They are very small and look like the earliest stages of thrip larva, but I have never seen an adult thrip, even though I see these guys often, so I don't think that's what they are. They walk on legs and have antennas. I find them in the bottom of tropical plant pots inside, and also in the bottom of veggie pots on the balcony in the summer. They do harm the plants where they live (slow unhealthy growth).

Edited to add more details:
The biggest ones are only 2mm long, which is why it's so hard to get a good picture. They start much smaller, and there can be hundreds of tiny dots/threads in the bits of liquid in the tray under the pot. They have 6 legs, and can jump when trying to avoid a stream of water. They are slightly off-white compared to a pure white piece of paper. They are somewhat bulbous like thrip larva, and they can be a bit transparent.

What are they, and how should I get rid of them?


enter image description here

  • 1
    Its hard to get an idea of scale or size of these from your image - what's the average length, and how many legs do they have? Do they look very white even on a piece of white paper, or slightly off white/cream? Any markings on the body (you may need a magnifying glass to tell)?
    – Bamboo
    Feb 20, 2022 at 14:49
  • Thanks Bamboo, I added more details to the original post to answer these questions. Any ideas you have would be much appreciated!
    – Animik
    Feb 21, 2022 at 11:26
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    Someone else has posted what I was going to say - here's another link to info about them and how to deal with them gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/…
    – Bamboo
    Feb 21, 2022 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


I suggest that they are immature symphyla who are also known as garden centipedes. They have six legs and feed on organic matter. They should be harmless to a vigorously growing plant but can be controlled with a solution of 5 ml dish soap to 1 litre of water. Pour the solution through, wait a few minutes, rinse with water. Repeat in five to seven days at least twice.

They are not thrip as the adults are the size of an exclamation point ! The young live tunnel inside the leaves of plants which shows as silvery trails. The most prominent part of a thrip infestation is the black dots or frass that is also visible on the underside of the leaf

  • Thanks kevinskio, that's an interesting idea. I've been seeing these guys since last spring, though, and I have never seen them bigger than 2mm with 6 legs.
    – Animik
    Feb 21, 2022 at 23:25

I think they might be a type of springtail.

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