I live in a mild climate area and occasionally move indoor plants outside or vice versa.

One succulent I brought into my office seems to have a colony of some kind of tiny flies in it. I've been waiting a few weeks hoping they will die out, but they're still climbing all over it. Oh well.

Another potted plant I intend to bring inside has numerous spiders living and hunting in it. In the garden this is fine but I don't want them in the office.

What steps can I take to get harmless but bothersome insects and spiders off a plant before it comes indoors? Will an application of neem oil work?

  • I don't find bugs a problem , but lizards are a nuisance. Oct 5, 2018 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


I'm going to suggest that they are not fruit flies, but more likely fungus gnats. I get them here, in the Northeast US, nearly every time I bring in a plant for the winter. They tend to bring disease/fungus with them. Not sure if this is a symbiotic relationship, but the fungus will attack plant roots. I've lost several plants to them! I've used Neem and I swear I saw them laughing at me... What I have found to work is letting the plant dry as much as possible without causing permanent damage (just a little wilted). When you water the next time, follow that watering with addition of a 1" layer of diatomaceous earth or fine sand. Let the plant dry well before watering, each time. I have read that a 1:4 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide (plain pharmacy peroxide as you would use on a wound) and tap water, may work as well. I've never tried it, so you're on your own, there! Every so often I would tap the side of the planter which makes the gnats fly, and catch them with a hand held vac. Not kidding!:-) After about a month and a few vacuum visits, they should be gone or seriously reduced. Takes work! Good luck!


You might possibly have some sort of fruit flies. They inhabit potted plants that have moist, rich soil. Try letting the soil dry out. Neem oil may help.

Another possibility is to bring the other pot in and see if the spiders catch the files.

Insects generally go where the food/water is, once you remove the food or water source you usually remove the insects.

  • They are not fruit flies if they live in the soil. They are fungus gnats, equally irritating and can be controlled with a soap drench or sticky trap
    – kevinskio
    Oct 5, 2018 at 20:21

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