I've got a small indoor container garden, with a variety of herbs, a couple of flowers, and a couple of succulents. A while ago, we noticed very small white insects moving around on my morning glories. I checked other plants and didn't notice any bugs, so I moved the morning glories out into the snow.

Recently we've noticed a few bugs on one of the succulents, and I'm concerned that they might be spreading through the other plants. Most people seem to suggest a spray of soap and water followed by hosing them down, but we can't really do that inside our apartment.

The bugs are too small for me to get a photo, but they don't fly or jump if I shake the leaf they're on- just crawl around fairly slowly (a few seconds to move an inch), so I don't think they're whiteflies, but I also don't know what they are.

What are other good pest-management practices for this type of insect indoors? I am not an organic gardener or opposed to pesticides.

  • 1
    Regarding the "can't do that indoors"-part: Are you sure? I successfully did that in the shower before, got rid of quite some bugs on my pepper plants :-)
    – anderas
    Mar 3, 2015 at 13:50
  • The only point I'd "wash off" the insecticidal soap (plain brown old-fashioned laundry soap is also an option, and/or the base of many pricier products) would be before eating the plants. Never had a problem leaving it in place on the plants.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


It sounds like they're probably whitefly nymphs - these are 'baby' whitefly and are wingless. As the plants are edible, I wouldn't recommend any proper pesticide - you can try insecticidal soap, or neem oil spray, but you'd need to keep repeating treatments, probably.

  • Neem oil's what I was going to recommend also. Funny there are whitefly nymphs and no sign of adults at all.
    – J. Musser
    Mar 3, 2015 at 22:38
  • @J.Musser - true, but without seeing the problem, I can't think of a single other thing it might be.
    – Bamboo
    Mar 4, 2015 at 12:51
  • Wasn't meant as a counter, Bamboo. I agree, just thought it seemed weird...
    – J. Musser
    Mar 4, 2015 at 21:17
  • I noticed a couple of fruitflies today- definitely black bodies, though... could that be related? I haven't seen them before, in that area of the house or elsewhere. Mar 5, 2015 at 1:18
  • 1
    @TomBrendlinger - not connected to these white bodies, no. Sure they're not fungus gnats, if they're hanging round your plants? Fruit flies sometimes do inhabit plant pots, if the compost is full of organic material, but fungus gnats breed in the compost, specially if its quite wet a lot of the time. Fruit flies are also attracted by things like wine bottles with a few drops of wine in the bottom, left open, or ripening/fermenting fruit, so depends where you're seeing these flies.
    – Bamboo
    Mar 5, 2015 at 12:47

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