Signs Of A Gnat Infestation
Sometimes called “no-see-ums” due to their incredibly tiny size, gnats are very commonly confused with a variety of other flying pests . If you are finding small, flying insects inside your home and you want to get rid of them, first determine which pest is causing the issue.
Every pest is different, and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before formulating a treatment plan. Unlike with other pests, though, your first hint of a problem will usually be seeing the flies themselves flitting around, not discovering their droppings, nests, or other evidence.
Use The Power Of Spuds
Another easy option is to use any leftover potatoes you have lying around. Simply cut them into small, half-inch pieces and lay them on top of the soil of your planter.
It’ll only take a day or two for the larvae to climb out of the soil and feed on the potatoes.
When the spuds have done their job, seal them in a plastic bag and throw them away.
Why Do Plants Get Fungus Gnats
This question needs a twofold answer. On the one hand, fungus gnats are very small animals that lay many eggs, so, it is easy for them to enter any place in search for a good place to call home.But there is another, and more preventable cause of fungus gnats in houseplants, and, like with many other plant issues it has to do with watering.
These cute little creatures in fact like to feast on moist organic matter. The more abundantly you water your plants, the more likely you are to have these unwanted guests.Soil that is particularly rich in organic matter is also more likely to attract these prolific insects.
To be honest, they do sometimes pose a problem also with plants that grow in soil that is less rich in organic matter, like succulents and cacti, for example.
Still, the more organic matter you have in your pot, the more they will find it appealing.
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Goodbye Fungus Gnats How To Get Rid Of Gnats In Plants
Now you can enjoy your houseplants without having to tolerate any unwanted guests. Wondering how to get rid of fungus gnats? You arent alone! Learn how to prevent and how to get rid of gnats in plants naturally.
Theres something refreshing about having houseplants inside your home. They breathe life into a house and also add a nice colorful flair.
Houseplants bring a wonderful, lovely dose of nature indoors where you need it most, further helping us by purifying the air in our homes.
However, at some point, you might notice some unwelcome visitors making your houseplants their home. Im talking about fungus gnatsthose annoying little flies that appear whenever you water your plants. Ugh! Do these houseplant pests plague your plant babies too?
Dont worry, if you are having gnat problems, there are simpleand naturalways to not only prevent but also get rid of fungus gnats in soil.
Disclaimer: First, a disclaimer. I love living things and try to support natural insects anytime I can. For example, in the outdoor garden, I work to create a natural ecosystem that supports predators for the pests that attack my plants.
Indoor plants, however, have only a few natural predators that want to kill fungus gnats the people and pets they annoy! Unfortunately, the only reasonable way to get rid of fungus gnats in your house is to kill off the pests you have and treat your plants to prevent future infestations.
In this post, we will cover:
Fungus Gnat Control: How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats
This page is a general Fungus Gnat control guide. Using the products and methods suggested you will get control of Fungus Gnats. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee 100% control of Fungus Gnats.
If you enjoy having plants indoors to liven up the place, one annoying drawback may be encountering Fungus Gnats. You may have had Fungus Gnats flying around your potted plants indoors or see them gathered outside your window aching to get in. These nuisances not only are irritating to remove from your home, they can also damage plants if measures are not taken to control them.
Fungus Gnats are attracted to fungi and decaying matter. The potted plants inside our home, especially ones that have moist soil from overwatering, provide Fungus Gnats with the perfect environment where they can thrive.
Plants can be damaged by Fungus Gnats via their habit of laying eggs on the plant and eating the decaying organic matter and fungus growing in the soil but they will also eat plant roots. Fungus gnats thrive in indoor environments and grow their populations to large amounts mainly due to the moisture levels being ideal indoors.
If you are dealing with pesky Fungus Gnats in or around your house, our DIY guide below will tell you a little about this pest and how to get rid of them quickly and affordably using expert advice and professional product recommendations.
