Tiny white bugs in soil?

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Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:05 pm

I was checking my fukien tea to see if it was ready to be watereded and I noticed that there are tiny white bugs in the soil. They almost look like they could be spider mites, but I was under the impression that they live on the tree and not in the soil. What could these bugs be and what should I do to get rid of them?
Thanks!
--Gabrielle

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:34 pm

Probably gnat larve feeding on decaying organic matter and while not harmful to the plant, it usually means you are keeping the soil too wet.

It could also be root mealy bugs which are very harmful if not fatal.

Can you get a photo, or google root mealy bugs.

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:46 pm

You are keeping your tree too wet. I recall wondering about that in another one of your messages. Don't water a bonsai unless the soil is quite dry.

Keep a broken-off piece of chopstick jammed in the soil. Remove it at the same time each day and feel the dirty end. If it is at all damp, DO NOT WATER. If it is dry, water.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:21 pm

GOOGLE "fungus gnats."

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:18 pm

Before I repotted my Juniper after getting it from the nursery in awful soil, I discovered it's soil had bugs similar to described.

I showed them to my mum and she told me they weren't harmful at all and not that big of a deal.

I didn't really believe her, but was re-potting anyways so didn't question it...but now I'm wondering if it's true? Can these bugs or any similar or any 'bug' at all for that matter apart from good bacteria and fungus be harmless to a bonsai?

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:36 pm

Fungus gnats won't hurt a tree, but the conditions that make fungus gnats happy can do great damage to the tree.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:50 pm

JimLewis wrote:Fungus gnats won't hurt a tree, but the conditions that make fungus gnats happy can do great damage to the tree.

A nice natural preemptive 'Emergency!" alarm Razz

Good to know!

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:51 am

Thank you all for your replies!

Jim - I currently use the chopstick method and only water when needed so I don't think that I am keeping the soil too wet. I barely water my tree twice a week.

Bill - I googled both fungus gnats and root mealy bugs and neither resemble the critters in my soil. I did however google spider mites and this picture looks exactly like what I have been seeing. I think that the whole tree may be infested, but I only saw them in the soil because of the contrast between the two.

[img http://i36.servimg.com/u/f36/17/76/05/54/spider10.jpg[/img]

What is the best method to rid my tree of these creepy little creatures?

Thanks!
--Gabrielle

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  coh on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:59 am

I don't think you usually find spider mites in the soil...so before trying to "rid the tree" of them, make sure that they are actually on the foliage. Try looking at it with a magnifying glass, and try the "paper trick" where you put a sheet of white paper under some of the foliage and tap on it (the foliage). If there are mites they should fall to the paper and be visible as moving specs.

There are lots of little critters that can live on the organic matter in the soil, even if it's not too wet (but the wetness definitely encourages them).

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:10 am

I don't believe that spider mites have a larval stage in the soil. You can always take your tree in to your local agricultural extension office. Someone there will help you identify them and suggest solutions.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:49 pm

Chris - Thank you for your suggestion! I did the paper test and there were indeed moving specs on the paper as well as on the tree's foliage.

Jim - After poking around in the soil, I noticed that part of the trunk is barried so maybe that's why I saw them in the soil? I'm not sure.

I read about a mixture that is suppose to be gentle enough to spray a fukien tea with. I'm thinking about trying it. It calls for:
1 tbsp dish soap
4 tbsp veg. oil
8 cups water

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:58 pm

B0nsaiPrincess wrote:Chris - Thank you for your suggestion! I did the paper test and there were indeed moving specs on the paper as well as on the tree's foliage.

Jim - After poking around in the soil, I noticed that part of the trunk is barried so maybe that's why I saw them in the soil? I'm not sure.

I read about a mixture that is suppose to be gentle enough to spray a fukien tea with. I'm thinking about trying it. It calls for:
1 tbsp dish soap
4 tbsp veg. oil
8 cups water

I have a similar mixture I have in a water bottle I've just prepared in case. I used it once on some mildew/fungus I thought I had, and it hasn't gotten any worse, but not better either so I'm thinking it's not even mildew. I used mostly water, and a couple drops olive oil/teeny tiny baking soda.

Let me know if you try yours--I'll let you know if I try mine!

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  JimLewis on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:17 pm

Be sure it is SOAP. That may be too much oil -- espcially if the tree is placed in the sun.

Rodale's "Natural Insect and Disease Control" has several recipes and other more-or-less non-toxic solutions.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  Hoo on Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:38 pm

I often get scale on my teas... Typically on undersides of leaves as well as flower buds. Have never had issue with pests in the soil though. Usually I hit each of the teas with Safer Soap once or twice a year at the first sign of trouble... and no more issue. It's recommended for many pests. I use it on the teas b/c it's not too harsh, and in my experience teas love to drop leaves any chance they get. Once I give it a thorough spray, making sure to get every part of the tree and foliage I'll follow it up with a good misting of water to help rinse off the soap.

Look into it, might be a solution to your problem.

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Re: Tiny white bugs in soil?

Post  marcus watts on Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:17 am

it is just a mite - they will be breaking down matter in the soil.

is the tree unhealthy or suffering?........if not dont fix what isnt broken.

marcus

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