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Hello everybody. I hope some bug expert can determine what these are. My system is brand new. Maybe a month with fishes and plants. Maybe two months.

The whole system is infested with these. Even the outside of my 275 gallon fish tank you can find them crawling around. My system is outside in the open.

Can someone tell me if they are aphids or larva? There are so many of them I would need an army of lady bugs to eat them all.  I really dont want to get into spraying chemicals on my food. Any help would be much appreciated.


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Man I tried and tried to get a good pic of them today.  They are soo damn small to get it to focus (even my $700 camera).  I played with them with a needle (they do have lil feet and the even smaller ones move like larva). I messed with them on the leaves.  They just rolled off into the net pots. I stared at them while I was on lunch. Never saw a sign of them opening their backs and showing me any wings.

They do like my lettuce the most. Im gonna go try to take a video of them. Maybe I can get a pic without all the sun.

Jon, why do you hate rock wool? I just started using it.  I started out with suretogrow (So far better then rock wool and hydroton).  Hydroton is just pissing me off working with it.  Too light, too hard to get it to position in the net pot while trying to transplant my sprouting babies.

BTW. I have been taking my plates out of the dwc and dunking them in the fish tank, Rubbing the leaves. Seems to help but when you infected your infected.

Steve, do you have a good magnifying glass? (If not you should probably get one, believe me...your gonna need it buddy :)

My bad I thought you said in another post that you noticed one had wings on his back...Most Thrips have wings like crazy wet spiky chicken feathers...real specific...but really small, as in you almost need (one of those crappy) microscopes small...

It's too bad they didn't jump away...I guess the main thing now is to figure out...are they dining on your leaves, or are they dining on the moldy micro fungal crap thats growing on your leaves? (if the later is the case, I blame the rockwool for your mold/fungus problems, this may not be entirely fair as there are other forces at play though). But...

Man, I fucking hate rockwool...nothin but trouble (to me)...Way too friggin moist, too much capillary action. It's heaven for oomycetes like Pythium (Damping Off disease), it's pH is goofy, so you have to pre-treat the water for your seeldings...Hope you never have to work with a large quantity of the stuff...Wear a dust mask...not very sustainable either...Jon probably has his own reasons for not liking the stuff though....

I've had great success just starting seeds in net-pots with hydroton (I ran many many 'experiments' with just about all the 'classic' hydro materials in existence and found that plain 'ol hydroton works as well, or better than any other material or combination of materials within the same net-pot...I also think the air to water retention is great for newly developing root reason to transplant long as it's pre soaked a bit, the seeds pretty much fall to the depth they need to and subsequent moisture keeps them there...ok every once in a while you'll get one that still falls through the cracks...

Ok I'm cheap, I've never bought hydroton.

I'm also lazy.  I know me, I won't go out and water seedlings several times a day to get them to germinate.

So here is a blog post showing how I've managed to germinate seeds directly in my "net pots" (yea I was too cheap to buy those too) net pots or cups with wicks

Just added some more pics. I made a video too.

Yeah man I got a magnifying glass. Its kinda beat up from the kids playing with it. I tried to take a pic thru it. Yeah right...


yep, I'm still holding with thrips, here is a photo of several  stages of life:

Vlad covered my griefs with rockwool; poor aeration and need for acid bath to prep, just never had good luck with it.  I like sur-to-grow, but it tends to mold on top.  And I side with TC on being cheap and lazy.  I just use screened and washed gravel for growbeds, lava rock for net pots (or yogurt cups, TC), loose compost for seedlings, and nothing but water through a sprayer for aeroponic cloning.

No way man (as Bart would say)  Fungus gnats look like tiny clear maggots.  I noticed those critters can move quick, another ID for thrips.

These are fungus gnats on a 1mm grid:

Save your ladybug money.  This place sells predator nematodes:

And a quote from that site: "About 1/16" long, thrips can move quite quickly for their size. Many gardeners report thrips as a small "worm with legs". Larvae and adults look similar, but adults have wings and can fly. "

Nah they do not look like gnats.  No black head. Not clear at all.

