These are white flies. Wash your plants with mild soap and water will kill most of the larva. So you may have to do it more than once. Do this before you bring the plants in for the winter and you will have fewer flys in side. You can get chemical sprays and liquids that work but are MUCH more toxic. Give them a bath first and see if that doesn't cure your problem.
I agree that they might be whiteflies, if they are pure white and tiny. If so I WOULD buy the "toxic" stuff and spray the whole plant and then leave the area for a while. You will NOT get rid of whitefly by washing your plant...as soon as you move the plant all the adults fly away to sit and wait until the clean plant is brought back to the same place. Spray with Trounce or hang squares of shirt cardboard painted with Tanglefoot or any other yellow sticky substance to get rid of them. Whiteflies take 14 days to go from eggs to adult. The excretment (poop) from the whitefly is black and is usually under the leaf.
When you say "little bugs" you may not have whitefly. Are your bugs black and like a fruit fly that is very thin? Then you would have fungus gnats, that lay their eggs on the soil and it's the larvae that eat the roots of your plants... but the adults are harmless, just annoying when they fly around. There is a white powder (that you can find at the local garden shop) that you sprinkle on the top of the soil that kills the gnats as they emerge from the soil or as they land on the soil to lay their eggs.
I also would recommend really cleaning ("sterilizing") your plants before you bring them in for the winter. In the fall I had sprayed each planter with a "toxic chemical" just outside the front door and then about 15 minutes later brought my now sterilized plants in for the winter (that way I didn't have to smell the fumes from the chemical). This year I have had not a bug in the house anywhere, and I had brought about 30 assorted planters inside. (02/01/2005)
I used to find bugs in my potted plants after i bought them in for the winter, too. But i read that filling a spray bottle with water and dish detergent and spraying the plant, the soil and the stems of the plants works great. Used to freak me out to see the bugs, now. I just get out the spray bottle, fill it with water and a little dish detergent. Spray and leave them alone to die.
by Patricia J.
I find that putting 1/4 inch of sand around the soil of the plant keeps the adults from laying eggs in the wet soil. sand drys out fast and kills whatever eggs are left.
If you know a plant has these little critters, you can place plant pot and all in a clear garbage bag with a no pest strip. Tie the top and wait 24-48 hours, its not organic but the no pest strip is in the garbage bag. Not in or on your plants. (02/05/2005)
Lot's of good advice here but I have also heard of using warm water mixed with a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap and spraying it all over the leaves and soil of the plants, with a repeat every couple of days till the pesky bugs are gone. Has anyone else heard of that? Would love to hear your in-put. (03/28/2007)
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