Help identifying insects in my CHC soil?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Buddy43210, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Buddy43210

    Buddy43210 Member

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    I was wondering if anyone could help me identify the insects living in the soil of my potted Meyer Lemon. I am new to growing citrus and reading over this forum prior to purchasing my trees was of great help. I bought a Meyer Lemon and a Trovita Orange from Four Winds back in September and I transplanted them into pots using 4 parts coconut husk chips and one part coir. For nutrients I mixed in a few tablespoons of EB Stone organic citrus fertilizer. I must have stressed them by transplanting as they both lost almost all their leaves within a week or so. Per suggestions on this forum I was patient and just tried to keep ideal growing conditions. Being in the Midwest I had to eventually bring them inside where they now reside under a fluorescent grow lamp for 12 hours a day. I didn't expect much, if any, growth under the fluorescent lamp but to my surprise the lemon put out a bunch of new growth after about a month. Under the same conditions however the orange just kept going down hill and eventually everything above the graft turned brown and died. I am glad I still have the lemon but since the orange died I want to make sure there isn't something else I should be doing to prevent the lemon from meeting the same fate. So to get to my question the one thing that stands out to me is these tiny white or silvery insects that are living in the CHC's. They are about a millimeter long and don't seem to have wings, or if they do they don't seem to use them. They crawl fairly fast and can jump almost like a flea. I don't see them on the plant anywhere, only in the soil. They seem to be slowly multiplying as each time I water, once every 1-2 weeks, a bunch come up to the surface of the soil like they are trying to escape the water. I have looked at a few websites showing pictures of citrus pests and the closest thing to what I am seeing are thrips. Does that sound plausible? Again the Lemon seems to be doing fine right now but should I be doing something about these insects and if so what? Are they even harmful? Sorry for such a long post but since it was my first I just wanted to give as much background info about the plants history/growing conditions as I could. Thanks in advance for any advice. Buddy
     
  2. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have what sounds to be the same problem as you. I have the same kind of white bugs in my soil and i'm looking for help too on the internet but i didn't find anything so far.

    Anybody to help?
     
  3. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    They are probably fungus gnats-- they are a sign of wet soil-- you may be overwatering.

    Skeet
     
  4. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    No they're not fungus gnats, i got some months ago but it's not like that at all.

    Moreover, i don't overwater my plant it would be the opposite, actually.

    Anybody else has an idea? please.

    gwenn
     
  5. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    If you want to kill them, you could probably do it with soap spray. It won't hurt the tree.

    Skeet
     
  6. squirrelmaniac

    squirrelmaniac Active Member

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    Hello, I have this problem with my lemons/tangerines/key limes often. These bugs are a harmful mite that seem to attack the roots of the tree. The tree will show litlle damage until it is almost too late, when it will die almost at once. I inspect the soil of my plants everyday for these little buggers. The best way to kill them that i have found is to mix about 1 gal. of warm water with 1-2 tbsp dish detergent, and about .5-1 tbsp olive oil. The soap mixes with the oil and helps deliver it where it is needed- the mouths of the bugs! I think the oil smothers the bugs and keeps them from breathing. This mixture is also extremely effective against spider mites, aphids, and most other types of mites. Hope that helped!
     
  7. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Squirrelmaniac, that is a good mixture for killing bugs, but I just want to let you know, it is the soap that does most of the killing-- most insect can survive in the rain or when they get wet due to the waxy coating on their body that repels water-- soap reduces the surface tension of the water and lets the water get into their abdomen (the spiracles where they breathe) and drowns they. The oil will also "wet" them and helps to drown them.

    Skeet
     
  8. squirrelmaniac

    squirrelmaniac Active Member

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    Ah well, it just seems the oil helps somehow- i've had to use it many a time, and it just seems extra effective with oil. I wonder what the oil actually does then...
    On an unrelated note: Have you ever sprouted starfruit? Its been four weeks and my seeds have niether sprouted, nor rotted...?
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Safer's End-All contains canola oil. According to this document,
    Olive oil may have a similar effect. The pest in question may be springtails. If so, they're more a nuisance than a danger to the plant.

    squirrelmaniac, star fruit seeds germinated in 28 days for me. (A new thread should be started for a new topic.)
     
  10. violetbaby123

    violetbaby123 Member

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    http://lancaster.unl.edu/enviro/pest/Nebline/Springtails.htm

    Actually, when I read the post, I thought of springtails first. Maybe check this site, and see if it clenches the description. Good thing would be that even though you probably don't want these pests in your plants, they are harmless.
     
  11. squirrelmaniac

    squirrelmaniac Active Member

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    Yes, it is a bit odd that your bugs can jump...i dont think i've ever noticed that on any around here. (Maine, USA)
     
  12. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    Are you sure they're harmless, because squirrelmaniac seemed to say they were very harmful, and i got to say that i have quite a lot of them, and i'm pretty worried, because if they are harmful my tree is in big trouble. I didn't notice any damage so far, so hopefully you're right.

    Anyway, I'll try the soap and oil water to get ride of them.

    Thanks for your help guys. I'll let you know what's the result and if anybody has an experience to share or more informations about these bugs, don't hesitate to let us know.

    Thanks again

    Gwenn
     
  13. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I don't doubt that it helps and would probably even kill by a very similar process since oil has a very low surface tension and will "wet" most any surface. Just a guess, but it may help just due to the fact that it floats on water and may help keep the water from drying out. I have been using soapy water to kill wasp for many year (my neighbors wouldn't believe it till they saw it)-- occasionally one would survive the initial contact and crawl up on something --fanning their wings to try and dry out. If I didn't hit them with a second shot, sometimes they would make it.
     
  14. squirrelmaniac

    squirrelmaniac Active Member

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    When i first got into growing citrus, i thought the little bugs in my soil were harmless, and i lost a lot of seedlings tot hem 'till i figured out what was going on. We dont know that your bugs are the same type, but it's probably best to get rid of them, just in case.

    -Kevin
     
  15. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    He,

    I tried the mix with oil and detergent last week end but i still have bugs, maybe less but they are still here.

    Should i do it again? Isn't the mix dangerous for the plant?
     
  16. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I do not know about the oil--- it may have some negative effect on the roots, but the detergent has been shown to actually enhance growth (I saw this in a high school science fair). The bugs that are still there may have been eggs when you applied the first dose.

    Skeet
     
  17. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    Thanks, i'll make a mix without the oil then, hopefully, that will kill the rest of the bugs.

    Thanks again.

    Gwenn
     
  18. squirrelmaniac

    squirrelmaniac Active Member

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    Make sure the mix is good and soapy- lots of suds. Also, make sure you saturate the soil very well.I had to do this to all my tangerines a few weeks ago-works wonders!
     
  19. gwenn

    gwenn Active Member

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    Thanks for all the advices.

    I did like you said ans it looks like it worked. I'll be more sure in a couple weeks.

    Thanks again.

    Gwenn
     

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