They are yellow and when I look really close they look like a tiny bug.  I saw ONE time on one of those bugs what look like it lifted its back to clean its wings. But I have never saw any of them do it again nor seen one fly. 

Too late on the lady bugs. $9 bucks for 1500 of them. I bout mantis too.  I was looking at the nematodes but was not sure if they go all around the ground/soil or would I put then in the beds?

Yeah I'd have to go with Thrips that are in there second pupal instar phase... Apparently these things do not go through a complete stage of metamorphosis, only might notice (if your around) them stop feeding or moving much...after that happens they will emerge with wing buds (sound like might have you've seen ONE at that stage (or later stage even) already, they're not yet adults at that stage but are developing along...

Don't harbor any fantasy hope that Ladybugs will do you any good (sorry)...It would seem 'conventional' wisdom gives you two types of options. Each of these options contains a choice of more sub-options...

Parasitic fungus or, biological (predatory) control.  (But be sure to look into Jons predatory nematodes as well).

On the fungus side you have... Beauveria bassiana and Verticillium lacanii

On biological control through predation you have...

Aphid Wasps (Trichogrammatidae), some other stuff I'll skip...and go right to whats becoming my personal favorite predatory mite (I'm ordering my first batch for the new greenhouse as part of a prevention program)


These hungry little buggers are good for a number common greenhouse pests including your (well what we think are) well as the bane of my food growing existence, Red Spider Mites...

And it seems like any place that sells that sort of thing will carry Phytoseiid predatory they should be easy to buy...

I personally like the whole potential for Sci-Fi, B-movie atmosphere that comes with using the parasitic fungus... not to mention the fact that Beauveria bassiana should take care of many, many, MANY species of pests, apparently within days of exposure (through white muscardine disease)...probably quicker, and has a way broader range of targets than predatory mites/wasps...

Of coarse you could just do nothing and hope that as soon as they grow wings the wind will carry them off to some other place because you're a pretty cool guy and the Universe 'owes you one'. 

Thanks for that, Vlad. One potential glitch with the parasitic fungi, though;

"Environmental safety is good. These products are generally non-toxic to beneficial insects, however, applications to areas where bees are actively foraging should be avoided. Beauveria products should not be applied to water, as they are potentially toxic to fish."
I know BT is fish safe, curious why beauveria bassiana isn't.

Yea, and the universe owes me some whitefly control, too. P-)

Well, when’s the last time you saw a Sci-Fi B-Movie where the plan came off without a hitch? 

Bees…Sure they’re responsible for the proliferation of good majority of plant life (and therefore all life)  here on the planet…but really, what have they done for us lately?

Man, I hate it when manufacturers say stuff like “potentially” I never know exactly whether to, and under what circumstances to worry (or not... are they just avoiding "potential" litigation, or no?) A table spoon of tap water is “potentially” lethal to me, but only if it goes down the wrong tube…Anyways, it’s probably just best to avoid the

B. bassiana I suppose unless someone can shed more light on the fish side, and/or you have a bunch of killer bees buzzing around…

@Randall...Steve pretty much ruled out springtails with the 'threatening needle trick'...they didn't spring away...and he alluded to seeing wings on one of them. Springtails don't have wings...

Jon Parr said:

Thanks for that, Vlad. One potential glitch with the parasitic fungi, though;

"Environmental safety is good. These products are generally non-toxic to beneficial insects, however, applications to areas where bees are actively foraging should be avoided. Beauveria products should not be applied to water, as they are potentially toxic to fish."
I know BT is fish safe, curious why beauveria bassiana isn't.

Yea, and the universe owes me some whitefly control, too. P-)
Yes, Vlad, I hate the term potential too. I can't guess what a parasitic bug fungus would do to a fish, especially since it is primarily found in soil in nature, which means it is constantly being washed into wild waterways. That's why it is so effective against non-soil plant pests, as most of them have no defense. I'm going to try some anyway, because I believe it will "potentially" put the hurt on white flies and mites.

So, you've got red mites, eh?  Thank goodness I only have two-spot mites (not that they are any better). 

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