Small white bugs, fast crawlers in soil, please help ID...

14 years ago

Hi guys, I really need some help here identifying these bugs in the soil of one of my serissas. I'm about to put an automatic irrigation system with some of my bonsai trees all in one tub, and I don't want the infestation to spread into the other trees that are doing fine.

The infestation is so bad that when I repot (which I have done twice), I am tempted to just simply throw the plant away.

Any help identifying, so that I can treat and kill them all would be appreciated!

Insect Description: Multi-legged, allowing it to move pretty fast for its size

Size: less than 1 mm long

Color: Appear to be white when you lift the soil. On paper, they have a very light amber color. Not very transparent or translucent.

Mobility: They tend to show up when the soil is disturbed, otherwise, they stay inside the soil. There are NO flying insects (not fungus gnats or white flies), NOR do these jump (not springtails...or not the seeing variety). They like to stay in the soil near the roots.

Symptoms: Not very obvious, but stunted growth in leaves is obvious (compared to my other serissa which is growing healthy leaves). The leaves are very green and healthy colored, but some are curled or abnormally shaped (some even slightly wavy or oddly thin). Foilage is also more likely to stay small and grow in tight messy clumps instead of expanding into full, stretched out leaves. Fine roots do not appear to be affect nor galled. The root system is not as spread out as it should be though for a bonsai its size.

Attempted treatments: Used neem oil for a week or two with no effect, did not seem to respond to this treatment. Tried pryethins. When I repotted the last time, I even soaked the roots in pryethins and neem oil. Well, a month later and they are back.

Soil and Watering: The plant isn't overwatered, and is usually watered once the top inch is fairly dry. Soil is a chiefly inorganic coarse mix of shale, volcanic rock, and some bark. The plant is kept indoors under decent air circulation.

I think that's a fairly complete description, but if you have any questions, please ask!

Any ideas? I'm desperate and once the irrigation system is up. I'm going to have to make a decision about what to do with the plant if the infestation isn't eradicated.



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