7 reasons for tiny white & silver bugs in indoor houseplant soil: Get rid of them!

Whether you are an experienced gardener or an amateur just getting the reputation of being a green thumb, the tiny white and silver bugs are always a problem for everyone. They show up on the soil, and those with no idea why this happens might easily get worried and scared for the well-being of their plants.

Luckily, there is an explanation for this situation. Many people living busy city life do not have access to an external garden, and they create their own green space indoors. While some will improvise a corner in their living room, others will completely transform their balconies into a natural environment.

Caring for indoor houseplants is not difficult, but certain unexpected situations can happen. Several people wonder whether houseplants attract bugs, as they are not welcome in any apartment. 

Maybe you wonder the same and are struggling with indoor plant pests identification. Continue reading this article as we present you with 7 reasons for tiny white & silver bugs in indoor houseplant soil. We will explain what they are, where they come from, and how to get rid of them. 

What are the tiny white bugs in houseplant soil?

Suppose you notice tiny white bugs in your houseplant’s soil. In that case, accurately identifying the species you are dealing with is important. If you know what these bugs are, you also know which treatment and solution to apply to get rid of them. There are several species of tiny white bugs, and now we will explain the most common of them.

Mealybugs

mealybug

They feature a silver color which is not always pure white. Their scaled bodies have up to 30 legs, and they are well-known for preferring the warm soil of indoor household plants. The juices and the plant’s foliage are more than enough for them to feed on. Therefore they thrive in humid environments.

If you want to avoid them in the future, taking care of your plants and avoiding overwatering is recommended. Because they are attracted to moist soil, you should always wait long periods of time before watering your plants again. 

Spider mites

While they can range in color from red to brown and green, they are often white but sometimes difficult to notice with the naked eye. Opposite to a mealybug that looks like cotton, these white mites will often prefer dry and arid soil where they can also lay their eggs. 

You can also find them underside of leaves. If you want to avoid them, you should balance the watering sessions of your plants. Too much water can lead to the apparition of mealy bugs, whereas improper watering will attract more spider mites. 

Soil mites

These can be visible only under a microscope. Soil mites identification is not difficult to do, as they feature colors from brown to yellow. However, they also have light shades, which make them appear white. They thrive in wet soils so you will find them less often around succulents and cacti. 

They feed on decomposing plant materials that withered and fell on the soil. Still, they also release the matter as nutrients for the soil. In essence, soil mites can be quite helpful for your indoor houseplants since they convert the fallen materials into compost rich in nutrients. Because they constantly move around the soil and help distribute these nutrients.

Aphids

Gardeners are familiar with this word since these bugs are common houseplant pests. While they are just an inconvenience for an outdoor garden, they can cause a lot of damage to houseplants. These pear-shaped bugs can feature several colors, but they will always have a light shade, making them appear white.

Large and healthy houseplants will not suffer from a mild Aphid infestation. The smaller and more sensible ones will suffer from distorted growth and yellowing of the leaves. It will eventually drop sooner than expected. Spraying your plants with water is an effective solution to get rid of these pests.

Whiteflies

whiteflies

Measuring only 1/16th of an inch in length, these creatures are less common but still worth considering. They can be gray or white in color, and they often feed on the sap produced by your plants. Because they are incredibly small, you might have difficulties spotting them on your plants.

Look for swarms emerging from your plants as soon as you approach them if you want to identify whiteflies. They always leave a black mold behind them, so this indication will be enough to help you accurately identify the species. 

Reasons for tiny white & silver bugs in indoor houseplant soil

While it can be very frustrating to notice white and silver bugs on your indoor houseplants, it is important to acknowledge the reasons and learn why they appear on the soil. With this information, you can prevent future infestations as you know exactly how to predict them. 

Here are the 5 critters we’ll look at:

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Soil mites
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids

Reason #1 – The soil features high levels of humidity

Several bugs are known for thriving in wet and moist environments. Tnt pests identification, continue reading the soil of your houseplants might be perfect if you overwater your plants. Because their bodies are too small, these bugs must keep themselves moist or risk death. 

As you can see, it is natural for them to search for humid environments with high moisture levels. If you want to prevent this problem, it is recommended to follow a strict watering schedule and always monitor the soil of your plants. Overwatering them will leave your soil wet, which will attract several bugs. 

Reason #2 – The climate of your local area matters too

We know that these bugs favor wet and humid environments. The climate in your region will greatly influence their presence. It is more common for them to appear on the coast of Florida rather than in the state of Arizona. The air will have increased humidity if you are close to a large body of water.

The same goes for those living in coastal areas or regions that often see high levels of precipitation. Suppose you do not regulate the indoor environment and keep the humidity levels stable. In that case, these bugs will appear on the soil, and you will have to find solutions to get rid of them. 

Reason #3 – Bugs prefer damp soil for laying eggs

Expert gardeners are familiar with this fact, and now you can also call yourself one. The learning process never stops. Ye soil of your houseplants might be pou should always continue your research and try to learn as much as possible about your problem before looking for a solution. In this situation, it is important to know that these bugs always prefer damp and moist soil for laying their eggs.

When the environment is perfect, they will lay more eggs, and these bugs can multiply at an alarming rate. You should always check the soil and stir it frequently since it is a good hiding place. If you stick to a strict watering schedule, you won’t have to worry about this problem too much.

Reason #4 – Overwatering will always attract these bugs

While your region’s climate has a certain effect on your houseplants, their first and most important environment is in the pot itself. The soil is where their roots are, and that is also where they get the nutrients from. When you don’t follow a balanced watering routine, you will create several problems for your indoor houseplants.

