5 Steps to Get Rid of Tiny Black Bugs on Plants

5 Steps to Get Rid of Tiny Black Bugs on Plants

You’ve probably seen those tiny black bugs flying around your tomatoes, in your house, and on your plants. Most of the time, a couple of little bugs won’t harm your plants too much. But, if your plants are infested with tiny black bugs, they can rot plants. Those tiny black bugs in your plant soil or along your stems could actually be a number of different pests.

We asked professional exterminators how to get rid of the tiny bugs on all your indoor plants. To find solutions to get rid of those annoying black bugs on plants scroll down to step four.

Also Read: 7 Types of Plant Pests

Step One: Finding Evidence of Black Bugs on Plants

These bugs are quite tiny, so you may not immediately spot them. If you find some black bugs on one tomato plant, you might want to check the rest of your plant collection! Inspect your plants for infestations by looking for:

  1. Misshapen or discolored leaves and stems.
  2. Deformed fruit, vegetables, and flowers. 
  3. A sticky substance or a sugary liquid.
  4. Black fungal growth or sooty mold.
  5. Abnormal growths on plants. 
  6. Other infestations like ants and ladybugs. 

The sticky or sugary substance on plants is actually honeydew. Honeydew is a leftover residue leftover from feeding. Honeydew and excess moisture can create harmful fungus, mold, and abnormal growths. If the infestation is really bad, you’ll also notice other bugs preying on the tiny black bugs.

Seasonal Read: The 5 Best Mosquito Traps | Professional Review

Step Two: Find The Source of the Infestation

Tiny black bugs are quite common for plant owners. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get rid of them. There are a few reasons you may have a black bug infestation.

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. The plant may have had eggs hiding in the soil before it even got to the store.

When buying new plants, isolate the new plant for a week or two. During this time, be sure to follow our tips on keeping black bugs off plants. This way, you’ll ensure that your other plants won’t become infested.  

Also Read: 5 Natural Pest Control DIYs You Need To Try

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

As the weather changes, you might move your plants to get more sunlight. 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 a natural anti-pest spray. Next, change your plant’s soil with a fresh mix. This keeps your plants healthy and prevents new infestations. 

You may have another infestation 

Finding those tiny black bugs could mean you have another infestation. These ants commonly prey on these tiny bugs. The leftover honeydew exposes your plants to gnats and other sucking insects! If you do find another infestation, you should take steps towards getting rid of those pests too.  

Also Read: How To Get Rid of Gnats

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 and are normally small clusters. If you shake or move an infected plant, a swarm of gnats will emerge from the soil immediately. Fungus gnats won’t disturb your plant’s health but they expose your plant to more infestations. 

The larvae like to live in the soil and feed off the moisture. If you notice your plants are a little dryer than normal, and you’re overwatering, you’re only feeding into 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 these parts. Be sure to regulate your watering. This will also prevent any rotting roots and future infestations.    


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

Aphids form in groups underneath plant leaves. Aphids will suck plant sap, which can deform or stunt a plant’s growth. They’re a little harder to control, but it’s not impossible.

You can get rid of aphids with these natural DIY solutions. Aphids are deterred by strong-smelling scents and essential oils like peppermint or neem. You can easily create an anti-aphid spray to water your plants with neem. Finally, spread a small layer of diatomaceous earth.

Also Read: Neem Oil Guide For Pest Control and Diatomaceous Earth Guide

Spider mites

Spider mites are not only creepy looking, but they also cause major issues for your plants and your home! Most spider mite infestations will need a magnifying glass to really see them. You can tell you have an infestation if you find silky webbing around your plants.

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

There are plenty of 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:

  • Using a regular watering schedule and properly draining your plants.
  • Preventing fungal growth by watering your plants from the bottom of your pots.
  • Cutting off rotten roots and regularly changing the soil.
  • Using high-quality soil with draining properties and never reusing old soil.
  • Using natural pest control sprays.
  • Sprinkling diatomaceous earth to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Properly storing and cleaning all gardening tools and soil.

As a natural solution to plant pests, try diatomaceous earth and neem oil. These products kill off pests quickly (within 24 to 72 hours) without harming your plants.

Step Five: Preventing Future Infestations

As long as you follow our tips, your plants should be safe from harmful pests. If you do find that your plants are frequently seeing these little visitors, you may have another infestation in your home. If your infestations persist even after following these tips, call an exterminator to inspect your home for ants or other plant-loving insects.

Also Read: 10 Pest Control Tips All Homeowners Should Know

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