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Question
Hello, I have many different plants including several types of Ivy, Vinca vine, Peace lilies, Delphiniums and Spider plants. I also recently started Morning Glory seedlings. In almost all of my plants I have little black bugs that fly around them. If I knock on the pot they come up from the soil. I tried washing the plant roots and  found no larvae or infestation in the roots. I re-potted but sill have these pests! I am at a loss as too what these bugs are. Almost all of my plants are starting to look sickly. I've researched online but they don't seem to fit anything I've found. The only other problem with my plants is that they seem to stay damp even if only water every other week! (Using Hydroponics potting mix) Please help!

Answer
Holly,

These sound like fungus gnats (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/fungus_gnat.html for a drawing). The larvae feed on roots which would account for the lack of vigour and water uptake. Generally these occur when the soil is too wet.

Jack DeAngelis

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Organizations
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

Awards and Honors
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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