Insects infesting soil in outdoor potted plants - not fungus gnats

Asked June 13, 2015, 8:40 AM EDT

There are swarms of flying insects that I have never seen before that have infested all of the potted plants on my deck. They seem to burrow down in the soil of the plants. The insects are about 1/4 of an inch long and are black and almost look like ants. They fly around quickly. Attached is a photo. Can you please tell me how to rid my plants of these pests? I have seen fungus gnats before and I don't think these are fungus gnats because they are much larger than gnats. Thank you.

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

We cannot identify the fly by the photo. No, it doesn't look like fungus gnats.
You can try sending a better photo.

However, we'd recommend that you allow the potting soil to dry down about 1-2" inbetween waterings. If the insect is a predator, it could be targeting the larvae of fungus gnats.


Here is a better photo of the bugs with a centimeter ruler.
The plants did not have fungus gnats before these bugs appeared, so I don't think they are predators of the fungus gnat larvae.
There are still swarms of them around all of my potted plants, and they dig down into the soil. I have let the soil get as dry as possible without killing the plants but that doesn't seem to bother these flying bugs at all.

These appear to be a type of flying ants.Check your plants for aphids,they exude a "honey dew' , a favorite food for ants.