Unfortunately, the new potted soil I've bought seems to be heavily infested with insects. Firstly, I have had a fight with fungus gnats. After using parasitic nematodes about 10 days ago, I no longer see them flying around, but there are still a lot of unwanted guests that I see moving around in the pot.

Can you tell what those could be? I live in Central Europe. The pests are quite small (ca. 1 mm in length) and are running quite quickly around the pot. They don't seem to be able to jump around. Unfortunately, due to their size and quite fast movement I was not able to take a good picture, but here are two specimens, marked with red arrows. Could those be the same or different species?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ They might not be insects, but more basal hexapods like springtails. $\endgroup$
    – Aseku Vena
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ Also, they are not necessarily pests. They have a pretty high change of being detritivores that break down waste, not really getting in anything's way and being more helpful than harmful. $\endgroup$
    – Aseku Vena
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


These are a type of hexapod called springtails (Collembola).

enter image description here

Common Soil springtails. Source: UMN Extension

Springtails vary in size, shape, and color, but most are < 6 mm long (as low as ~1 mm) and many tend to be dull white/grey/yellow in color.

Many species are omnivorous soil-dwellers preferring moist and organically-rich soils.

  • You will find them more frequently in over-watered plants.

For reference, I've had concurrent fungus gnat and springtail populations in my house plants before.

According to UMN Extension:

Springtails do not have wings and cannot fly. But they can jump up to several inches using a special forked structure under the abdomen

But these insects would very unlikely survive a jump out of your plant, nor do they want to do so -- they want to be near the moist soil. I would not worry about it. (though you could water less frequently to cause their population to drop if you're concerned -- but these animals are harmless and will often help with the breakdown of the soil or removal of some soil pests depending on species and ecology).


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    $\begingroup$ The variety in sizes in that photo is intriguing. Do you have any idea what that depends on? Is this a species that will continue growing for as long as it has food, perhaps, so larger ones are older? Is it some sort of sexual dimorphism? Something else? $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 16:33

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