What are These Tiny White Bugs in Soil? +Other Things You Need to Know Now

Your garden can surprise you in so many ways. You can see blooms you did not predict, unexpected plant hybrids and even unwarranted visitors. It is somehow understandable for people to ask about the tiny white bugs in soil they saw perhaps in their compost.

Today, we will check if we should get worried with them or not.


Soil 101

To be a successful farmer, one must first know the nature of the soil. – Xenophon

We are aware that the soil does not only contain rock sediments and nutrients but also life forms in different shapes and sizes. We have discussed its layering as well and how possible it is for gardeners to actually imitate nature and build soils.

​I understand, nonetheless, that sometimes the presence of new creatures such as tiny white bugs can make us wonder and even anxious.

Tiny White Bugs in Soil

The problem people encounter is that these bugs may belong to different animal kingdoms. So it is very important that you know how to classify them accordingly.

Look at them closely. Make use of a magnifying glass if you need to just to be able to see their characteristics. You should also be able to identify which part of the plant they are really staying. Is it on the leaves? Stems? Or Soil? From there, you would be able to know if they are soil mites, spider mites, root maggots, or fungus gnat larvae.


You can see them lurking at the soil part because they enjoy it when they thrive in the roots of the plants. You can, however, see some of them pooling at the leaves and stems.

They are also called as plant lice and their population can grow very fast. They are often invisible just like your russet mites

Fungus Gnat Larvae

These little bug-like creatures loves staying on soil surfaces that are damp. You should not allow them to stay long with your plants because they consume the roots and get the nutrients of the plants. Eventually, the health of the plant will deteriorate and there is a huge probability that it can die in the long run.

The larvae have black shiny heads and do not have legs. They are yellow-white in color and they become dark as they grow old.

Root Maggots

This kind of species love staying at the roots of plants bearing fruits and vegetables. Although minute, these are sometimes considered as pests. They can deform the fruit, make the growth process of the fruit abnormal, and predisposes the plant to diseases.

The larvae of these maggots look like a common housefly. They are color yellowish-white. You can commonly see them in soils where you plant broccoli, cabbage, chayote, onions, and turnips.

Soil mites

They appear as little dots moving around the soil area. They are considered beneficial and a good part of the plant’s ecosystem. They do not bring any danger to the plants. They feed on decaying matters, hence, compost is the best habitat for them.

There are different classifications of soil mites such as worm bin mites and oribatid mites.

Getting Rid​

The saliency of assessing the bug correctly is irrefutable. If you fail to identify the mites, you will not be able to tell what kind of bug they really are. However, as a rule of the thumb, if you cannot properly describe them, you might want to check out how your plants are doing. If they seem untouched, then these creepy crawlers can stay as long as they want.

On the other hand, if you see some changes in your plant or if you positively identified them as pests, you have to eradicate them as soon as possible. There are different techniques you can make use of:

  1. You can use pesticide accordingly. This, however, will not be a good idea if you are growing an organic garden. But if not, there are many commercially prepared mixtures available in the market. You can also do your own concoction alternatively.
  2. For organic gardens, on the other hand, sticking with the traditional homemade barriers, garden fabrics, row covers, plant collars and sticky traps can help you. Neems and beneficial insects can also control some bugs.
  3. Hot pepper, wood ashes, and diatomaceous soil can keep away flies.


Bugs are not really pleasing to the eyes even if they are actually beneficial. They can cause anxiety that is why you have to know how to properly label them.

I hope this guide made things clearer for you. If you have any techniques on how to identify tiny white bugs in soil please feel free to share your experience or ideas in the comment box below!


  1. https://garden.org/learn/library/pests/bugmugs/
  2. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/soil-mites-info.htm
  3. htmhttps://www.gardeners.com/how-to/root-maggot/5312.html

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