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Please help me identify these patches of tiny white bugs that appeared all over the soil of my raised bed.
I suspect their size to be in the 0.2-0.8 mm range

There are also some tiny sub-millimetre sized bugs that crawl, and some that jump like fleas. I wasn't able to figure out if they are from the same animal or an entirely different species.

An ant colony has found a new home in my raised bed as well. I've been able to control the them somewhat by keeping the soil moist.

I grow various kinds of herbs as well as salad and cucumber.

What species are these bugs?
Is the ant "problem" correlated with these bugs?
Should I get rid of them?
If yes, how?

Close up image:

Close up

Bug patches

enter image description here

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  • What zone? Do you see them eating anything?
    – Citizen
    Jun 4, 2021 at 20:48
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    I haven't seen them eat anything. Two of my cucumber seedlings died because something nibbled at their leaves. Also, something is eating the Basil leaves. I suspect some larger animal to be the culprit here though. I suspect you're asking for my climate zone? I'm located in Germany.
    – jottr
    Jun 4, 2021 at 20:50
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    Yes, it can help with identification: gardenia.net/guide/european-hardiness-zones
    – Citizen
    Jun 4, 2021 at 20:59
  • Can you send a closeup shot of the largest looking one? Looking for distinct features. They kinda look like flower thrips.
    – Citizen
    Jun 4, 2021 at 21:01
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    I will try to take better close ups tomorrow.
    – jottr
    Jun 4, 2021 at 21:13

2 Answers 2

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These are springtails (Collembola) and are completely harmless. They are soil dwelling invertebrates and live of dead plant material and graze from fungus that grows on dead material. Although they have 6 legs, they are technically not real insects. Instead of wings they have a furca which is the jumping device they have under the tail. From an evolutionary point of view they are placed in between the real insects and the crustaceans (like woodlice and shrimps). They like a moist environment, and that could explain why you got so many of them now.

So again, they are harmless and actually beneficial for the soil. So there is no need to get rid of them.

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The ones on your photo specifically, are called Folsomia Candida, one of the Isotomidae family of the Collembola (Springtails). (There are 1936 species of Collembola).

They do not seem to cause harm; mostly eat fungus, mould, and plant decay. When the soil it too humid, it facilitates rot and decay, which attracts them.

In plant pots you can often notice them when you water the plant, and there's a layer of water atop the soil; on/in the water you will see the white springtails. They can jump, and in that way spread to neighbouring pots.

Unfortunately, when they appear in plant pots, they begin to multiply very fast (especially given the right humid conditions). The organic material they feed on can become insufficient for them, and they move onto the healthy parts of the plant - the leaves, the stem, and often the roots as well. If the infestation is extensive, the plant could die in a matter of weeks.

Damage I've noticed:

  • damaged leaves,
  • withered stems,
  • dry plant parts.

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Some useful links with more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsomia_candida https://treehouse.co/us/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-springtails-everything-about-springtails-in-soil.html https://www.ukhouseplants.com/pests/springtails https://extension.umn.edu/nuisance-insects/springtails https://naturallist.com/get-rid-of-springtails-in-the-soil/

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