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I have a lemon tree cutting put in a paper cup wrapped in a plastic bag to contain the moisture. Everything looks good but when I lifted the cup, I saw these creepy insects.

The climate in my area is hot. It is summer here in the Philippines.

What are they called and what is the best way of eliminating them?

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It looks like springtails (Collembola sp.), although it's a bit difficult to assess from the picture.

I often find them in my papyruses, and I like to think that they play a beneficial part of the small eco-system. They don't do the plants any harm.

  • I associate spring tails with a lifestyle close to soil with high organic matter. In tropical areas they might live different places. – kevinsky Apr 26 '16 at 10:41
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I have no idea what type of bug that is, but if you determine that it's detrimental to the plant and you need to get rid of it, the safest thing to use is diatomaceous earth. It kills bugs with hard exoskeletons by microscopically puncturing their shells and dehydrating them. It does no harm to animals or plants without exoskeletons. In fact some farmers in the US will feed it to their animals in the thoughts that it helps get rid of intestinal parasites. I even read that some people consume it for the same purpose. I have no idea whether that's legit, because as I said, it's only supposed to work on hard exoskeleton and air to dry it out. Either way, it's a great substance. You can also shoot it into hard to get to places in your house and as long as it doesn't get wet or blow away, it'll continue killing bugs in your house.

If you can't find that, then I used straight rubbing alcohol. I had it in a small spray bottle for cleaning my cutting tools. I sprayed a Sarracenia with it to kill some aphids. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and then thoroughly hosed it off with water. It didn't seem to harm the plant at all and it went gangbusters that year.

On that note. The first thing I'd try is just putting it in the sink and blasting it with straight water. There is a good chance you'll knock most of the bugs off that way.

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