Fungus gnats or WINGED ROOT APHIDS???


[This posting edited 3/6/10 - as this is clearly a widespread epidemic and many more are bound to flock to this thread, I have edited the first post to be more manageable and yet comprehensive. The sections are all well labeled so you can easily browse the post for the info you need. Facts/data are labeled with "-" as bulleting, discussion is not.

PLEASE contribute to this thread if you have ANY applicable data to share. It is worth noting that this thread is a combination root-aphid discussion and also phantom "magnesium deficiency" leaf-death forum. If you have one or BOTH of these issues, please contribute information as to your conditions, especially if you had bad problems with one of these issues, figured out a solution and have improved results since. Thank you! - Willie Broheim]

To all those out there with mysterious nutrient "deficiencies" or "toxicity," particularly with symptoms that look like magnesium deficiency:

Please check your medium and (if possible) root system with high-magnification (10X +). If you have "fungus gnats" - find one (dead or alive) and magnify it:

You just MAY have root-aphids, the best kept worst secret of indoor growing.

Discussion of my experience - unaware of the problem (I thought mag-deficiency) not knowing about aphids]:

My experience lately has been the same with my last 6+ grows in two different rooms in my house with multiple different strains and in a number of different mediums (coco, soil, hydro in hydroton, hydro in coco croutons) and with different nutrient lines (Cutting Edge, GH, Canna Coco A&B, Humbolt Master Bloom).

In every case, in each location and with every medium/nutrient line I have the SAME problems either in late veg or early bloom, not long (1-3 weeks) after I put them under HPS light. After they look extremely healthy throughout VEG, I start to see a leaf here and there with random "blotches," generally at or near the leaf edges, then at the tips - patches where the leaf is papery, tan and obviously dead. Then the patches grow larger, progress to all tips of the leaf which often curl (when dead). Then many other leaves start taking on a bit of a sickly look, getting intervenal chlorosis and becoming more translucent and turning a lighter, more sickly green. Then most of the well-established, healthy fan leaves (middle-aged) all start to "get it" and die of progressively, while the plant continues to grow and put out new shoots on the main growth points. When it is really bad, most of the leaves die off before I can even bloom and last time it happened I scrapped the ENTIRE round.

NOTE to ALL: Please post if you have experienced these symptoms. Do you have root aphids? What are your growing conditions? Have you solved or lessened the problem (bloomed well without it happening)? What methods/products have you found effective in treatment?

I have long thought of the problem as a magnesium deficiency and have done EVERYTHING to address it: got an RO unit, used CalMg regularly (trying different CalMg products), added MagAmp (a chelated magnesium product - like better available epsom salts) and backed off on nutrient strength/changed ratios/changed nutrients/used "drip clean" - pretty much everything. - Yet nothing solved my "magnesium deficiency"... which I have recently been made aware was lot more than that!


I have only recently discovered that I have root aphids... I have probably had them for some time now. The little black gnats in my house that I have not been able to kill/get rid of with any number of solutions actually turn out not to be fungus gnats at all...


Your "gnats" may actually be winged versions of the aphids living on your roots!!!


[Above: Fungus Gnat]



****Both the prominent black creatures in two above photos: Adult, female, WINGED ROOT APHIDS!!!!****

It is very likely, however, that you have BOTH. Root aphids produce root lesions which invite fungus (as roots decay), which gnats smell and come lay their eggs around so that their larvae will have decaying roots to feed on.

If you have captured flying critters and identified them as being gnats, that does NOT mean you don't have aphids!

Distinction of species/aphids types - assignment of working names

Many growers are using the name "Phylloxera" which is documented as an exclusively grapevine pest (known as "the destroyer of vines"). Though I believe that this is still speculation (many user-provided photographs do not look like phylloxera drawings/pictures and no bug people have spoken up yet to confirm) but it would make sense that it adapted as a species in the hills of Northern California where there is a lot of... grape growing.

I think it deserves early mention that there are multiple different species or at least strains of this pest affecting growers. There at least seem to be two types that users have posted about - a larger, darker, more armored and more beetle-like version that is easier to spot with the naked eye, and a smaller, more aphid-looking creature that is often green or red with black that only looks like a speck to the naked eye (not obvious it is a bug, especially the smaller, clearer, less colorful juveniles). This aphid has an adult (female - pregnant?) form that is black with wings (perhaps still a little bit of color when it first gets wings but becomes solid black at maturity). This form looks very much like a fungus gnat except that its wings are a bit different and up close (10X magnification+) you can see that the body is different. This is the type I have.

Take a look at post #243 in the link below - [attila76]:


Picture 1 (above) "crabs" is what I have - these produce winged adults like those pictured in the section above.


Picture 2 (above) "tank beetles" is the larger, rounder, more beetle-like aphids some people have.

The last 2 pics (in the post #243 in the link above) micros are the TEENY little bugs that attila76 has that appear to be perhaps even smaller than the ones I have - especially if the ones pictured are adults/mature.

Though this may simply be a certain stage of the life cycle of the aphids, it is likely a THIRD species.

Temporary Names

For the sake of discussion, and due to lack of better taxonomical information, I will give these three different species or sub-species working names.

Picture 1: I am coining these bastards "crabs" - since they come in colors (even red), and since they seem the most common, I think they deserve a name that everyone already knows as a dirty bug you don't want creeping where the sun don't shine.

Picture 2: I will refer to as "Tank Beetles" - because they look like little tanks and because people seem to find them floating in the tank.

Last two pics on Post 243 ("IMG 0122.PNG" and "Picture 4"): I will refer to as "micro bots" or "micros" - as attila76 says (paraphrasing): 'these are far too small for anyone to be able to spot in soil until the infestation is full-on.'


["Micros" - note how nearly microscopic they are - on a dark,solid background (like this net-pot) they can be seen as a TINY light-colored fleck. Otherwise good luck spotting them!

The fourth type that has been posted (linked below) I will call "red-asses" as they are rosy in color and when mature appear to be dark with rosy-colored behinds. They are more round that crabs and their cornicles do not seem to poke outward/protrude as clearly, as they seem to be "bent" along their body more than sticking directly out in parallel.


[Red-assed Root Aphid]

###PLEASE post pics of your critters if you can! Use a grain of salt in the pic if you can so that we can get a size comparison.
[Crabs!!! - Same as ones I have, I believe - same as Pic 1 I believe - identifying these things can be hard because they look different at 5-9 different stages of life. I believe that adults look like the winged ones or the ones in picture 1. Notice how the winged one in the link above has no visible cornicles (butt-antennae) - I think that perhaps they drop them, maybe even after growing wings. It seems to me that their body morphs quite seriously from the time they sprout wings to a fully-mature winged stage, where their body is more slender, they have no cornicles and their head is much more distinct from their bodies - in every way more closely resembling a fungus gnat.]

More detailed pic of Tank Beetles
[Two different species of bug in the Tank Beetle photo? Or aphids morph even after growing wings (as I think I have observed)]
[actual phylloxera]


[actual phylloxera - makes your damn skin crawl, doesn't it? What do you think, Scay Beez? - Oh, wait...nevermind...]

This is a link to an article on root aphids (genus Pemphigus) that has photos of the waxy residue many species leave behind. My population of them has never looked anywhere near as dense as these (they don't seem to cluster and a few here and there seems to be bad enough). I have not noticed waxy white strands at all, but I do see areas where roots are necrotized (but not completely) - they have a thin, brown coating in the damaged areas and the downstream branches of the root are just little stumps. H2O2 seems to help restore these areas (disolves the brown stuff?)

### More info on each of these different types of bugs and pictures needed! Please post!

Identification: [differences between winged aphids and fungus gnats]

-Body looks more like a beetle or aphid (much rounder and more solid) than a fungus gnat, which looks more like a mosquito (long and thin).

-They fly differently: fungus gnats drift around with less power, root aphids jet around and fly more "solidly" - they are more massive and have stronger wings.

-Root aphids seem to have an agenda almost always where gnats generally don't (they flick wings when they emerge from the media or when they land, catching the light). They are aware when you come at them (unless against the glass of the reflector) and will often avoid you - where fungus gnats are generally oblivious. It is also harder to clap the winged root aphids.

-Aphids are more attracted to light than to wine or sticky strips/pads. They fly up into your lights.

-Root aphids may not have many winged "fliers" - many things can trigger them to enter winged form (including population size/ratio to available healthy-root sap-flow, and I believe also introduction of pesticides), but they may exist in non-winged form, dwelling in the root system for a long period and you may not notice a problem with fliers even when the pest is eating your roots.

