Possible root aphids

Recently transplanted 6 plants outdoors into fabric containers with potting soil from Lowes. Within a few days, these were jumping around the dirt. They just look like tiny little beads to the naked eye.

Is there any chance of saving these plants? Did they come from the bagged potting soil?

I have sprayed with neem oil a few times which is maybe helping a little but not getting rid of them. Tomatoes are deteriorating.

A couple more photos:



They were only in the soil until recently. Seeing a few on the foliage the last day or two.

  • 1
    Can you add a picture of the tomato plants? I don't recognize that pest, though! It doesn't look or sound like an aphid, to me (aphids can sometimes fly, but they don't jump). What part of the world are you in? May 26, 2021 at 22:11
  • @Brōtsyorfuzthrāx We ended up cutting our losses with the tomato plants as their leaves/branches were inexplicably dying out, similar to damage caused by root aphids. We ultimately ended up drenching the remaining soil with neem oil / insecticidal soap, letting it dry, and planting new plants. So far so good, and the bugs are gone. (Now we just have regular soil mites, which seems fine.)
    – John M.
    Jun 2, 2021 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


I can not tell from the pictures what you are asking about. If the leaves are not getting holes in them or otherwise showing signs of damage it may not be a problem at all. There are many bugs in the soil and in the environment which will crawl on plants but will not significantly damage them. And then there are some bugs which do slight damage but the plant will survive if left alone as long as the rest of the conditions are acceptable.

Neem may be doing damage to the plant too.

So my advice is to just make sure the plants are getting enough sunlight and water and see how they do. Tomatoes are normally pretty strong growers once they get going so just give them some time and see what happens.

  • Dead center of the image, the only thing in focus, yellow with black eyes. The plant was seeing damage similar to that caused by root aphids. We used a neem oil drench to get rid of the bugs.
    – John M.
    Jun 2, 2021 at 15:17

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