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Thread: Insect living in peat moss - what is it?

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    Insect living in peat moss - what is it?

    Hi Peeps,

    We have a thread on the local gardening forum debating what actually is the insect living in peat moss. It is not a mealy bug and smaller than the whitefly. Some think it is a fungus gnat. It is only about 1/10" in size.

    I see lots of them in my seed boxes where I sow my Nepenthes seeds. They also seem to only gather on Ceph rhizomes which are rotting away and leave the good ones alone. Whenever I open the boxes to check on the seeds, they quickly hide back into the peat. My mantid nymphs love them.

    Just what is is this insect?

    TIA
    Cindy

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    Jimmy's Avatar
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    If it's black and has wings, it's probably a fungus gnat. They and their larvae wreak havoc on weakened CPs and are found in decomposing medias - peat moss seems to be their favorite.

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    Chunkyhunks's Avatar
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    Springtail maybe?

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Most likely either fungus gnats larvae or springtails.

    Fungus gnat larvae look like tiny clear-ish maggots.
    (grid is 1mm):
    http://www.carnivorousplants.org/see...GnatLarvae.jpg

    Springtails come in all shapes and colors:

    http://www.collembola.org/
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    If it's fungus gnats try and score a Drosera or Ping to put in the "trouble area" (if it's a terrarium this tactic works good). I used to use the sticky yellow gnat cards but decided why the heck not use a flypaper type CP? It works for me. It won't take care of the larvae but after a while enough adults will get caught there won't be (m/any) more developing and in a month or so the problem should be taken care of.

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. I managed to take a photo of one and although it is rather blur, it is quite obvious that it is a springtail given the proportion of the boby segments. However, it is rather shiny...and has this light bronze colour to it. That's the reason why they look so obvious in the peat.

    Are they harmful to CPs?
    Cindy

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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    Generally springtails are harmless. Mostly they eat dead plant matter.
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

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