-Root aphids have many different stages of growth that vary in appearance (as opposed to fungus gnats which go from barely-visible worm-like larvae directly to adult, full-sized gnats). Even the winged adult female aphids will vary in size - some are far more aggressive fliers. I have not been able to study the direct metamorphosis of any particular aphid, but it seems as though the ones that have just sprouted wings look more like the root version ("crabs") only with wings. They are very attracted to light at this stage (perhaps also yellow sticky traps?) and seem to be just developing their flight ability. As they mature it seems that they lose any color they have left, turning all black, and their bodies seem to become more slender, more closely resembling a fungus gnat (more aero-dynamic). At this point their heads are more distinct from their bodies (looking somewhat wasp-ish). I may just be looking at gnats and aphids, but I think that the winged aphids vary a surprising amount in appearance (under high magnification), size, and definitely flight-ability and power.

Gravity of the Problem

From what I can tell, these bugs can go undetected in many systems (not producing significant numbers of fliers or otherwise being mistaken for fungus gnats) and never cause noticeable damage (although almost certainly reducing yields, often not too substantially).


They can be the worst plague a grower could ever imagine.

As far as I can tell, the potential for damage and ruin is based partly on the levels of the infestation, but also seems to be related to other factors such as environmental conditions (seems somewhat correlated to high humidity), grow methods (DWC/rockwool/hydroton and other systems that stay wet vs soil/soilless media that is allowed to dry thoroughly - which seems to be less affected), the nature of the rhizosphere ("clean" systems using SM90/H202/Zone etc vs well-colonized with beneficials - which seems to be less affected) and what I suspect to be the most significant compounding factor - the presence of various opportunistic pathogens that take advantage of aphid-damage to further decay roots, prevent root development (and possibly also enter and internally infect the plant?).

What I have gathered so far:

[This is generalizing from MANY posts and other online reading, as well as my own experience. Though this information may apply most specifically to beast type #1, "crabs," this information seems to be widely confirmed and true of all root aphids. - PLEASE post if you have a different understanding/experience!]

-There are at least two varieties of root aphids affecting grows, more likely four or more.

-The life cycle of the root aphid is very complicated and there are many stages which can vary based on air and root temp, population, presence of chemicals etc., giving the pest amazing flexibility to deal with environmental conditions and controls that target one or just one or a few stages of their life cycle.

-The existence of the winged ones generally signals a high population relative to what the plant can provide and also is the main mechanism by which they can spread from plant to plant, room to room (or even come in from outside - MANY people seem to have them outside their house). In winged form they will lay eggs, typically in moist root-zone but not necissarily in/on the plants at all.

-The juveniles and non-winged form in general can crawl distances to find plants, crawl out of the medium onto the leaves and rims of pots/edges of trays and even to other plants or out of the grow area entirely. When pesticides are applied or plants are drenched/dunked, the winged ones seem to flee in droves and the non-winged ones crawl up out to escape the flood/chemicals (onto the top of the root ball, bottom of the stem or even up the stems and into the leaves). Mild chemical applications or mild chemicals in general will just cause the population to temporarily flee the root area, possibly to other plants.

-Most people are not able to eliminate them entirely, even with extensive, multi-chemical regimens and constant applications. They will almost always have some eggs somewhere or practically invisible little crawlies lurking around. It only takes ONE individual to reproduce since they do not require sexual reproduction.

-Once there is a large population in fliers, the infestation is probably bad enough that there will continue to be significant damage even after the population is eliminated. From Wikipedia article on phylloxera: "In this [root] form they perforate the root to find nourishment, infecting the root with a poisonous secretion that prevents it from healing."

[Even though none of these bugs posted so far may be true phylloxera, I HIGHLY recommend everyone with these beasts browse the Wikipedia article quickly, since these creatures seem to share very much in common with phylloxera, if not being a variant or decedent of phylloxera:]

-Many people who have had them have resorted to complete eradication of all plants and complete disinfection of all grow materials, or even moving entirely - some have still had the problem. [It seems important that we learn how to deal with this plague rather than just running from it, as it will likely be back]

-As with any control, it is much easier once you know what you are dealing with, so starting over may be the best choice at first discovery (since people generally only discover them once the problem is bad). Trying to save a highly-infected round may or may not be worth it; Fighting a bad infestation may just be an up-hill battle that is doomed to cost a lot and produce far less than you want. You have to make a thorough assessment of whether or not to continue with a badly infected round. If they are weeks into bloom and have already put on good structure and are not rapidly going downhill in health because of the problem, treatment may be the best option. If your infestation is not bad yet (your plants are still healthy and making good progress) then treatment is also probably best. If this is not the case and the infestation has gotten bad (slowed plant growth, phantom "nutrient lockout issues," many winged fliers around, bad root health/damage) then it is probably better to start over - it will take significant treatment to kill most the bugs and then a good deal of time for the plants roots, health and vigor to come back. If you start over and use proper controls from the begging, your new plants will get to a helathier, more productive state sooner than the currently infested, unhealthy ones. - You are a few weeks behind either way, where using the old plants will take a lot of work and frustration and result in sub-optimal yields and starting over has the potential at least for decent yields and fewer control methods. - Every system and situation has its own set of parameters and needs its own particular assessment, just don't get suckered into the sunk-cost effect ("but I paid ___ for these clones and ____ for all the nutrients and light I gave them already, and I expect to get something for that").

-The people who have done best to eradicate this problem (according to online reading) have taken multiple-chemical approaches and have done intensive routine-applications (also addressing the issue of bugs escaping as the chems are applied).

-It deserves noting that after ~15 hours of online reading about this problem (mostly in these sort of forums from people who have had the issue) I have heard many sob stories of people trying everything and going to great lengths to war with these pests and in the end getting bad results and coming to the conclusion that they have to completely start over, often even moving and getting all new genetics or starting from seed. I have heard more stories of frustration than of success. To those of you out there like me for whom moving is a terrible last possible resort but who are affected with this problem, here is what I have gathered so far from extensive reading of others, personal experience and contemplation on the issue.

Control Solutions and Options

Control solutions vary widely based on the circumstances of the grow and the extent/severity of the problem.

The need for control is generally tied to circumstances of the grow - I have given plants with root aphids unknowingly to two other people who did not end up having the problems with them that I have had and who have had good yields from infected plants. In my grow, however, the severity of the condition seems to be greatly increased by having multiple grow areas/stages of plant growth - doing one round at a time, throwing out the medium afterward and cleaning everything seems to be enough for many people to prevent the population from getting to a particularly harmful level. Also keeping low humidity (with a lot of air movement) and letting soil/coco dry out well between watering seems to be another big control point for those growing in soil/coco.

If you are lucky to become aware of the infestation early in the plant's growth cycle/before the infestation has gotten bad, it is very likely you can use a few simple control methods to keep the population low enough that you do not notice a significant decrease in yield.

In systems where the population is out of control, however (many winged beasts emerging all the time), much more serious action is required. At this progressed state you have to make a careful determination of whether to keep the round or whether it would be better to start over again, with the problem at a much more manageable level.

When it comes to control, there are a lot of different techniques and methods you can employ to help reduce population numbers - none are probably going to eliminate the pest, but may allow you to restore decent yields. Every technique is just a temporary attempt to hold them down, however, and it deserves recognition that adding a thorough control regimen into a regular grow process can easily double the amount of effort and time needed to take care of the ladies, and can reduce your personal quality of life in other ways (use of chemicals, worry about touching certain things, need to wash things, quarantine things, the smell of chemicals in your grow area - perhaps that even waft into the rest of your house), besides making a big dent (particularly initially) in your wallet. Before jumping into any decision about what to do about these pests, it is very important to really evaluate all the options and to try to weigh the "hidden costs" (some mentioned above) of treatment as well, rather than being quick to jump to the conclusion "oh, I just need to go get some Imidacloparid."

First, I will mention methods that have not been posted about much but may be worth looking into:

-Drying out completely: One member posted that they were able to entirely eliminate the problem by letting all pots (of soil, presumably) dry out completely. Member did not post again to confirm or take back the claim of total elimination - perhaps a few lived and went unnoticed, but this method needs more evaluation - probably not a good idea in most hydro situations. Maybe rockwool?

###More info needed! Please post!

-Copper hydroxide ("Griffin's Spin-Out") can be used to coat the inside of containers to achieve chemical root-pruning (see link below). Or for an easier solution - Smart Pots (selling at many grow shops now, made of a material like landscaping fabric) will air-prune roots. I believe the idea is to avoid spinout (long strands of roots circling the container) - these are far more susceptible to root aphids, which will take out long strands with a couple bites in one spot, conveniently-located on the outside of the container. When roots are air or chemical-pruned, they branch in more places, making more of a natural, tree-like effect with the roots, so most of the spots on the outside that an aphid would like to be on are root tips of a widely branched root, and not up-stream roots, circling the container. This method does NOT get rid of or solve your aphid problem but may be a MAJOR improvement - especially when you can re-plant and try to keep them controlled from early on. I believe the smart pots are actually just a very smart idea anyhow (as they breathe better), especially since they also dry out better - which is a double-bonus for aphid issues. I am looking to do smart pots in my next closet experiment.

