Tiny wormlike thing eating stems/roots!

JimmiesJune 8, 2014

Hi all, I have a purple shamrock growing in my apartment which I bought it around St. Patrick's day from the grocery store, and I think some pests may have hitched a ride on it. I've been noticing that every few days, one of the shamrocks dies. It shrivels up, and I'm able to just lightly pull it out of the soil. I thought it was natural, that they were old and just died, but today when I pulled one out, I noticed a tiny (1/4") worm-like (or maybe millipede-like) grayish (possibly transparent) insect wriggling around on the plant stem. So it seems like whatever it is eats the stem at the base and is killing my plant!

Does anyone know what this could be, and how to kill it? I've been spraying it with insecticidal soap once or twice a week (I also had a fungus gnat infestation on some cat grass i got as a gift, which ended up spreading to my other plants) but it doesn't seem to be working.

Any help would be really, really, really appreciated!

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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Without seeing it, my first thought goes to fungus gnat, as you mentioned.
You can try a mix of regular store bought hydrogen peroxide
and water to try and kill them in the larval stage.
Second thought would be wireworms, and if allowed to finish life-cycle, become click-bugs. Same thing kills them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kill fungus gnat worms & wire-worms w/peroxide & water

This post was edited by MsMorningSong on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 19:34

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:33PM
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Ah, it didn't occur to me that these things might be the larval stage of a fungus gnat - that makes complete sense! I'll give the hydrogen peroxide and water mixture a try once the soil dries a bit! Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are on remedy #2 ... at some point.. you will have spent more money on remedy.. than the plant cost ...

keep that in mind.. if #2 fails.. just get rid of it.. and buy another ...

also look in to the cause of fungus gnats... and that is not letting your potting media dry out enough ...


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:12AM
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