White Worms in the Soil of a Ficus House Plant


Ficus plants can be a wonderful addition to any household, bringing life and color to otherwise pale environments. Unfortunately, these plants can also attract various pests that can infest the soil of the plant and bring diseases into the home. Fungus gnats are well known to invade indoor house plants and may wreak havoc on your otherwise serene space.

Fungal Gnat Larvae

Fungal gnats, although dangerous to plants, do not carry diseases that can transfer to homeowners. Still, root rot and foliage fungi can be spread by adult gnats as they leave their eggs within your plants. These diseases are often fatal to otherwise healthy plants.

Life Cycle

Fungal gnat eggs are deposited into the soil of various plants in quantities as great as 100 to 300 at a time. Within four days, the eggs will hatch into white larvae and continue to grow as they feed off the plant stems and root hairs. As they feed, the plant will lose resources and the ability to absorb nutrients, withering and turning yellow. After about two weeks, the gnats will pupate in small cocoons and emerge within days as full flying adults.


Ficus plants should be thoroughly inspected before purchase. Be aware that over-watering your ficus will create perfect living conditions for larvae and further develop the problem.


After purchasing from a local garden store, the eggs of predatory mites can be placed on the soil where they will hatch and grow into adults. The mites will attack and kill at least seven larvae every day, until the problem has been solved.


Some plant owners use yellow cards to help remove the adult gnats from their homes. The cards are covered with a sticky adherent that gnats and other flying insects fly toward. The yellow color attracts and then ultimately traps the insect onto the sticky card. Add yellow cards to your plant whether or not infestation has taken place to prevent adult gnats from laying eggs. Other people choose to use small pieces of potato placed on the surface of the soil to trap burrowing larvae. Every day remove the potato piece and place it outside to keep larvae from developing within the home.

Keywords: ficus house plant, fungus gnat larvae, common plant pests

About this Author

Jonathan Budzinski started his writing career in 2007. His work appears on websites such as eHow and WordGigs. Budzinski specializes in nonprofit topics, as he spent two years with Basic Rights Oregon and WomanSpace. He has received recognition as a Shining Star Talent Scholar in English while studying English at the University of Oregon.