[URL = ""]An article about chemical root pruning that is useful to see whether or not you plan to use it[/URL]

-Dropping room (or water) temps LOW: If you have an A/C, perhaps dropping room temp below 60 deg F will cause aphids to go into hibernation. If you cannot sustain this long-term for power cost, perhaps for a week or so as you do chem applications so that they will not continue developing as you eliminate them. If they are not maturing and laying more eggs, perhaps you can kill the ones that are there. Make sure to run another application of chems a few days after you turn the temps back up, tho - if any dormant eggs hatch, you want to hit those new juveniles. If you are running hydro - perhaps just dropping the water temp below 60 for a while will have the same effect - you can buy reservoir chillers online at aquarium supply stores, or you can drop cold-packs in the res to drop temps. This will also help suppress any pathogens. ###More info needed! Please post!


When I saw the first creepy crawler I thought "it's so easy! I'll just kill them with pyrethrum and neem!" - Wrong. Do not go this route! Even neem extract (azadirachtin) does not seem to effectively control these pests, especially at in a cost-effective manner. Almost all reports of neem and pyrethrum use have stated some death but that they come back... and the plant is damaged by the oils etc... and the bugs are going strong again before the plant is. This is especially the case with neem oil itself, but in general - the higher concentration of azadirachtin or pyrethrins you use, the more killing you will do and the more you will hurt the plant (and there will inevitably be many more aphids hatching or that were not affected). That said - I clearly do not recommend any neem or pyrethrin-based approaches.

Notes on application:

-Applications should be done in sequence, according to your room/root temps. Always do 2-3 applications spaced apart by 3-6 days; this will ensure you get new eggs when they hatch. The higher your room temp the sooner you should re-apply.

*******Systemics (chemicals taken into plant tissue)********

-Imidacloprid is the main solution people have mentioned so far (most tried in online forums). It was mentioned in the thread started by Scay Beez, and it has worked well so many people have tried it and posted generally good results, perpetuating its usage. It is systemic, apparently being absorbed into the plant and staying around for a while - though the article "Some-Aphids-Go-Deep" linked below suggests that imid often does not work as well in pots if it gets washed out of the soil (if plants are heavily/over-watered after application). Imid also seems to kill to some extent on contact. Imid is probably not that harmful to the microherd, though I can't be certain.

-Like most systemics (Avid, FloraMite) the effectiveness of the systemic wears off long before the chemical is gone from the plant - this means that the Imid may help control aphids for perhaps a couple weeks but is around in the plant for at least a couple months - for this reason it is roundly suggested that imid only be used in the vegetative stage or around 60 days from harvest. In the agricultural industry there is around a 21-30 day PHI (pre-harvest interval) standard with imid for most fruits and vegetables - though it is worth noting that beets, for example (21 day PHI), are generally sprayed on the leaves rather than treated in the soil. It is likely that more of the substance is taken into the plant through the roots when applied to combat root aphids, that it is more widely distributed through the plant and that it is around for longer since it can remain in the medium.

-The main sources of imid people have mentioned are: Merit 75 (one of the strongest) - and Marathon - though both are a somewhat expensive up-front investment).

-Bayer "Tree & Shrub," Monterrey "Once a Year Insect Control" and Green Light "Tree and Shrub" a re all the easiest to acquire, cheapest sources of imid which are alternatives to the high-concentration versions available (Merit 75 etc). Each of these products are only 1.47% imid. Monterrey may be the cheapest of the lot. There are a few other Bayer products that also have Imid in them as well with other chemicals or with nutrients in them, but at lower concentrations of imid than the Tree and Shrub. Bayer "Complete Insect Killer" is imid + B-Cyfluthrin at half the concentration of imid. Bayer also has a "Fruit, Citrus and Vegetable Insect Control" product that is also imid at the lowest concentrations. - There is no reason to believe this version is less toxic or breaks down faster - it just has less imid in it for your $. The more imid you use and the later you use it the longer/more it will be around at harvest. Being far more dilute than the Merit/Marathon imid products, these imid products are less dangerous to handle/breathe and are available at hardware sores - look up the names in Google to see what the bottles look like. Bayer bottles are blue.

-People have said that Bayer Tree and Shrub (1.47% imid) is effective at 4-5 mL/gal - if you are already into bloom or are running a recirculating system I would recommend this dosage. bali_man has recommended people try upping the dosage 5X as they will see more dramatic results. If you only plan to apply it once or are at least 50 days from harvest, I would suggest this option.

-Imid is the same substance used in Advantage and Frontline for pets - it is based off nicotine and probably has similar toxicity. It smells like Advantage though (bllluugghhh), and is probably not great for you to get on your skin, as it is probably easily absorbed.

-Acephate ("Orthene", "Lancer", "Pinpoint", "Payload" etc.) is another systemic that was mentioned in the article linked below as one of the most effective kilers of root aphids but is also an organophosphate that seems to be somewhat toxic - it is fetotoxic (harmful to fetuses), suspected to be neurotoxic, possibly carcinogenic and has a strong odor/vapor that should not be inhaled much. The Acephate I looked into says specifically not to use in indoor residential settings. As with most serious/harmful pesticides etc: Do NOT spray this stuff indoors! (please read up below and in a few other places if considering using)! Handle water/waste water/medium with this (and other nasty chems) with caution and protective gloves/clothing. Do not use this or other nasty chems in an aero system! Imid should be fine.

*****Non-Systemics (contact-killers)*****

-Insecticidal soap (potassium salts of fatty acids) - These are somewhat effective at killing/controlling root aphids, especially in lengthy dunks (2 min+) or ebb/flow etc. or if you can run them through the root system (hydro etc). They will badly throw off the pH, though, so be prepared to rinse them out/re-pH. (I do not know whether pHing soap down before adding it is better or not. Anyone?) Aphids will try to escape - remember to Tanglefoot bases of plants or be ready to spray escaping aphids.

-Gamma-cyhalothrin (GCH) - "Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer Once & Done Concentrate" [available at hardware stores] (0.25% GCH)- (also: Bull, Fentrol, Fighter Plus, Fortix, Nexide, Proaxis, Prolex, Rapid, Stallion, Trojan, Vantex) has been mentioned [first and most notably by bali_man who says it is one of the most effective on all stages - see bali_man's posts below!] as an effective contact-killer. Lambda-cyhalothrin is the same thing but half as strong (it is non-isolated Gamma + its ineffective isomer). Use Lambda products at twice the strength of Gamma products with the same result.

-People have suggested (tried) using Spectracide Triazicide at 7.5-15 mL/gal. Perhaps more will even work better if it is not a thorough drench/soak or hydro watering. This stuff smells like fuel (the solvent it is dissolved in), so it probably kills many beneficials - although perhaps not too many when diluted.

-Reports so far indicate that GCH is very effective (except for one poster who was unhappy about results in soil). People have claimed no harm to plants which look happier afterward.

###Is GCH decent for spraying? Has anyone tried it?

-GCH is the most potent known pyrethroid and has a high LD50 (takes a LOT to kill you). It also that seems to have some potentially somewhat potent side effects (LONG list) on humans in SMALL amounts. Try not to breathe this stuff or get any on your skin. Try to avoid contact with the water when you mix it.

Wear gloves with all pesticide applications. For many chems, latex gloves or kitchen rubber gloves are not actually chem-proof. The solvent the GCH is dissolved in gets through cheap one-use gloves. You should consider getting chemical-resistant gloves off ebay or elsewhere.

-Esfenvalerate (Ectrin, Pydrin, Sanmarton, Sumifly, Sumiflower, Sumitick and "Ortho Total Kill Lawn and Garden Insect Killer") - One member (bodhiseeds) posted (http:/ that "tryed everything... almost gave up. ...went to OSH and picked up... osh lawn and garden insect killer and...bam problem solved no more root aphids." - assuming that bodhiseeds means "Ortho Total Kill Lawn and Garden Insect Killer" as Orchard does not make their own insecticide - This is a pyrethroid substance with what appears to be very low toxicity to humans and braod spectrum potency on pests.

This should be further explored as a compliment to Imid as an effective long-term kill regimen as esfenvalerate is not systemic. Perhaps this will be a more effective contact killer than GCH.

[URL = ""]Ortho Total Kill Insect Killer[/URL]

This article describes root aphids and the waxy-residue most seem to leave on roots (I have not particularly noticed this though). It describes several treatment methods - Insecticidal soap dunks, Orthene, Botanigard and Dycarb (which worked the poorest).

