Get Rid of the Tiny Black Bugs on Plants in 5 Easy Steps

You’ve probably seen those tiny black bugs flying around your tomatoes, in your house, and on your plants. Although they probably won’t do much harm to the plants themselves, they are pretty annoying and seem to be everywhere!

Those tiny black bugs in your plant soil or along your stems could actually be a number of different pests.

Today, our experts are going to share how to get rid of the tiny bugs on all your indoor plants. You can easily find a solution to those tiny black bugs in 5 easy steps:

  1. Finding an infestation
  2. Finding the source of the infestation 
  3. Identifying the what the infestation is
  4. Creating a solution 
  5. Preventing future infestations 

Step One: Find The Black Bugs on Plants

These bugs are quite tiny, so if you do spot a few black bugs on your tomato plants or in your home, you might want to check the rest of your collection!

When checking your plants for infestations, look for:

  1. Misshapen or discolored leaves and stems. Be sure to check both sides of all your leaves!
  2. Deformed fruit, veggies, and flowers blooming from the plant. 
  3. A sticky substance or a sugary liquid known as honeydew. This is leftover residue from after feeding. 
  4. Any fungal growth or sooty mold. Most plant branches and leaves will become black from this fungus.
  5. Galls or abnormal growths on plants. 
  6. Other infestations like ants and ladybugs who pray on these tiny black bugs. 

Step Two: Find Out Why Do You Have These Black Bugs

These types of infestations are quite common for plant owners. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get rid of those black bugs on your plants if you do have them. There’s a few reasons you may have an black bug infestation if you do have them.

You bought a plant with an infestation

You’re not a bad plant parent if you bring a plant home and immediately find an infestation. It’s not the store’s fault either, as the plant may have had eggs or young bugs hiding in the soil! 

When you buy a new plant, keep it away from your other plants for a week or two. This way, you’ll ensure that your other plants won’t become infested. During this time, be sure to follow our tips on getting rid of black bugs on plants. 

You moved your plants from inside to outside (or vise versa)

As the weather changes, you might move your plants between inside and outside your home so they get all the sunlight they need. Be careful when doing this, as infestations normally start from outside your house, and bringing them inside will only make the problem worse. 

When you bring your plants back inside, be sure to give them a good wash with water. Next, change your plant’s soil with a fresh mix. This not only helps keep your plants thriving and healthy, but also prevents other infestations. 

You may have another infestation 

Finding those tiny black bugs could mean you have another infestation. These tiny black bugs are commonly prey to other pests like ants. The honeydew they leave on your plants will actually put your plants at risk of damage from other gnats and sucking insects!

Inspect your home in commonly dirty areas such as your kitchen, or around where you store your plants. If you do find another infestation, you should take steps towards getting rid of those pests too.  

Step Three: Identify What the Infestation Is 

Once you identify what the infestation is, you’ll have a much easier time finding a solution and preventing future infestations. The tiny black bugs on plants are normally either fungus gnats, aphids, or spider mites. 

Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats are black flies that won’t do much damage, but are incredibly annoying. These infestations normally form in clusters. If an infested plant is disturbed, you’ll notice swarms of tiny bugs emerge from the soil. Neither mature gnats or larvae will disturb your plants. 

The larvae like to live in the soil and feed off the moisture. This means that if you notice your plants are a little dryer than normal, and you’re overwatering, you might just be feeding the problem!

To get rid of fungus gnats, change out the infested soil with new soil. Make sure to check for any rotting roots, as adult fungus gnats like to snack on them. Next, regulate your watering, as this will also prevent rotting roots.    


Aphids can cause a lot of problems if they’re not handled properly. These are tiny tear-drop shaped bugs and can be all sorts of colors. Some species of aphids have wings, which can easily be mistaken for flying gnats

These infestations like to form in groups underneath plant leaves. Aphids will suck plant sap, resulting in deformities or stunted plant growth. These pests are a little harder to control, but it’s not impossible.

Aphids are deterred by strong-smelling scents and essential oils like peppermint or neem. You can easily make your own DIY plant spray to deter aphids. 

Finally, spread a small layer of diatomaceous earth along the soil. This natural solution is a sure-fire way to kill off any existing infestations. 

Spider mites

Spider mites are not only creepy looking, they also cause major issues for your plants and your home! Most spider mite infections will need a magnifying glass to really see them. You can tell you have an infestation if you find silky webbing around your plants. At second glance, you may find some tiny specks crawling along the webs. These are spider mites!

There’s no need to panic if you do find a spider mite infestation on your plants. As creepy as they are, you can get rid of them pretty quickly. 

To get rid of spider mites, water down and brush off all the mite webs. Next, change your plant’s soil with fresh soil and clean out the pot. If you notice any dead or rotting roots, be sure to cut them off. Similarly with aphids, you’ll want to make a DIY plant protection spray and spread some diatomaceous earth.   

Step Four: Getting Rid of Tiny Black Bugs on Plants

If you’ve been taking notes, there are some ways you can implement pest control into your regular plant-care routine. Ultimately, the best way to get rid of any tiny black bugs on your plants is by not inviting infestations. This means taking steps towards:

1. Controlling soil moisture with a regular watering schedule and properly draining your plants.

2. Preventing fungal growth by watering your plants from the bottom of your pots and inspecting plants for rotting roots.

3. Using a high-quality soil with draining properties. Be sure to never reuse soil and throw out any old soil. 

4. Using preventative pest control sprays and other DIY’s to deter pests from going near your plants. 

5. Killing off any current infestations with natural moisture absorbing products like diatomaceous earth.

6. Properly storing and cleaning all gardening tools and soil.

Step Five: Preventing Future Infestations

As long as you follow our tips, your plants should be safe from all harm! If you do find that your plants or your home is frequently seeing these little visitors, you may have another infestation at bay. 

Call one of Pest Brigade partners for a free consultation on your infestation. Our experts can tell you some more signs of infestation and what infestations commonly occur with plants.   

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