Overwatering them will increase the humidity and make the soil wet. Always let your soil dry between the watering sessions to minimize the risk of bug infestations. Some plants need more water than others, so customize these routines to each plant individually. 

Reason #5 – Sitting water can be a high risk for your plant

While tropical plants thrive in environments with high humidity, a couple of problems can appear from this situation. Usually, the pots that hold your plants are placed on a plate or on a system that allows proper drainage in case of overwatering. 

The water will slowly collect into this plate, and it will remain there for the plant to absorb again at a later time. It reduces the frequency of watering sessions, but it can be a problem if the soil is too moist. When the water remains, pests and bugs will gravitate towards this environment as it is ideal for them. 

Reason #6 – Without proper ventilation, the bugs cannot be eliminated

Bugs and pests prefer moist and wet soils but also thrive in environments that lack air circulation. The bugs that develop wings and move around by flying will have no problem doing so in this environment. However, their flight pattern might be affected if the wind is constantly blowing. Having proper ventilation is also necessary for reducing humidity levels in the soil. 

Therefore, this can be a great solution for getting rid of bugs because it will make the soil dry faster. Because our apartments are not always spacious, we tend to place the plants together in a specific area. When they are too close to each other, the wind won’t be able to blow, and the air circulation is greatly restricted. We recommend you increase the space between them to avoid several problems. 

Reason #7 – Plants don’t like stale air, but bugs do

We never find stale air comfortable, and it can bother us significantly when no fresh air comes into a room. Plants experience the same thing if their environment is not properly ventilated. When there is too much stale air, the bugs that developed wings can fly and easily move around the pots.

An effective solution can be represented by a ceiling fan or the AC, which should be used even during the winter. If you don’t have any ventilation systems in your house, creating a natural one by simply opening the window will be enough. But extreme temperature changes can stress your plants if the external temperature is too cold or hot. 

Best pesticides for indoor plants

If you are dealing with white and tiny bugs in your indoor houseplants, there are several solutions to get rid of them. While the natural ones are quite effective, it will take a long time to see results. Some sensitive plants will not be able to survive during this time, and that’s why you should consider artificial solutions.

These solutions are harmless for your plants but can be highly effective against bugs and pests. The results are almost instantaneous, so you will quickly get rid of the problem with these products. After researching the market, we came up with two of the best pesticides for indoor plants. 

Bonide CAPTAIN JACK’S Neem Oil Ready-To-Use 3-in-1 Insecticide

Suppose you notice tiny bugs crawling in the houseplant soil. In that case, this multi-purpose bug killer is an effective solution for your infestation problem. It can kill most of the species that invade the soil and environment of your indoor houseplants. Once it gets delivered to you, this product is ready to use. You won’t need to dilute it in water or perform any preparation before application. 

The spray nozzle features a safety lock that will prevent unfortunate accidents. Therefore, this product is also safe for kids when stored correctly. Because it contains neem oil, it also kills the eggs and larvae of the insects. It prevents future infestations by altering the environment.

BrandBonide
Item Weight8.9 pounds
Product Dimensions4.63 x 7.5 x 12 inches

Pros

  • We love how this can be used for organic gardening.
  • This container should last you a long time.
  • It doesn’t hurt beneficial insects.
  • You’ll get rid of chewing animals that fight your gardening efforts.

Cons

  • It’s not to be used on bees.
  • Best for smaller plants.
Bonide CAPTAIN JACK'S
2,057 Reviews
Bonide CAPTAIN JACK'S
Here's a great Neem oil product.

Harris Potted Plant Insect Traps for Gnats, Aphids, Whiteflies, and More

Those struggling with gnats, aphids, and whiteflies, particularly, will find this product quite useful. It is a great solution to your problem and is also optimized for indoor houseplants. The package comes with 30 traps included, consisting of 7 stakes that naturally blend with your plants.

While this product is highly efficient and gets rid of bugs quickly, the design is also something to appreciate. The long, green stakes will blend with the leaves and stems of your plants. It will be difficult to distinguish between them.

More than 1,800 customers expressed their satisfaction by leaving a positive review. Most are particularly satisfied with how easy it is to set it up. All you have to do is insert the stakes into the soil, and the bugs will quickly leave the environment. However, it is not recommended to use these traps in wet areas.

Once these traps are full, you can throw them away. Otherwise, you should dispose of them after 3 months. While most products are friendly towards pets and kids, leaving these traps in places where they can access them is not recommended. 

NameInsect Traps for Gnats, Aphids, Whiteflies and More
Item Weight0.317 ounces
ManufacturerHarris
Package Dimensions8.62 x 4.65 x 0.43 inches

Pros

  • You don’t pay a lot per trap.
  • They’re very effective at catching bugs.
  • You’ll find out really quickly if you have a gnat problem.
  • The results are great.

Cons

  • They’re a bit flimsy.
  • They’re very sticky, so you don’t want them getting stuck to things.

Have you made sure to check your plants for these things?

  • Soil humidity levels
  • Eggs in the soil
  • Overwatering
  • Sitting water
  • Proper ventilation

FAQ

Can I spray insecticide on my indoor plants?

You can spray insecticide on any indoor plants as they are designed to be harmless to the plant itself. However, you should avoid direct exposure to the flowers or edible fruits being produced because the chemicals might negatively affect them. 

What is the safest indoor insecticide?

There are many products on the market, but the safest non-toxic insecticides include products from Safer. They create several solutions for infestations in external gardens and indoor houseplants, and experts highly recommend their products. 

Is it normal to have tiny bugs in house plant soil?

There are many reasons why tiny bugs appear in the soil of your houseplant. Still, a wet and moist environment represents the most common one. When you overwater your plants, these bugs will certainly appear and can harm your plants.