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Old 08-21-2013, 07:44 PM
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Tiny white bugs in potting medium

A bunch of tiny tiny tiny white bugs are crawling around the potting medium of one of my phals. It's fairly new medium, it's only been in there for like 2-3 months. What do I do???
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:46 PM
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Oh also two of it's leaves are turning yellow and will drop soon. One dropped about a month or less ago too...
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:58 PM
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Pictures?
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:38 PM
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In addition to photos - questions
What medium is it growing in (bark, moss, etc.)
What type of container (clay, plastic, plenty of drainage holes or not)
How often do you water
Growing inside or outside
Got roots? How do they look?

The questions have more to do with your leaf loss - probably more important than the bugs

Are the bugs crawling only, or do they fly? Not cottony/fuzzy? Initial guess would be something like thrips or spingtails if they are actively moving, not flying, not fuzzy.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:24 PM
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I will try to get pictures but honestly I'm not sure if I can, I have to put my face right up to the pot to see the little bugs.

Its grown in an orchid mix that has lava rocks, bark, peat moss (i think), and charcoal. I also have styrafoam in the bottom for drainage
It's a plastic container with many drainage holes in the bottom and sides
I water about once a week, sometimes more often if I feel the plant needs it.

It used to be planted in sphagnum moss and the roots were rotting when I got it, many of them are damaged but it's growing at least 2 new healthy looking roots, possibly more.

As far as I can tell they only crawl and they don't look fuzzy. They crawl in and out of the holes in the lava rocks, all of all the other potting medium, and i see some crawling on the plant but mostly just in the medium.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:43 PM
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Are they actually white, or kind of greyish? All my orchids have little wood mites in the potting medium, but they don't hurt the orchids, they just eat stuff that is decaying. None of my orchids have suffered from having them.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:55 PM
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errmmm, they are a little off white I think. And I checked all the other orchids, they don't seem to have them
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:39 AM
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Do the bugs jump at all? If yes, that would suggest springtails, which are not dangerous. They can be annoying, though. You could re-pot again, clean pot, new bug-free medium, or un-pot, clean the plant and pot well, then boil the medium and re-pot when it has cooled.

If the roots were rotted, but are recovering, that might be a reason for the yellowing leaves. Keep an eye on it, might be OK. Other than that, medium, pot, water sound OK.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:18 PM
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I don't think they jump. Is there a way I can tell if something is going wrong with the roots, like the bugs eating them?
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:47 PM
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If there is any question I pull mine,check and repot..or you could try a little soap and bakingsoda..I also add a dash of hydrogen peroxide...spray check,spray check..then give mine a good flushing..first with mixture,wait couple of hours then with water..might help
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:09 PM
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Can you use any sort of soap? I am starting to believe that they're thrips. None of my plants seem to be badly harmed in any way but a few have girdled roots and now I'm seeing a few bugs that are darker in color. I think they must have come from the soil we used in some of our other indoor plants
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:16 PM
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Well actually these bugs are completely different from the little white ones I had before, these are much slower and a little bit bigger, they're also grey in color. Here's a picture, they're all over!

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Old 11-04-2013, 06:02 PM
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Here are a couple of things you might want to try.

1. Use Murphy's Oil Soap diluted as per instructions and spray everything liberally.

2. Mix 1 cup 409 cleaner - the regular stuff not the degreaser - 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 6 cups of water. Mix it up good and spray everything liberally. Have not used this one myself but have read of some who swear by it.

3. Being from Texas you might like this one. Puree 6 habanero peppers and 1 whole garlic bulb (not just a clove, the whole thing) and mix with 4 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Let it cool and then add 1 tablespoon Dawn dishwashing liquid and 1 more cup of water. Stir - do not shake - and then spray everything. I used this one once spraying in the kitchen sink, the garlic smell made my wife yell at me - I thought it smelled pretty good but moved spraying out to my garden shed after that. I have no idea what will happen if you shake it up but the thing I read said not to do it. Hope one of these help.
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