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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Invasion of the Unkown Critter

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Post  JackieB999 Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:19 pm

Hi... I dont know what kind of bug I have!

I planted some potatoes in a big bucket, and I remember when I was planting them that inside my cow manure bag there was some yellowish clumps of something, perhaps a fungus. I tossed out a good portion of it, but I'm sure some of it remained in the compost. I wish now I threw the whole bag away, but I'm new to this and thought it was natural.

Everything was fine for a few weeks. Yesterday I noticed some sand/dirt up around the outside rim of the potato bucket. I thought, that's odd, there's no sand around here and I'm sure I didnt splash container when watering.

Upon closer inspection, this was hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny white/yellow critters! They are too small to see what they really look like. I dont think it's an ant, but maybe an aphid from the pictures I found online. I inspected my other plants and they have invaded them also, but the potato bucket appears to be the source.

The thing is, they appear to be coming OUT of the dirt and like hanging out on the outside of the pot and rim.

I bought some EcoFriendly Garden Killer, which is organic Rosemary, Peppermint and Clove oils. I sprayed it and they died on contact. But today they were back in high numbers. Eeeek. I sprayed again. I dont think the spray has any lasting affect and is only good for direct, wet contact. I will see what tomorrow brings.

Has anyone had a similar problem? What do you think they are? Should I treat the potaotes with anything?

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Post  FamilyGardening Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:55 am

can you take a picture of the critters and post it?
that would help us to see what you are talking about Very Happy

happy gardening
rose
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Post  Nymiko Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:49 am

Sounds scary... I'm in Florida too and let me tell you about the variety of critters here. I hear it'll get worst in the summer time. I covered my sfg with a tulle hoop and I still get bugs inside?! Lol
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Post  littlejo Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:39 am

That yellow stuff may have been eggs of some bug! Can you fill the bucket with water, then let it drain? If so, I'd put some dish soap then water the bucket well. Maybe this can at least bring them out.
Jo
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Post  camprn Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:25 am

I recommend to contact your local County Cooperative Extension Service for ID and proper treatment options, if any are needed.

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Post  JackieB999 Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:49 am

Here's a picture of them. They just look like sand, but they move. This was this morning, so I'm on my 3rd day of spraying them. It appears to be a lower count today, but I'm still curious what they are.

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Post  camprn Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:54 am

Yeah, I have no idea. Take your photo and a sample if you can get it and head on over to your County Extension Service. Let us know what they have to say.

http://solutionsforyourlife.com/lawn_and_garden/calendar/#central

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:02 am

I'm no expert but those look just like mites, which come in different colors. If you get a magnifying glass and count the # of legs it will help your extension service person identify it.
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Post  JackieB999 Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:03 am

Well poop. My country extension service is about 20 miles away from me. I know I wont be making that trip anytime soon. Maybe somebody else has seen these? I will try to get a magnifying glass and look closer.
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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:08 am

If they are mites I wouldn't be too concerned as they are a normal part of decomposition. They simply come and go with the food source availability.
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Post  RoOsTeR Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:18 am

JackieB999 wrote:Well poop. My country extension service is about 20 miles away from me. I know I wont be making that trip anytime soon. Maybe somebody else has seen these? I will try to get a magnifying glass and look closer.

Contact your agent. Many times, they will come out to your place. They can answer many questions about your area. Not only about bugs, but other critters, planting times, noxious weeds, grasses, food preservation, etc. They may even provide you with an email address that you can send your photo to.
They are paid with your tax dollars. Don't be afraid to pick their brains a little.

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Post  camprn Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:34 am

llama momma wrote:I'm no expert but those look just like mites, which come in different colors. If you get a magnifying glass and count the # of legs it will help your extension service person identify it.
I didn't think mites, I thought that perhaps they were some various life stage of a bug.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740


I echo calling the Ag Agent. Maybe you can send a sample to the entomologists for ID.

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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:42 am

At one point I had mites in my worm bin. The picture immediately reminded me of those. Smile
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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:47 am

Ooh! Ooh! Check out this site with pictures of compost mites, scroll down for the pictures. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/downloads/pdf/materials/tipsheet-decomposerID.pdf
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Post  Goosegirl Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:08 am

llama momma wrote:Ooh! Ooh! Check out this site with pictures of compost mites, scroll down for the pictures. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/downloads/pdf/materials/tipsheet-decomposerID.pdf

Great factoid sheet! Saved to my 'puter!

GG
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Post  JackieB999 Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:41 pm

Thanks llama... I'm feeling like they're compost mites now too, because of the yellowish clups I found in the cow manure. I will keep spraying them with my organic spray for a few days, and if they keep coming back I will call the CES and see what they have to say. Thanks everyone!
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Post  JackieB999 Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:44 pm

Another strange thing is that they like being on the plastic. There is plenty of dirt/manure right there if they wanted to jump in. Ya know?
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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:51 pm

Worm bin mites like to gather up on top of the plastic lid too. Some kind of social festival I suppose Razz

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Post  camprn Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:23 pm

If you can find the life cycle of said compost mite you may find the answer.... I have never heard of compost mites.............. And if you find some interesting facts about this critter please post for the rest of us.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  FamilyGardening Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:33 pm

llama momma wrote:Worm bin mites like to gather up on top of the plastic lid too. Some kind of social festival I suppose Razz


lol!

smiles

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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:22 pm

camprn wrote:If you can find the life cycle of said compost mite you may find the answer.... I have never heard of compost mites.............. And if you find some interesting facts about this critter please post for the rest of us.

On the other post I offered the link from Cornell. Honestly I'm not terribly interested in the life cycle, but the chart lists 3 types of compost mites if someone wants to google them. All I know is they either eat, and/or become eaten and they are a normal part of the compost process. Cool? Smile

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Post  JackieB999 Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:03 pm

LOL... I got it too, llama! I thought it was cute.

funny post

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Post  llama momma Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:06 pm

Yay! jocolor geek
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Post  cheyannarach Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:01 pm

http://www.happydranch.com/articles/Mite.htm

Compost mites~
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Post  JackieB999 Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:29 pm

Thank you Cheyanne! I think they are those white compost mites. Good to hear that they work themselves out in a few weeks because I was loaded with them again this morning.

One other thing concerns me... it says in that article that if we put melon rind or cut POTATOES around the bin, that the mites will be attracted to that. The thing is... I'm trying to grow potaotes in there... so there are cut potatoes down below. I hope they dont damage the crop Sad
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