From the article:

"Distance (Syngenta) gives very good, long-term control of aphids. Precision and Preclude IGRs (Whitmire) also give good control of young aphid populations"

"Novel modes of action. Endeavor (Syngenta) has a novel mode of action in killing aphids. The chemicals block the stylet of the feeding aphid, which basically starves the aphid to death."

"DuraGuard [Chlorpyrifos] (Whitmire) is good on tougher-to-control species such as melon aphid"

Info on DuraGuard:

###Anyone with better technical or personal info on these chems, please post!

One good source of grow chems mentioned by one poster: (Marathon, Marathon II)

*************Biological Control********************

-Botanigard ES (Whitmire) and Naturalis T&O (Troy Bioscience): Beauveria bassiana fungus was mentioned as the most effective and also SAFE non-systemic control (not a chemical so it can be used up to the day of harvest - 0-day PHI). B. bassiana fungus strain GHA (11.3%) attacks insects by attaching filaments to their bodies which enter them and basically explote them from the inside. Botanigard is quite expensive (~$75/L) but is apparently the best non-chemical substance you can apply for control. Botanigard calls for 5-30mL/gal per "spray"- though I am not sure how much is appropriate for root-drench/watering- I would guess 10-15 mL/gal.

###Anyone with better info on Botanigard rates of use, please post!

-Vectobac - Gnatrol: Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis): Bti is a very specific bacteria which produces a very specific protein which is toxic to mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats specifically with almost no effect on other organisms. There is debate about whether it does anything to root aphids at all. Some say the protein-toxin is exclusively toxic to fungus gnats and a few other related species - not aphids. Many people have reported chasing these pests with Bti and having no success. bergerbuddy, however, has posted amazingly that powdered gnatrol was completely effective for him at HIGH doses (4 g/gal) and regular/routine feedings. I have a hypothesis that the protein is much less toxic to the aphids and only in certain stages, so it does not knock them out like most people expect - so they say it doens't work because they still have fliers and crawlers. I think, however, that at high doses and constant application that Bti may be an effective poison for root aphids/ This can be very costly, however, especially using the powder. The liquid equivalent (Gnatrol or Vectobac) would be about 20 mL/gal and is generally cheaper per unit.

The only success I have had with these pests recently is a closet 2-gal bag coco system where I let the coco dry out well (sometimes not watering for 3-4 days) and highly backed off on chem-nutes. They were into flowering by the time I discovered that the "gnats" were aphids and started reading up on them. The system had many of the fliers early on in late veg/early bloom, which would normally signal terrible things to come. In this system I amazingly seemed to control the level of the problem before even knowing I had it! I thought the bugs were gnats, though so I used Bt (though it was Thuricide Caterpillar-killer Bt) at 20 mL/gal several times and did 2 applications of predatory nematodes. The level of fliers did not drop off right away after applications, but did eventually fall off heavily. This system is the only one of 6+ grows over the last several months that produced well without bad signs of phantom "magnesium deficiency." I did not apply any of the other chems listed above. Though the Bt in Thuricide is a different strain, I do not guess it is better for aphids thatn Bti. I still have some, but since I found the Vectobac online I got that too - since Bti is the best strain of Bt for gnats I figure it is also the best for aphids (as opposed to Btk in Thuricide which is for caterpillars). Results with Vectobac still pending.

###Please post about your experience with Bti or Btk! (Vectobac 2.5 gal)

-Predatory Nematodes: These can be expensive and will be killed by most other chemicals, but they are another completely non-chemical and totally safe (0-day PHI) control method. Nematodes are microscopic creatures that will kill many soil-dwelling creatures, including fungus-gnat larvae. A buddy who I have given plants too and who has not had any infection problems uses a store-brewed tea with nematodes in it - I think perhaps they may have been his control without him knowing it.

**************** Corralling bugs *****************

Tanglefoot: This is not a chemical to KILL aphids but to keep them corralled. This is a very useful substance in general to make boundaries on plant stems or on the inside of trays etc. Although many other goops may work perfectly well (petroleum jelly? Grease?), this stuff is SUPER gooey and sticky and is non-toxic and marketed for the job. Use Tanglefoot to make a ring around each plant base (you can make a ring with scotch-tape and cover that with Tanglefoot or put it right on the stem itself - just remember to cut ABOVE the Tanglefoot at harvest or you are in for some stickier trimming than usual - and not the good kind!) Tanglefoot the base of plants before you apply chems to the roots to prevent the non-winged ones from climbing up the stems for refuge. Then spray the foliage with insecticide to get any that may have been up there before you applied Tanglefoot. bali_man used alcohol and then sprayed with fresh water right after. GCH or Botanigard should also work well.

###What are the best ideas on what to spray foliage with to kill everything hiding???

###If anyone comes up with a tried-and-true cheaper substitute for Tanglefoot, please share!

**************Control Substances Summary*********

-You will almost certainly need to keep applying control substances - you will not be able to apply one thing and let it go, even if you use a systemic - they will come back fast. You need to give multiple applications spaced a few days apart to hit new eggs as they hatch and any others that hid in the nooks and crannies. You will need to keep applying control substances even after the number of winged fliers decreases.

-Until we can get better info on Esfenvalerate and a few others, imid is almost a must to take down an infestation. You can try regular, heavy Bti applications from early on before the infestation is bad, but Bti has not worked for many people (though most probably were not using it at 4g/gal!)

-Most popular/effective control chem so far: Bayer Tree and Shrub or Merit 75 (imid) - systemic - do not use in last 30-40 days of bloom!

-Most effective from literature: Acephate (Orthene) - systemic. Do NOT use in bloom (only in Veg) - for safety earlier is better (stays around in plant for months even though it only controls for a couple weeks!)

-Known effective contact-killers: Spectracide Triazicide, Botanigard (first one is cheap and smells like fuel, second is expensive, non-chemical and probably has a higher success rate).

[To break their cycle and stay safe through bloom:]

-Bti (gnatrol/vectobac) has been claimed by at least two posters to be effective at continuous, high-dose applications (20 mL/gal or 4 g/gal for powder). -It is recommended to get the liquid if you can to be cost effective. This may have been what saved my last closet grow from these phantom magnesium deficiencies (Bt anyhow - in Thuricide)

-Predatory nematodes may be a useful controls when aphid numbers are already low to keep the population down in general - they are NOT a solution to an infestation, but they will stay alive as long as you are nice to the rhizosphere and will continue to act against the aphids. I think that both Botanigard and Bt work with nematodes (do not kill them) but I am not sure.

###Anyone with better info?

-Botanigard can be used as both a soil application and also a spray.

-Insecticidal soap drenches/flushes are very effective at keeping numbers down and killing most the population: flush heavily or dunk/submerge for at least 2 min.

-TANGLEFOOT or similar goop is recommended as barrier to keep them from crawling out of the root zone.

-You may want to keep a spray ready (strong alcohol? Botanigard? High-strength pyrethrum/neem combo? Spectracide Triazicide?) when you do chemical applications to the roots/submesrsions, since they will crawl up and out. Just after the flush/submersion/watering, use a sprayer with control substance to hit tops of roots/medium to get escapers.

A working solution for Aphids, from the best I have gathered

If you can't move or switch locations for a cycle while you THOROUGHLY clean EVERYTHING (and make sure no fliers have laid eggs anywhere around your house/in house plants etc).


-Consider scrapping the round and starting over fresh; If you need to take clones for the next round, put Tanglefoot on the bases of plants and then spray plants thoroughly with Botanigard, GCH or heavy neem, pyrethrum and azadirachtin if you can swing it. bali_man recommends using isopropyl alcohol to spray the plants and to dunk the cuttings in. I do not know how well this controls aphids. He sprayed his leaves off with water immediately after the IPA spray.

-If you are going to continue with an infested crop:

A)If you are gonna use chems, especially early on, it is recommended you use Tanglefoot or find a replacement to make a ring of goo around the lower plant stem so bugs can not escape the chems in the root zone. If you are at least a month or more from harvest, especially if you are in veg: buy an imid product (hardware store or concentrate online if you expect to use it on a lot of plants/many times). If you are in mid to late bloom: buy Botanigard if you can, otherwise you can try insecticidal soap dunks (2 min+ submersion), hot water flushes (especially in DWC, hydroton, aero, NFT, rockwool etc) and predatory nematodes (which will not survive the other applications). Regular application of HIGH strength Bti may just do it, as berger said it was totoal control after a while, and since Bt is the MAIN suspect for what controlled my problem in my last closet round. (20 mL/gal liquid, 4g/gal powder)

B)If you have a bad problem and are growing perpetually (multiple stages of plant growth/crops in the same general vicinity) then you may want to think about using acephate on your youngest plants. The acephate should be allowed as much time to be absorbed as possible, not watering too heavily to wash it out. I would NOT recommend spraying acephate or any serious chemicals (use Botanigard!) I would not recommend using acephate or any other serious chems in an aero-type setup as too much of it will be in the air and get dispersed around the whole grow area - Use insecticidal soap (remember to correct pH after), or if you need to use imid and try not to be around too much during/just after waterings. Buy a respirator and make sure to get multi-chem filter cartridges.