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Life Cycle Of Fungus Gnats
The life cycle of the fungus gnat is made up of four stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Adult fungus gnats lay about three hundred eggs in their short lifespan. They typically live for about a week as adults, so they make the most of their time! Adults lay eggs in rich and fertile, moist soil at the base of house plants on the soil surface.
About four to six days after the eggs are laid, the gnat larvae emerge. These larvae are extremely tiny at first. During the roughly two-week period in which fungus gnat larvae grow, they rapidly increase in size by eating their way through organic matter in the soil. Once theyve achieved maximum larval growth, there will be a 3-4 day pupal phase. The pupae will be hidden under the soils surface, and when the fungus gnat adult emerges, they start laying eggs again.
Because of this quick life cycle, multiple generations of fungus gnat are often born in quick succession as larvae feed. Subsequently, overlapping generations of adults emerge from the soil surface. Therefore, many stages of the life cycle may be present at any given time. Not only do you need to get rid of the annoying gnats themselves, but you need to deal with the larvae and find a way to sterilize the eggs before the eggs hatch.
Most Common Types Of Gnats Youll Find Inside
People refer to several fly species as gnats, and each is attracted to something different. Its essential to identify which species of gnat youre dealing with if you want to find out whats attracting them to your home. Some of the most common house-dwelling gnats are listed below.
Regardless of what you are specifically dealing with however, it is always important to keep in mind that there are some main things that attract gnats into your home, and getting rid of them can help with you problems!
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How To Identify A Fungus Gnat Infestation
If a large gnat infestation has broken out, you may notice the soil of growing medium or containers of organic matter being moist.
The larvae will sign your plants! However, their signature will be unrequited and displeasing to look at. This is because they will mark the growing plants with slime trails, replicating snails or slugs.
The adult fungus gnats will have a fetish for light, and you may observe them swarming around a light source- like a lamp or window. However, they still cherish their devotion to soil and will never stray far from the plants they have selected as sustenance.
Another signal of a gnat infestation is when you detect them crawling across and resting on top of growing medium, compost, wet mulch, or plant foliage.
Castile Soap Essential Oil Solution
If you see large numbers of fungus gnats, then one organic insecticide to try is a castile soap solution. For those of you who do not know, this is not a generic soap. Castile soap was made in the Mediterranean area before its use spread to Europe. Traditionally, castile soap was made of olive oil. It gets its name from the Castile region of Spain.
Castile soap is produced based only on vegetables with no animal fat or synthetic ingredients. This is a 100% organic soap that will not damage the environment when it ends up in the drain. It is not toxic, and it is usually sold both in liquid and solid form. These days, the soap is also made with coconut, castor, or hemp oils. Sometimes its made with avocado, walnut, and almond oils as well.
Castile soap is not meant to be used as an insecticide but mainly as a body cleaning product due to its lathering, moisturizing, and cleansing properties. However, there are more than 20 uses of this soap, from deodorant, dish soap, shampoo, body wash, and plant spray for bugs.
In case you want to use this soap as a fungus gnats killer, here what to do:
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Biological Control Of Fungus Gnats Bacillus Thuringiensis
Another non-toxic way to treat fungus gnats is to use biological controls, such as Bacillus Thuringiensis. Specifically the subspecies israelensis, also known as Bti. Bti is a naturally-occurring bacterium that is found in soil.According to the EPA, Bti contains spores that produce toxins that specifically target and only affect the larvae of the mosquitoes, blackfly and fungus gnats. Meaning, it is not harmful to other organisms.
You may have heard us talk about Bt before, but note that there are a few different types of Bt! Bti is the one that is effective against fungus gnats, while this Bt product targets caterpillars such as cabbage moth worms and cabbage loopers, but is ineffective at killing fungus gnats.
