First time grower, bugs are killing my plants!

Huntington Beach, CA

Hello. I have a few plants in my backyard that until a few days ago where doing great! Now two of them have leaves turning brown and rottting! I suspect it has to do with all the ants and little flying bugs running around the soil. All plants are potted btw. And i live in southern california, orange county if that helps at all. If anyone is able to id them could you please also post a natural solution to kill them and keep more from coming back? Thanks!

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Minot, ND

The images are not clear enough for me to be confident of an identification, but I would include fungus gnats among the possibilities. Their larvae (maggots) sometimes can damage tender roots and stems; they do not damage leaves. I suspect that you have more of a disease problem than an insect one. If you do have fungus gnats, the best control is to let the soil in potted plants dry out as much as practical between waterings - fungus gnat maggots prefer very wet/waterlogged soil, especially if abundant organic matter is present.

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