Tips&TricksUninvited Guests: Battling 0.08 inch White Pests in Your Plant Pots

Uninvited Guests: Battling 0.08 inch White Pests in Your Plant Pots

These pests cause diseases in potted flowers.
These pests cause diseases in potted flowers.
Images source: © Freepik

8:53 PM EST, January 10, 2024

Pests frequently attack our plants, and among the most troublesome ones are springtails. They inhabit plant pots and are difficult to detect at first sight, since they are only about 0.08 inches long. Classified as arthropods due to their six pairs of legs, these pests can jump surprisingly far and high. So the question is, how do we eliminate these uninvited guests from our plants?

Why are there white pests in plant pots?

The appearance of these pests can usually be attributed to several reasons. Springtails typically favor plants with higher moisture levels or those already infested with other pests. It's possible that we introduce them into our homes when we bring in new flowers. They are commonly found in the soil of store-bought plants, and not everyone has the time to meticulously inspect and catch these white critters. Often, pests find their way into pots independently. They can enter homes through open windows and doors, or hitch a ride indoors on clothing.

Another explanation for their presence in our plant care routine could be the existence of other pests, with whom they frequently cohabit. You'll often also find springtails when a severe disease or other parasites are present. They enjoy feeding on organic matter which is decomposing in potting soil, and it's not challenging to find such material in plant cultivation. If plants shed leaves and these are not removed on time, this provides an ideal food source for these white pests. Springtails also have a liking for mold and other fungal diseases.

What lures springtails to plants?

They are particularly attracted to diseases in potted flowers that stem from excessive moisture. This not only presents them with suitable living conditions but also gives them an ample source of nutrition from the water in the plant soil. These tiny nuisances also favor warm environments, and room temperature is an ideal setting for them. Being excellent adapters, springtails can thrive under almost any conditions. They prefer shaded spots or dimly lit areas for their development and reproduction.

How can we get rid of white pests at home?

There are commercial springtail remedies available, but there's really no need to spend a notable amount of money on them. Initially, try refraining from watering the plants. As the soil in the pots starts to dry, these pests will naturally vacate. A home remedy to dislodge springtails is cinnamon, which effectively smokes them out of the substrate. A raw potato cut in half and placed in the pot can achieve the same effect - the pests will simply stick to it.

Applying a soapy water solution can be equally effective. A mixture of water and garlic will not only ward off springtails, but also inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold in the pots.

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