Black Aphids

lacleo(8b- lower AL)February 12, 2006

I have 2 hibiscus, some tulip bulbs growing foliage, a camellia twig that I'm trying to root, some morning glories from seed that are still young, and some clover growing indoors. I'm noticing all sorts of flies when I touch the soil to see if things need watering. Also, the hibiscus buds have black pepper looking mites or something. I always thought aphids were white..... So, I have a gnat problem and a aphid problem? Spraying the plants with Safer insectiside has not helped with the black spotted areas of infestation. The leaves of the hibiscus aren't "spotted" but the bugs or mites appear as little black polka dots all over the buds and in areas that don't get direct light. The only thing that helps is to take them outside and use the pressure hose nosel. I do have an issue with one of the hibiscus plant having yellow leaves frequently.

The tulips growing in the containers are now showing signs of the little black dots on the green, large leaves as of today.

Any suggestions? I have to soak the soil? The gnat/fruit fly problem is growing.

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If they are soft bodied aphids, a spray of water or Safer should easily take care of them...I have seen aphids in both green or black here. Can you wipe off the polka dots or is this something more persistent?

Bt (subspecies israeliensis) will take care of your gnats (odorless, safe to pets, birds, fish, and us). You can find it in Gnatrol, Knockout Gnats, or in mosquito dunks - float a dunk or piece of one in a container of water overnight and use the water to water your plants. Repeated wetting and drying of the dunk does not reduce it's effectiveness so save it to use again. The larvae dies, adults don't live long, the breeding cycle is stopped. If your infestation is heavy, use about three consecutive times on your normal watering schedule.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 3:00AM
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botanybob(Northern Idaho)

I would hazard a guess that the black dots you see do not move and in fact are the feces of the fungus gnats. If you can look at them with a hand lens, you should see that they are not insects or mites, and have no legs. Adult flies will perch on buds and tips of plants and leave their feces behind.

In addition to Morz8's recommendation, you might let the soil dry more between waterings. These fungus gnats love soggy, wet soil.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 3:55PM
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lacleo(8b- lower AL)

Thanks so much. The black dots don't move on their own. I can wipe them off. Mixed in with the black dots are some white ones - they are much smaller than the black dots. So, I thought the white ones were new larve, and the black ones more mature.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 10:27AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Drag out a strong magnifying glass to look at those black dots.

Are those black dots squishable? If so they are most likely aphids -- they come in all sorts of colors.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 11:24PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

There are 4,000 species of aphids, The Black bean aphid is very popular.

1 TBSP in a gal of water as a spray of the old fashion dishsoap/baby or horse shampoo every 2 weeks keeps them under control

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 8:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd guess that the white 'dots' might be the shed skins of the black 'dots'. lol

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 11:51AM
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I think I have the same 'bugs'; they are on my chrysemums (sp?) outside. I know they are black, and they look enough like the white, & green aphids that I have seen to be called aphids. Now, I know that some pesticides are made from mum how's it that they are eating it?
They are only on the mums and mostly close to the flower spike (almost in bloom again). AND-they are moving...not to fast but I can see them moving. I have also sprayed them with Safer pesticide...and they were still on there the next day. I also have some on the leaves that are about to open on my hibiscus. Any other ideas?
Mama Dillo

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 5:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Pyrethrums are produced in large quantities only in a certain chrysanthemum.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 3:08PM
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i just repotted a miniature rose and found it invested with tons of tiny black bugs. what are these and will my rose suvive? what should i do? any info. will be greatly appreciated. thanks

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 3:20PM
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help. my hibiscus is inside and has the pepper-looking residue on the buds that everyone has described above but there are No signs of any life. do the mites live in the soil? unfortunately hibiscus are Very water hungry and letting the soil dry is not an option.
should I use Bt (israeliensis - in Gnatrol, Knockout Gnats, or in mosquito dunks) or use the soap spray mixture byron recommends?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 5:20PM
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