C)You may want to consider submersion (dunks/ebb/flow) in insecticidal soap - dunks over 2-minutes were apparently as effective as some of the best chemical approaches, and apparently dissolved the waxy residue common to many types ofroot aphids (that I am yet to notice).

D)After you apply any control solutions (chems etc) you will have a lot of dead aphids and damaged roots to deal with. Responses to this should be situation-based:

No matter how you do it, make sure you have controlled the aphid population well enough with chems before you start adding beneficials (if you are using chems that will kill them). You likely need to do 2-3 chem applications spaced a few days apart to effectively control - even if using systemics.

Hydro: you probably want to focus on killing and cleaning for a few days to a week before trying to heal roots. First I would run plain water through heavily to wash out as many bugs as you can. Then I would run H2O2 (5-10 mL/gal of 35%) and Hygrozyme to help dissolve and sterilize. Then I would add B vitamins. If you are still in veg you will want to run root regeneration supplements. Roots Xcellerator, Superthrive (or Liquinox B1), Rhizotonic, Voodoo juice are all good. Liquinox is the cheapest but the others are probably far more effective. If you are in bloom, I would keep nutrient strength lower and still think about root tonics if the plant has a lot of development left. Liquid Karma or B-52 may also help ease the stress.

Soil/soilless mix: Hygrozyme or another enzyme product is a good idea in any system. It may also be helpful to break down/wash away the toxin that aphids apply to the roots, though I am not sure of the chemical nature of it (water soluble? breaks down with H2O2?) If it is not too late in bloom, especially if you are still in VEG, you want to use a beneficial-tea (particularly one with a live population of organisms) to help rejuvenate roots - this can be FAR more cost effective than all the other root tonics. If you buy your own Quart of Mayan Microzyme (for damn near $100) it will make 16 gallons of tea which will make 480 gallons of watering solution (compare to Voodoo juice which makes 125 gal per liter @ recommended 8mL/gal). -Only thing is that you have to also have an air pump, airstone(s) and a container to brew it in.

If you can increase airflow, lower humidity and grow in well-draining soil or soil-less mix that you water lightly (1 L/5-gal grow bucket/2-day period, ideally with drip irrigation so it trickles down into the lower soil and does not thoroughly wet all of the medium in the top few inches) and let the pots thoroughly dry out by watering ONLY every other day - letting them dry out for several days if you ever thoroughly drench them. If you do this from the start with a low level of infection you will probably not have an up-hill battle with these bugs, may only need to apply a few control substances or may never see issues with them at all. This is a suggestion for the NEXT round, however, and is not an effective immediate solutions to an infestation.

###Questions to any who really know:

-Which beneficial species are most useful for hydro systems to protect roots? Trichoderma harzianum fungus? Bacillus Subtilus bacteria? Other Bacillus strains? Combos of the two? Which beneficial products are best? I have heard great things about Great White but have not used either it or Sub-Culture to combat this problem.

I think of particular noteworthiness are the following:

***************** Beneficials/tonics of noteworthy mention************

-Humbodlt Mayan Microzyme (a very potent AACT that you have to buy brewed from your hydro shop or buy a very expensive concentrate of end brew yourself using Humboldt Honey ES to feed it - WELL worth the money as it is a very potent elixir of biologically active organic goodness.

-Super Plant Tonic made by Blue Mountain Organics (a small home-based company) - you can buy this product on Ebay - just search either name. This product has gotten great reviews in many online grow threads and in my opinion is the ONLY product that rivals the Mayan listed above (perhaps even surpassing it) in terms of responsiveness by the ladies in any system - they tell you that they like this stuff (particularly the more organic the system is, as beneficials make organic substances in the soil and water that are available to the plants in highly bio-available forms and help facilitate exchange of such molecules to the plant and waste products from teh plant. Just as with the mayan, the SPT is biologically active and is meant to promote plant health, break down excess salts etc and encourage root growth. It is more shelf-stable than the Mayan, however, which is a very aerobically alive brew that needs to be aerated or applied immediately, and it also goes about 6-12X further than the Mayan for the price (vs purchasing brewed Mayan at the shop).

-Voodoo juice (AN): Although the price is a bit insulting, as with many AN additives, this stuff really seems to be a potent root-accelerater or/protector. I would recommend this stuff after the other two listed above - you should probably use it at half-strength to be economical.

-Third Eye (3D) (Trichoderma harzianum): This stuff is also expensive but is highly concentrated and is all Trichoderma harzianum - a powerful beneficial fungi which helps kill-off others. I am not sure to what extent this stuff competes with/invalidates other beneficial fungi, but I think it is quite effective at warding off many negative root fungi and protecting the roots.

-Rhizotonic (Canna) is supposed to be a very potent plant tonic. I have used it but never done side-by sides (threw much of it down the drain when I had a bad aphid infestation but did not know it). MANY people swear by it as the one additive of ultimate value. As most

-Hygrozyme: There are many enzyme products - hygrozyme is only one enzyme as opposed to a suite of enzymes meant to do different things. Hygrozyme is only meant for breaking down and dissolving non-living organic tissue (necrotic roots, dead leaves, dead bugs etc) and it is widely renowned as the best in the business for this purpose (particularly in hydroponics)

Personal experience, correlation between aphids and deficiency-symptoms problem, beliefs on the issue

Root aphids seem to do the worst damage in systems where roots stay moist or wet and in systems where roots share root area (beds, vertical columns)

I believe the issue these pests present is that they weaken the plants immune system and lacerate the roots, opening them up to attack and further damage from other pathogens (pythium etc.). When the concentration is heavy, they can debilitate a plant on their own, but I find that even when the population seems low (after I apply chems etc) I still see these phantom "magnesium deficiency" or "potassium deficiency" signs progress to a terrible state of leaf-loss. I think most the aphids are dead yet it seems like even a small population is causing damage that perhaps exposes the plant to harmful pathogens. This is only speculation, but a comparatively small population as mine (after I have used several chem applications) has not seemed to have nearly as detrimental of effect in other grows.

I am speculating that I may have some sort of harmful pathogen all over that the winged aphids distribute around and that the root aphids expose the plant to by opening up lacerations in the roots (since I know they secrete a toxin that prevents the root from growing or healing). More information needs to be compiled about this for all those with phantom "magnesium" or "potassium" deficiencies, because many people with these root aphids (in fact two people I have given plants to) do not have the "magnesium deficiency" problems I associate with aphid infestation. I am not convinced that this problem (leaf necrosis) - which is hands-down my main problem over root retardation, is directly tied to the action of root aphids per se. Anyone who has had these phantom "magnesium deficiency" "potassium deficiency" issues needs to speak-up about what you do (what medium, nutrients, dosage, temps/humid, sprays?)

-For me it is typically the plants receiving the most light that are worst affected, but it is not light-burn/heat burn and definitely not under-watering damage. It is almost always after I move plants out from under floros to HPS that I start to see the issues (where beforehand the plant looks strong and healthy and is otherwise developing well). Because this is the period when plants typically will start to show Mag def (according to all the literature) and the signs seem to match the photos/descriptions, I jumped to the conclusion long ago that it was Mag deficiency (also because I had Mag def before and it looked similar). Contributing to this was the details that Magnesium is not absorbed well in really wet soil and that a plant needs a large, healthy root-mass mimicking its leaf-mass to pull up enough Magnesium (paraphrasing Jorge C.) -I often give container plants too much water, and once the problem starts I am often quick to do the next watering to apply some other potential solution-in-a-bottle. Beware this mentality! At this point I am not sure whether there is some sort of acute mag deficiency happening (as a result of sprays, pathogen, or root damage from aphids) or if it is something else entirely.

-High E.C. (ppm), high levels of potassium, calcium carbonate and cold & wet or cold & acidic soil/water are also causes for Mg to be locked out. However, I have addressed all of these potential problems, as well as added extra Mag and sprayed with Mag - so I do not believe it is a general Mag deficiency. Also, the plants do not show the systemic lack of magnesium indicators - "praying" leaves etc. and the bud quality is not incredibly compromised (for those that get thick enough) - where Mag-deficient buds are pretty terrible (bland etc). The symptoms look like Mag deficiency, but it is certainly not that simple.

