Tiny white bugs in the soil

Tiny white bugs in the soil – what are they?

If you have discovered very tiny small bugs in your yard, this post should be of interest to you. In it, you will know what the tiny bugs are, what causes them, how to get rid of them, and other important information about them.

What are the tiny white bugs in soil?

The tiny white bugs you are seeing in your soil, vegetables, flowers, lawn, or yard are most likely soil mites. And while you may have just discovered them today, just know that you most likely already have a soil mite infestation in your yard. It is something you need to address right now.

Soil mites are not very easy to see. However, if you look at them closely, they look like very small spiders or ticks and are white. They like living in the soil but they can also be found on plants, flowers, vegetables, and so on.

Several types of soil mites exist. Most of them, including the common oribatid soil mite, are attracted to decaying matter. And while seeing them may creep you out, they are not harmful to plants, humans, or pets. However, they often multiply quickly and can make your garden look a bit unwelcoming to you and pollinating insects.

What attracts soil mites to an area?

Soil mites often magically appear in any place where they can eat good food (decaying plant matter). They also magically appear in topsoil, potting soil, and compost. This is because there is plenty of food for them in these places.

The best way to permanently get rid of soil mites in your soil is to remove their source of food. So if you have soil mites, you should start clearing all decaying organic matter or compost. 

Are soil mites the same as spider mites?

No, they are not. The two insects are very different. 

First, soil mites are considered to be beneficial insects. This is because they do not attack plants. They only eat dead and decaying plant matter and, therefore, help improve topsoil. In contrast, spider mites eat live plants. They feed on the sap and veins of live plants. This makes them pests. 

Second, in terms of where they live, soil mites can only be found in the ground. In contrast, spider mites can be found on plant surfaces and often leave silky webbing, which is why they are called spider mites.

Third, in terms of effects on plants, soil mites can live next to plants for a very long time without affecting them. In contrast, spider mites almost always kill the plants they attack if they are not stopped early enough using a good pesticide/insecticide.

Can soil mites affect plants in any way?

No, they cannot. As explained earlier, soil mites are not pests. They do not attack plants or cause them any harm. They only feed on dead organic matter. However, you or anyone else can feel the need to eliminate soil mites in your garden because they can become a nuisance when they multiply quickly as they usually do.

Methods to help you get rid of soil mites if you want to are explained after the section below. 

Are soil mite bites dangerous?

No, it is not because soil mites do not bite. No study shows that soil mite bite humans or cause them any sort of harm. The insects are virtually harmless to both humans and animals. 

Despite their scary tick-like appearance, you’ve got nothing to worry about when you encounter soil mites. They only eat dead plant or insect matter. 

How can you control soil mites?

Your garden’s ecosystem is balanced or nearly-balanced if you are taking good care of it, and gardening the right way using the best advice and recommendations. Although soil mites are harmless, if you let them be, you could witness an infestation, which could negatively affect the balance of your garden’s ecosystem. 

So when you notice soil mites, it is best you attack them first before they attack your garden. If you let them attack you first in a big way, you could end up having to spend a lot of energy or money to stop them.

Below are some of the best ways to stop soil mites. 

  1. Insecticide. You can buy a general-purpose insecticide from Amazon or anywhere else and use it to get rid of soil mites. However, you should only do this as a last resort or if you want very fast results. This is because insecticides and pesticides have chemicals that kill insects/ pests indiscriminately without sparing beneficial insects/microorganisms.
  2. Minimal watering. You should only give the plants in your garden or yard, enough water to survive. Do not overwater them. If you do, your actions will lead to the presence of more decaying matter in the soil (aka more food for soil mites). So only give your plants enough water and do everything to ensure the soil in your garden is well aerated.
  3. Closing your compost heap. Since soil mites like decaying matter, they are typically found in and around compost heaps as they can find food there. However, by closing your compost heap and only opening it occasionally and briefly, you can prevent soil mites in it from spreading to the rest of your garden or farm.
  4. Clearing. When you get attacked by soil mites, your number one priority should be to clear and clean your garden. This is because soil mites are attracted by decaying matter. So if they are in your garden, there must be plenty of food for them somewhere. So make sure you get rid of all decaying matter in your garden to get rid of mites. 
  5. Hot water. This is probably the most pleasing way to get rid of soil mites. You simply need to boil a lot of water and pour it directly on soil mite colonies. They will die instantly. Once you do this several times, you kill both adult and young soil mites and end their infestation of your garden. 
  6. Dish soap. You can use dish soap to make a mite-killing solution. There are many videos explaining how to go about this online. Once you make the solution, you need to put it in a spray bottle and spray on every soil mite you can see and their hiding places. 

The final word

You now know what those white bugs in your garden are. You also know what they do and what they don’t do. In case, they are a nuisance, you now also know how to get rid of them. Remember, those tiny white bugs in the soil could be harmless but they can make your garden unpleasant. So do not hesitate to eliminate them quickly when you discover them in your garden.