Millions of tiny white bugs

tiedie71(z5 NY)September 11, 2004

Hello everybody!

I have a 55 gallon terrarium that is 4 years old. I have not lifted the seal in about 1 year. And that was only to cut back plants as my husband said something was going to reach out of there and grab somebody some day! LOL! Anyway, there are teenie white bugs everywhere in it, and on the outside of the tank too. I thought they might be springtails, but from what I've read, springtails jump, and these bugs do not jump. They are everywhere. The plants look good and are growing like crazy, but the bugs have me stumped.I dont know how to post a picture here, or I would. If any of you have any ideas, Please let me know! Thank You, Sherri

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Sounds like Aphids or whitefly. In either case, you need to act fast, or your plants will meet a relatively ugly and painful demise.

I'm not sure how to treat them, but either an insecticidal soap or systemic(or both concurrently), should do the trick.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 7:31PM
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homer_zn5(z5 IN)

I don't know, they sure sound like springtails to me. Springtails don't jump unless they feel terribly threatened, and then they can be difficult to follow. If you have tons of them and no adverse reactions by the plants, my guess is that you DO have springtails. Do a google image search on springtails and compare it to what you see. Then compare it to an image search on aphids or whiteflies. That should let you know what you are up against.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 11:18PM
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Springtails are dark and jump. Aphids and whiteflies collect, move slowly and won't really run, jump, or fly away from you if you threaten them.

Even if they are springtails and there are "millions" of them, it can't be good, so knock em all off.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 12:06AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Aphids are not exactly teenie tiny, so I don't think you have them. White flies fly, so if these bugs are not flying, ever, they are more than likely springtails. Try putting a carnivorous plant in your terrarium, like a butterwort or pitcher plant. I have a nepenthes ventricosa (I think) that ate all my fungus gnats! You will need good light for them though. They really don't do that much damage though. I had tons of them when I first set up my terr and added some wild-collected moss, but now I don't see very many of them. I wouldn't worry too much, but make sure you ahve correctly ID'd them.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 7:09PM
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tiedie71(z5 NY)

Thanks for all the input! I dont think they are aphids either. I looked at some pics and they dont resemble aphids at all, They kinda look like white flies, but they dont fly. I can run my finger across the outside of my terrarium and they just smear. I cant see wings either. I can see theat my draceana is getting some yellow/brown leaves at the bottom, but that is all. I am going to the Garden od Eden tomorrow morning and getting something (I dont know what yet), I will come home and clean the entire area around it and the outside of the terr., then open it up, cut back a bunch, and treat it. I'm thinking maybe dry it out a little also. I hope it works, and I will be coming back to let you all know! Thanks for everything, and by they way....This forum is awesome!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 2:34PM
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Last year I had an herb garden. It grew like a bunch of weeds until one day when hundreds(it was only 4 plants), of these slow-moving, white things decided to take over. They ended up killing all of my plants and I always just assumed it was whitefly.

THese little white buggers crowd around the greenery and don't move at all when threatened. Just like you said, when you ran your finger across the leaves, they just smeared and stuck to it because of the sappy mess they made while eating.

Whatever name you wish to attach to these things, it sounds very much like my experience.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 5:00PM
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tiedie71(z5 NY)

I have just realized that there are millions more early in the morning on the outside of my tank, and they diminish throughout the day.I can get clumps of them on my finger. I am getting rid of them one way or another! But what I'm worried about is, Am I gonna get them all, and where are they coming from to be more populated on the outside of the tank than the inside? And why in the morning are there more? I am completely stumped!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 8:05AM
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tiedie71(z5 NY)

Ok, I scooped up some of the bugs with a business card and put them in a jar and took them with me, They said they are whitefly larve.They gave me insecticidal spray. I sprayed it everywhere, even on the outside, and they all died quickly. I hope they stay gone now. I'm going to spray again next week, just to be sure! Thank you all for the advice!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 2:25PM
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tiedie71(z5 NY)

Well, I just got home from work and all the bugs are back on the outside of the terrarium! I am going to scrub it all tomorrow morning and spray again. I dont know what else to do!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 11:18PM
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