*********************Sprays - I spray regularly for leaf-bugs with several products... is this part of the problem?****************
[Looking for other possibilities that could be causing phantom nutrient "lockout"]

I do semi-regular sprays for spider mites but also with some beneficial additives and this seems perhaps to exacerbate the problem (or in some cases seems sufficient per se to induce "rust patches" on some plants that were otherwise not showing "signs.") I am looking at the sprays as a major contributor to te problem. (Although I think that a bad infestation of aphids seems to be an underlying cause/correlated to the severity of the problem, the sprays may actually be causing as much or more of the leaf-death symptoms than the bugs. I make sprays with multiple ingredients and use a pump-sprayer to thoroughly drench plants when lights are off.

The main thing I am evaluating as to whether it is safe in sprays or could be causing a problem is CalMg/MagiCal (I used to use SensiCalMg). A while ago I used to use tap water in my sprays, but for a while now I have been using RO water and adding a Cal/Mg product to compensate for low ppms of Cal and Mg. Often I will also add Mag-Amp to the spray as well. I spray with multiple products all at the same time (things in "[]" are sometimes added):

Yucca extract (spreader), Pro-tekt (used to use Barricade), MagiCal, [aspirin], [Fulvic Acid], [Mag-Amp], [Liquid Karma], [B-52], [nitrozyme], neem oil, neem extract (azadirachtin), Bug-Buster-O (pyrethrum),

I am looking at the Cal/Mg addition or perhaps neem products or the Pro-tekt (/Barricade) as being culprits, though I could easily see it being some bad reaction between combined additives - though the only tings I add almost every tie are the ones without brackets above. I have mixed many things in sprays for a long time and had good success with it, but I have not taken good enough notes to see if there is any correlation between when I started using Ro water for my sprays (and adding Cal/Mg products) and the occurrence of the "problem."

The leaves sort of seem like they are suffocating or something (many are green, but younger ones always look healthier). None of them ever really reach up for the light - they don't ever droop either, just have a consistently less turgid, stiff look than I would like to see. Also - in the only round so far that got so bad it had dropped 80% of its leaves before I even switched into bloom and I had to dis-continue it - the "last straw" seemed to be a heavy spray I did with high Magnesium (and a lot of dawn dish soap because I did not know how strong it was!) Here was what I used: (~3 mL/gal Cal Mg, 3 mL/gal mag amp, ~10 mL/gal NUTS (fulvic), ~6 mL/gal B-52, 3 mL/gal LK, both neems + pyrethrum, ~ 15 mL/gal Dawn)

Everything that was sprayed with the above mix reacted poorly (the ones I had in VEG under floros at the time, which was the closet round I referred to above as the only one that did well recently, were all limpy-leafed afterward. All the leaves were still a good, solid green (in the Veg) and were lifting upward but had NO perk to them (it was like they were all still soggy from the spray, even after they dried off - for days after). I blamed it on the Dawn dish soap because I used so much and that was the only thing I really changed from usual. I do believe that the excessive Dawn was the cause of leaves being so limpy and probably not breathing as well, but the ones in Veg still grew and went on to be fine/do well. Though I am sure the dish soap was excessive and was not good for them at that level of use, I am now thinking perhaps that other components of the spray were what exacerbated the phantom "magnesium deficiency" leaf necrosis on my other plants that were in late VEG under HPS lighting (where the problem has generally come on).

Hypotheses on what may be happening with the sprays (these are all very conceptual):

A)Calcium is not very mobile in plant tissues - calcium in SensiCalMg/MagiCal is too high for direct foliar application (even at low 2-3mL/gal?)? ... High levels of Calcium that cannot be transported through the plant after spraying could be causing acute lock-out of Potassium or Magnesium at the cellular level and causing necrosis??? Anyone who can say one way or another??? I could not find much on CalMg in sprays, so I will omit it in sprays from now on.

###Does anyone with these phantom nutrient issues use CalMg products in sprays? Do you use a CalMg product in high levels in waterings?

B)Two chemicals are combining from the ones I use to make a toxic substance that can cause necrosis? (Any ides on this?)

C)The plant is actually potassium deficient and the mis-diagnosis as magnesium deficiency and additional application of Cal/Mg and Mag-Amp are further impairing the plants ability to absorb potassium, especially when calcium is applied to the leaves since it is not mobile? There is generally enough potassium in fertilizers for the plant to not be potassium deficient, and I have been using fertilizer regularly in my systems that have had this problem, but I have cut back on fert strengths because of the problem, I figured lower ferts would be better, but now I am not so sure.

These are all just hypotheses and none of them are particularly convincing but I think there is something there to the sprays I have been applying to my plants as it seems to be sufficient for creating signs of the leaf-necrosis problem that is my real plague. (Plants that I know do not have a severe aphid problem or at least that I know would not show signs of the problem normally will show signs immediately after a spray - but only a FEW signs here and there, though perhaps it makes plants that already have the problem significantly worse - it is hard to tell). Please help if you have an idea about what may be going on or if you are also experiencing phantom "mag-def" symptoms and can share experiences and methods.

If you have magnesium-deficiency symptoms but NO aphids:

If you have bad leaf issues ("rusty" necrotic dead areas between veins or at edges and tips [but particularly between veins], leaves crisping and dying etc) and you are sure you do not have any root aphids , it is likely you just have a nutrient lockout or imbalance. If these symptoms are "phantom" - persistent despite changing many factors to address the issue - then you may just have important information for addressing the phantom nutrient lockout issue! - Please post your circumstances!

If you do NOT have aphids, here is some quick info about nutrient lockout. Also - please see the bottom of my original posting about root aphids here (where I say a lot more about nutrient lockout and avoiding normal "deficiency" symptoms:

Or search nutrient lockout (try to ascertain whether it is from toxic fertilizer buildup, too high of calcium carbonate in your water [do an ice cube test - opaque, all-white cubes probably have too much CaCO3 in your water and need an Ro unit or need to adjust (adding a bit of CalMg for more available Calcium but not over-doing it, probably also needing to up your Magnesium with Epsom Salts or grow mor organically, using beneficals, Fulvic and Humic acids to break down the CaCO3 or make it more available. Make sure you are mixing your nutes well, always adding CalMg first (and stirring VERY well), then Micro or the appropriate 2-part fert and again incorporating very well (using a pump is best). High doses of fertilizer require equally high doses of CalMg (especially high doses of K which come along with almost all high fert doses, veg or bloom). Regular fertilizers account for this (having Ca and Mg in the fert) but nitrogen boosting veg products often do not have accompanying K, Ca and MG to balance out the N, and high P/K bloom boosters often do not have the high Ca/Mg to balance out the high K (and also can often use a bit more N as well). Going heavy on any additives that have a high N-P-K value (on any of the numbers) is a likely cause of nutrient lockout as the additive is not a balanced fertilizer (particularly with balanced cations Ca, Mg and K).

Try to figure out which cause is most likely for your lockout and look up the cause for more info (mixing nutes, bad/hard water etc.)

###Again, if you have root aphids OR phantom "magnesium deficiency" "nutrient lockout" - PLEASE post your experience, conditons of growing, nutrients/medium, what type of aphid you have (if you have aphids - "crabs" "tank beetles"? - do they leave a waxy residue?) and what issues you have noticed with your plants.Do you do foliar sprays? - If so, what do you use?

####Please, please, PLEASE remember to post as many useful data points about the circumstances of your grow as possible, NOT just what chems you are using! We NEED to know what

Thanks, good luck and good vibes healing your ladies. Always remember that they are sensitive living organisms with FAR more going on to them/inside them than it ever appears. They are much more alive and have a greater awareness than we are mostly ready/willing to fully accept. The more you respect their existence as organisms and treat them with the sort of gentle care you would a loved pet and the less you treat them like factory-equipment, the more effective and productive (and personally rewarding/nourishing) your entire growing experience will be. Much love, good luck and goodway.

-Willie Broheim

[Also: a much-due shout-out and gracious THANK-YOU to member Scay Beez who started the original thread on root aphids almost 2 and a half years ago (which is still on-going) from which the majority of this information was compiled. This thread is dedicated to Scay Beez and secondarily to bali_man for his contributions. Without the original thread I may not have been alerted to the seriousness of this problem and I would have no idea what to do about it. Scay Beez, for selflessly posting what you knew so far about a new pest just to get it out there, you inspired me to give my knowledge back to the community. You were a movement-starter. Thank you, Scay Beez!]
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Canna Coco grower
I've run into these things and they ARE more dangerous than mites or white flies hands down...

Gnatrol WDG the powdered version works.... apply it once a week 40 grams to 10 gallons and thoroghly saturate... do this for two months and on ALL plants....

Well written piece... However I will say that gnatrol WDG in large doses will do it... and you will stop getting the yellowing curling leaves and start getting the fast growth again..



