HELP! tiny bugs all over my pepper plants (pics)

tcleigh(6)November 16, 2011

Woke up today and found tiny black bugs all over some of my pepper plants which I have under a grow light. I brought these plants in from outside about two months ago. Here are some pics:

Can anyone recommend a safe way to get rid of them?? Thanks!

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esox07 (4b)

Those are fungus gnats. I get those too on indoor plants but it usually means the soil has been kept too damp. Normally you will find them in the soil and if the ones in your picture are the same thing, I would say that you have a very bad infestation of them. I am sure there are some out there that have a more specific treatment but what I would do immediately is spray some good "insecticide" around the base of the plants all over the soil. Don't overdue it but you will probably have to reapply each day for a few days. In the mean time, get the soil to dry out. Your plants will probably be happier too. Don't water them until you see them telling you they need water.
Check the link at the bottom of my post. It will tell you all you neeed to know.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fungus Gnats as Houseplant and Indoor Pests

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Actually...Those appear to be small parasitoid wasps. Don't worry, they don't sting or parasitize people or pets, just other insects. They may have hatched out from somewhere else in the house or from a parasitized insect that was on the plant or in the soil. They may be attracted to the light or to something on the plant (did you look closer for aphids or other small plant feeding insects?).

There are also small wasps that form galls on other plants (but not peppers), it is possible they hatched out of a gall and are attracted to the light.

There appears to be some residue on the top of the leaves, if there is indeed a residue it may be from aphid or whitefly excretions from below the upper leaves or from another plant that may have been above the pepper while outside (a tree?). The wasps may be attracted to the residue (if there is some).

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:38PM
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esox07 (4b)

Jesse aji could be right but I am still guessing fungus gnats.

Here is the image from the Colorada state U web site:

Here is the photo of your bugs:


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 12:56PM
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They may be a species of Chalcid wasp which parasitizes fly pupae. There are tons of different species, so don't go by the first photo you see in a "Chalcid" google search, keep scrolling down and you may see something that matches.

By the way, notice the antennae, they are more wasp like than fly like. I can't think of any Dipterans (flies) with antennae that aren't little "nubs".

They shouldn't be any harm to any of your plants.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:24PM
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Woops! Fungus gnats do have longer antennae than most other flies relative to their head size, but these insects still appear to have wasp like features(antennae are quite long). Notice the size(and shape) of their heads compared to their body compared to that of photos of fungus gnats. These insects have larger/wider heads. I would rule out fungus gnat with 100% confidence, but I will not id them as chalcids or wasps with that kind of confidence, without a better picture.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:38PM
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I don't think they are fungus Gnats.

They don't have the same body in my opinion.
Legs don't look long enough either.
In the pics on the link below check out the last pic 2nd row down and the 3rd pic 1st row.
Notice the big difference in what you have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gnats

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Good site for bug I.D.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bugs

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:21PM
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It is rare when I don't have at least a few fungus gnats around my indoor plants, but those bugs sure don't look like any fungus gnat I've ever seen.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:05PM
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This is a fungus gnat from my indoor peppers (stuck to a piece of yellow sticky-paper):

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:25PM
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thanks to everyone for the helpful ideas!

im not exactly sure what kind of insects they were, but the good news is that they proved harmless to the plants. The day after i had initially found them swarming under my grow light, i found them dead. must have been a hatch of some sort. glad it was harmless and not labor-intensive to treat!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 4:38PM
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