During the spring is when they seem to be the biggest problem here, when things are damp and warming up outside. They get into the house as well and cause havoc on the houseplants. If you think it is gnat larva then you can use a product called Knock Out Gnats fom Gardens Alive
that contains Bt/H-14 (bacillus thuringiensis). It is a bacteria that kills gnats and other tiny flying insect larva. It is not supposed to be harmful to pets, fish, plants etc. You will also need to use a yellow sticky trap to kill the adults.
I think a gnat life cycle runs about 7 days (adult), eggs take @4days too hatch, then will become larva/pupa and take @3 days to become adults. So you may need to reapply a few times to get all the gnats in their different life cycles.
Another cheap way to kill the larva is to break off a 1/4 size piece of mosquito dunk (Bt) (found at walmart or H.D.) and soak it in @ a quart warm water overnight and then add
enough water to make a gallon. Water your tree well. Repeat in a few weeks as needed. Some people just buy the granules and sprinkle them on the soil. Walmart also sells those pull out yellow sticky fly traps for @ a dollar as well.

Also, sometimes I find little worms that are earth worms when I am repotting. I think they must crawl in the pot while it is outdoors on the soil and they make babies. One time I found dozens of little baby earth worms and several large ones. I just let them be apparently they were happy there lol. Good luck, Hope this helps

P.S Another interesting note : Since I have repotted all my citrus this spring in a mix with cedar shavings (as per instructions from 4 winds nursery which says you can amend soil to loosen up the soil with cedar shavings or redwood shavings), I chose cedar shavings that you can get in a huge bag at Lowes as dog kennel bedding for @ 5 dollars. I haven't had any gnat problems in my soil. I know that cedar is also used in pet bedding to deter fleas. So maybe it has some gnat repelling qualities as well. So now all my citrus get mg rose soil (acidic) mixed with perlite and cedar shavings and they are loving it and best of all no gnats!!

Here is a link that might be useful: knock out gnat

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 10:17AM
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gmb7(8a ma)

i dont see anything flying around the plant these little worms have little antennas i have no idea what kind of worm they are maybe some kind of catipiller the plant has been in all winter so i have no idea where they came from

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 8:42PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

hmm antennae worms, Do they have legs? I am trying to think of what kind they are. What color are they? Do they jump at all or just wriggle? Here is a site for springtails-not sure if that is what you have but they will live in potted plants and have antennae.
One other option is to put some in a glass jar and take it to a 'good' nursery or to your local county extension office and since they can see it they will know exactly what you have and be able to tell you of something organic or at least safer you can use on citrus.

Here is a link that might be useful: springtail photo

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 3:14PM
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bencelest(z9 CA)

Does it look like this?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 8:24PM
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gmb7(8a ma)

these worms dont really look like that they have little antennas and legs like a baby catilpillar they are tan with a black stripe down the back only about a half inch or less in length

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 5:51PM
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The cedar shavings are good for lots of stuff. Since I started using in all my flower beds, tree mulch etc, I have yet to find a flea or tick on any of my three dogs. Also good for topping off a citrus in pots....

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:52AM
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