If you have root aphids or have had root aphids, please let us know the following:

A)How bad was your infestation and what effects have you observed in your plants/grow?
B)Have you grown the same way before with success or with the same problems? Have you grown a different way before with success or the same problems?
C)Have you treated them before (if so, how and what were your results/conclusions)
D)What type of medium/nutrients and what type of setup (hand water, ebb/flow etc)

If you do not have root aphids but have some sort of nutrient lockout/nutrient deficiency/toxic salt buildup, please let us know:

A)What are your symptoms?
B)What is your medium/nutrient regimen/setup (watering etc)?
C)Have you grown the same way before with success or the same problems? Have you grown a different way with success or the same problems?



(Imid is the same substance used in Advantage and Frontline for pets - it is based off nicotine and probably has similar toxicity. It smells like Advantage tho, and is probably not great for you. It deserves noting that yesterday I made a 3X concentration mix with Bayer Complete Insect Killer [which also has Beta-Cyfluthrin in it] and set it up to water through irrigation and the hose was loose and came off, spraying all over my face and down my torso... I immediately showered, but don't feel bad... I'll let you know)

-you'll be fine, as long as you didn't ingest any

-Botanigard was mentioned as the most effective and also SAFE non-systemic control (not a chemical so it can be used up to the day of harvest). It is two strains of fungi which attack insects I believe [anyone wanna do a report?]

-Works well only against certain life stages of root aphids.

-Bifenthrin ("Wisdom" and others) is another that is non-systemic (so it can be used without the plant holding on to it. It is supposed to be very effective and not that toxic.

-This shit is actually quite dangerous and is very toxic. It is also systemic, and breakdown actually takes almost a full year, because it doesn't easily leech out of the medium with daily watering.

-Acephate ("Orthene" etc.) was mentioned as one of the most effective instant-kills (as opposed to the imid which is more for continued control) but seems to be quite toxic (I would DEFINITELY recommend looking into it before using!!!

If you can find acephate, you're better off using that, rather than all the other chems combined. It fucks them up really good. I would compare it to a floramite for root aphids. Only drawback is that it is systemic as well and dangerous to handle.

-Acetamiprid, Gamma-cyhalothrin were also mentioned as treatments but I have not looked into them - anyone who would like to add on info about them, please?

Acetamiprid is effective for the RAphids once they're beginning to darken and get the harder exoskeleton.

Gamma Cyhalothrin is also highly effective against Root aphids. I've found it does the most damage to the overall population from the tiny newly birthed transparent fucks, all the way to the flyers.

On a side note, flyers are the easiest to kill. Any light concentration of neem oil will kill them on contact. And as far as dissolving the little youngsters......just get some insecticidal soap, and the potassium salts will eat up the little ones soft bodies. *Just be careful to not throw the ph when using insecticidal soap. it will send your PH +10.....

After long personal battles with these fucks, and helping countless others, I'm convinced that soooo many people have them, and are just ignorant of it. And they do make spider mites look like nothing.


donut engineer
Alright, time to check the roots. I thought I was after fungus gnats but now I think these may be the cause. God dammit. Thank you.


New member
I carried a sample of them with me for a while to figure out what they were. I was asked to test an organic line of nutrients. My plants were not growing well, listless, faded green tried everything, then one day decided to flood to top and leave it to flush the rockwool medium. Dozens of the small black bugs came out the top. Decided I needed a larger flood area and soaked the plants in a kiddy pool for an hour. Hundreds of them appeared. Cleaned everything and put the plants back in the flood tray. Took awhile but everything died, some slower than others. Stopped growing for about as long as I held onto that sample. Eventually an associate asked to partner up and use some of that equipment in a house he had access to.
I had used rockwool for a few years with success, have tried many things since but not rockwool.
I do not know where I got the bugs, may be from a clone or from the new location. I had them in a hydro-hut in a barn. I thought the hydro-hut was a part of the problem so took down the hut and just did it in the barn.

Two month of treatments might work but a better idea may be to start over after a thorough application of pesticides followed by physan. I know that would have been better in my case. I lost two months before I figured it out and two months after until I finally gave up and quit altogether.

But its not all bad news. I live in Southern California and visited dispensaries and enjoyed lots of fine products with little work and no frustration, and had a greater appreciated of the fine work of others.
I've had them numerous times, they come in from the spruce trees outside. I used Azatrol to get rid of them,but you have to use it on ALL YOUR PLANTS, for a couple months, to really get them gone. Azatrol is OMRI listed, and is Systemic, so it's easy to use, I fed 1 oz, per 10 gallons, in the res and as a a soil drench. It becomes absorbed by the plants, and anything that eats them, whether roots or foiliage, dies! It takes a couple weeks to start working when fed to the roots, so be patient. You can also foiliar feed the stuff, but do it with the lights off or you will fry your plants! Good luck!


Canna Coco grower
If you have root aphids or have had root aphids, please let us know the following:

A)How bad was your infestation and what effects have you observed in your plants/grow?
B)Have you grown the same way before with success or with the same problems? Have you grown a different way before with success or the same problems?
C)Have you treated them before (if so, how and what were your results/conclusions)
D)What type of medium/nutrients and what type of setup (hand water, ebb/flow etc)

If you do not have root aphids but have some sort of nutrient lockout/nutrient deficiency/toxic salt buildup, please let us know:

A)What are your symptoms?
B)What is your medium/nutrient regimen/setup (watering etc)?
C)Have you grown the same way before with success or the same problems? Have you grown a different way with success or the same problems?


I had a TERRIBLE infestation.... I didn't notice it until i noticed plant growth irregularities... this led to further investigation and I noticed little winged creatures running around on top of my coco....

When I used Gnatrol.... a couple times over a week.... It "appeared" as if everything was fine.... I didn't want to keep putting gnatrol in my coco... So I stopped.... unfortunetaly... a few weeks later the problem was as noticeable as before.... and plants were growing very VERY weak...

I run a continious.... So I was getting cross contamination from the older plants to the newer ones...... This made it harder to notice the growth damage as the plants newly moved in... would grow fine for a while... until the contamination got so bad as to start interfering with nute uptake by the roots...

This went on for nearly 8 mos.... I was still getting crops... just not the types I should be getting... both yeilds and size even maturity... as off...

Finally I said fuck it... and bought a 25 lbs of Gnatrol wdg.... I started applying at 120 grams per 30 gallons... every 6-7 days.... I did that all the way until the last 3 weeks of bud..... which I stopped giving gnatrol to those.

I still have a bunch of gnatrol around.. I sttill have these fuckers living in my garden outside etc..... So if i EVER notice the slow growth habits.... the yellowing in the upper leaves... the curling of the leaves..... or any dead critters on the plants underneath the lights...

I just start up a 2 or 3 week program of gnatrol....

Its been 5 or 6 months since I was having the problems..... problems solved by gnatrol....

ah...yeah I had more than one kind of gnat too.... I had some green winged fuckers and some small blacks.... and larger blacks...

I also found some type of worm larve in my soils... looked like a moth worm or something..... These dissappeared too..

Peace..... n good luck

P.S.... I tried that Azatrol SHIT... cause it is omri listed etc..... it DIDN'T KILL THE BUGS.... IT AFFECTS THE PLANT GROWTH AND THE TERPINES... i.e. SMELL TASTE... and I applied the shit out of it....

HATE THAT PRODUCT... and I have a thread on here from a few months back... where I was asking about it... then used it... then bitched about it...

Stay away from that shit..

Gnatrol... is ORGANIC TOO.. its merely bacteria... but does not seem to affect plant growth and certainly plant taste and smell



Here's this evil littler fucker personified:

The only thing you can do really as of now, is to go back to clones and kill all of your moms. In addition, my moms got nematodes and Diamateceous Earth as they were being cut upon (for clones,) before their funerals'. All clones are being rooted in straight perlite which should hopefully serve as a deterrant for any egg-laying in the 'new life' of the room. Oh yeah, and there are eight blue and yellow sticky traps situated around the room....haven't caught one, these fuckers are smart too. Remember, the flyers are only the adults, the larvae/babies are little white crawlies that reside in the top inch or two of soil and all long the rootball/sides of pots, even down to the very bottom next to drainage holes.

Don't fuck around, go back to clones/seed, you will not win otherwise.


Thank you all for posting!

bali: Thank you very much for the update on the chems!

berger: Did you get decent yields after the heavy gnatrol regimen? How did they compare with before? Do you mean to say that you entirely got rid of them with that method and that you are getting normal yields now with none of the same problems? Did you have to use the gnatrol again after the first regimen? Did you have plants around that were in in different cycles of life, or just one crop at a time? Thanks!

Also: EVERYONE who has had them:
-Please describe the conditions you were growing in (CO2/no, high/low temp& humid, hydro/soil, heavy watering vs light) as extensively as you can
-Please describe what the damage was (how did it affect the plants? Particular symptoms/deficiencies/indicators they were doing damage) - post pictures if you can
-Please describe what they look like (if you can magnify them well) or take photos if possible (with really good magnification/macro lens) - it will help to know how many species of these things there are and if they need to be treated differently (I know one thread had BIG ol' suckers that are definitely not what I have)

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Don't fuck around, go back to clones/seed, you will not win otherwise.[/QUOTE]

I've got to second that one, you will not win, even if you go to harvest it will be crap and subpar. Don't try to fight this pest with chemicals or pesticide. Give up! There is no hope! Kill it with lots of bleach, and then go to soilless mix let them get real dry before watering.

Bali man knows his stuff... no doubt... learned alot from him... I just disagree that they should be fought.

I will be forever scared by the damage they've done to me.


I am hearing the suggestion to go back to clones/seeds. However, I need to do what ever I can to save the round that is currently ready to switch to 12/12 (except for the hastily accelerating problem of leaf "rust-spot" necrosis which rapidly becomes completely crispy tips and side margins and then results in leaf death.)
I have been treating this problem as a Magnesium deficiency, but if it is I believe it is a result of damaged, unhealthy and underdeveloped roots.
I was wondering if anyone has good advice on whether to use normal strength nutes or lower, and whether to keep supplementing Magnesium (and if so, how much?)
Also: does anyone know what is best to use to repair damaged and unhealthy roots? I have been wondering if Voodoo Juice may help, but it is so expensive I do not want to buy it on a whim.
[I am growing in 4 different mediums (to see if one does better than others) but all are behaving the same - perlite alone, hydroton, coco croutons, perlite + coco croutons. I am watering them with sprayers on a timer (every 4 hrs) with GH nutes. I was doing a very low concentration (3-5-5 ml/gal Grow-MicroBloom) to veg them up.

Then the "mag defficiency" rust-spots and leaf edge and tip-death started showing (as it has before when the plants are getting big under HPS light, just about to bloom).

So I started supplementing with Mag-Amp (1% Mag Chelated, 4% Sulphur) when the problem showed up (not knowing about the aphids) starting at 2 ml/gal then up to 5 ml/gal. Then I started doing the Lucas Mix (0-8-16 - ml/gal G-M-B), in case the ratios I was using were off or I was not giving enough nutes for the amount of light. I have been using Hygrozyme and Roots Excellerator, SM90 and Zone to keep the roots healthy.

Then I found the aphids. - Did a strong Imid dose. Problems are still getting worse. What now?

I figure the roots are gnared up and that there is too much foliage/the light is to strong for the root mass/health. The are in a vert system, so unfortunately I cannot move the light further away :-(

Last night I tried 3 different myco products in 3 different plants (Oregonism, Myco Madness, Tarantula + Pirhana) - I had been using SM90 and Zone in the water trying to keep the roots healthy, but they were not able to with all the damn mites. - Stopped using them to try beneficials.

Any well-informed suggestions???


(Please only answer if you have good knowledge from experience or other reason to be confidant in your answer and not just conjectural thought - not to be rude but that throws people with grow problems off FAR too often!)

Thanks, everyone!
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Same problem. Chasing what I thought was a MG deficiency and a case of fungus gnats. Using mosquito dunks on the gnats like the one other time I got gnats. Didn't kill them. Nothing on the sticky traps really either. The aphids fly different than gnats I dunno.

Meanwhile I'm tracing down this MG def or PH problem even though I know my PH is good to go.

So because of some of the clones from multiple sources I had to treat everything in the garden, Procure for PM, floramite for mites and azamax mixed with the FM sprayed and soil drench of the azamax.

3days later and it looked like a morgue in my cabinet. Tons of dead flying and crawling things. I'm pretty sure they weren't gnats. They were in all stages of growth and death.

Can't find any crawlies after cleaning everything with bleach. Now I switched from FFOF to another mix.

Plants have started to grow normally. They are in fact starving because I held off feeding while trying to fix the PH/Mg "problem"

I'm do to retreat everything in a few days. Time to put the suit on resp on.... I'm vegging for a long time so this should all be clear by flower. (fingers crossed)



Note to all who are going to go the treatment route: Choose Vectobac (liquid form) over Gnatrol! Gnatrol has stopped making the liquid form. 1 Lb of gnatrol has 1.36 B toxic units (and costs about $70). 2.5 gal Vecobac (liquid) has over 12 B toxic units for $150 (shipped). Sorry, berger: you overpaid ;-)


(I also did find one source of liquid gnatrol - on first page of google search - I just was not sure about buying it: thought it may be old, or maybe not available anymore.)


bali or anyone with experience with it:
How much Orthene (Acephate) should I use/gal?
I have a system that waters multiple times a day - should I water with Orthene every time? How long should I do this for? Should I just do the last watering of the day with Orthene and then let them sit overnight? Then water with it again the next day and wait as long as possible before watering with regular water/nutes?



Canna Coco grower
Thank you all for posting!

bali: Thank you very much for the update on the chems!

berger: Did you get decent yields after the heavy gnatrol regimen? How did they compare with before? Do you mean to say that you entirely got rid of them with that method and that you are getting normal yields now with none of the same problems? Did you have to use the gnatrol again after the first regimen? Did you have plants around that were in in different cycles of life, or just one crop at a time? Thanks!

Also: EVERYONE who has had them:
-Please describe the conditions you were growing in (CO2/no, high/low temp& humid, hydro/soil, heavy watering vs light) as extensively as you can
-Please describe what the damage was (how did it affect the plants? Particular symptoms/deficiencies/indicators they were doing damage) - post pictures if you can
-Please describe what they look like (if you can magnify them well) or take photos if possible (with really good magnification/macro lens) - it will help to know how many species of these things there are and if they need to be treated differently (I know one thread had BIG ol' suckers that are definitely not what I have)


I have plants in diff cycles.... My room is sorta exposed to outside easily and so even if I got COMPLETELY rid of something... they could easily come back...

YES my yeilds and QUALITY is back.... I use the gnatrol as a PREVENTITIVE.

Use it heavily and often at first.... it only kills the larve which are the fuckers eating your ROOTS.... not the crawling around ones or the flying ones.... but the only damage they do that I can tell is LAY MORE EGGS.... it takes three weeks for their life cycle...

after two weeks you will see NOTICABLE results in growth and overall health.. it actually starts immediatly... but does depend on how bad you have them... However it starts killing the feeding larve and they start dying which in turn allows your plants roots to start building again....

Just plan on once you get the fucks under control... u will still apply gnatrol.... once a week... for a while until u are damn sure they are gone...

Don't hesitate to use the stuff... it does not affect the plant product...

It wouldn't hurt to get some good root enhancer like Canna Rizotonic to help your plants get on their roots again... but that is not absolutely necessary..


EVERYONE who has had them:

-Please describe the conditions: Soil, standard room, high humidity though! I did not have nearly enough ventilation! Also, that fact also really promoted overwatering by lengthening the time that it took for the soil to dry, so I was jumping the gun without knowing it for weeks, compounding the problem.

-Please describe what the damage: No visible damage luckily, aside from some possible droop - but nothing that I noticed consciously, I caught them early when I spotted the crawlies in a pot, no fliers had appeared when I started battle with them.

-Please describe what they look like: Babies/larvae: Very small white bugs that have what looks like four legs, clear/whitish body, crawl around the rims of pots and top inch or two of soil...depending upon numbers they may be concentrated further down into the pot and may be collecting around drainage holes. (Notice, that if you have them at/in drainage holes that there are no visible roots, just yellow/light brown small specks of dying, broken down, roots. Adults: Fungus gnat look-a-like with a bigger, more round, black body; I agree that they are better at flying than fungus gnats and actually present a challenge in trying to find them and 'clap' them down....and the worst part: they don't fall for sticky traps - blue or yellow.
I had them on my FIRST EVER run, and wasn't clear as to what they were....However, my crop was pretty good in yield and quality...what I noticed worked for me was a combination of the following:

- Watering my ladies with a little neem oil(only twice, a month apart, in veg)
- Letting temps drop a bit at night
- Applying Yard & Garden Safer Brand Insect Killer(which is a blend of insecticidal soap and pyrethrins) on soil surface(lightly, and only on those w the adults) and again on the bottom of my pots where the little disgusting babies that appear to 'jump' congregated....It never got rid of them COMPLETELY(although I temporarily did not see them anymore) but surely did see a decrease in overall numbers. I took the multi-faceted approach cause I wasnt about to let some lil buggers ruin my first harvest! :)

It's been months now and I'm prepping the space again...time for some bleach!

Good luck fellas! :)