To apply Bti, follow the instructions for a soil drench on the product that you purchase. It is usually recommended to water the plant with the solution, since only spraying the surface of the soil may not penetrate deep enough to kill all of the fungus gnat larvae. Repeat as needed, following the instructions. One popular option is this Gnatrol brand. Get it? Natural gnat control
Soil Choice & Modifications
When potting up a new houseplant, use a reputable quality bagged potting soil. One that has been pasteurized or sterilized shouldnt have live eggs, larvae, or flies in it. Avoid using soil from your yard, as it may bring unwanted pests inside along with it.
After potting your houseplant, consider adding a layer of horticultural sand to the top of the soil. You can water the plant through the sand, and meanwhile it will deter fungus gnats from laying eggs in the pot. In addition to sand, there are other soil-topping products like this one that are specially made to eliminate fungus gnats from your potted plants.
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Smother Your Plant’s Soil
It’s easy to prevent the larvae from climbing out and thriving by layering a chunky layer of course sand or aquarium gravel over the top of the soil.
This technique works because fruit flies and gnats like to lay eggs in the top layer of soil. Pack it well, and you’ll find the larvae will get trapped underneath, smother, and die.
Get Rid Of Plant Debris
As I already mentioned, female fungus gnats tend to lay eggs in decaying plant residue.
Plant debris is some sort of utopia for fungus gnats. It is the main source of decaying plant material and this is where adult female fungus gnats love laying eggs. By maintaining the soil clean from debris, you minimize the chances for potting soil to become populated by fungus gnats.
What counts as plant debris? Leaves, flowers, fruit, sticks, and similar are the materials that represent the cozy organic matter. In addition to this, compost filled with bark can be attractive to gnats, as it traps too much moisture, and becomes a potential home, sweet home to tiny invaders,
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How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide On Soil For Dense Infestation
If the population of the larvae and fungus gnats seem to be increasing abundantly, it is time to bring out your aggressive persona and flush them out.
The first step is to deprive the plant of water and dry it out over some time.
It must be noted that when you use this hydrogen peroxide treatment, the liquid will have to drain out. Hence, it would be appropriate to shift your plants outdoors or to a sink.
Proceed to make your hydrogen peroxide solution in a container. Same as before, you will have to dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water in the ratio of 1:4.
Drench the soil with this mixture until the liquid flows out from the pots drainage holes- located underneath it. You should wait for around 10 minutes before repeating this process.
This hydrogen peroxide treatment not only immediately terminates the larvae but also makes sure the tiny cadavers are flushed out of your soil. It also flushes out the excess salt found in the growing medium, giving the plant a refresh.
Let The Soil In Potted Plants Dry Out To Deter Gnats
As a first step, allow the soil around your house plants to dry out. Fungus gnats need a damp habitat to thrive, and cutting back on water to your plants and letting the soil air out will kill off any fungus gnat larvae that may be in the soil already and make your plant less attractive to adult fungus gnats who may be elsewhere in your home.
This should be the first part of a treatment plan for a fungus gnat infestation. While allowing the soil in your plants will give them fewer places to breed, adding one of the following methods to your plan will be needed to completely eliminate this pesky problem.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Fungus Gnats
There are a few things you can do to help prevent fungus gnats in your houseplants. Some might work better than others depending on the plant, so try them out and see what works best.
1. Let the top few inches of soil dry out
Letting the top few inches of soil dry out helps to keep things healthy and to prevent the moist environment necessary for fungus gnat breeding. Watering in planters without drainage holes can also lead to soil retaining too much moisture, so its best to avoid that too.
2. Aerate the soil
I like to occasionally aerate the soil in my potted plants to help promote air flow. This not only helps with moisture issues in the top few inches of the soilit also helps prevent the soil from caking together too much and shrinking from the sides of the pots. I like to use a fork or a chopstick for this. Or, if Im being honest, my fingers.
3. Bottom watering your plants
Bottom watering your plants is one way to help prevent fungus gnats. Some plants like to keep their soil moist, so its not a great idea to let them dry out too much between waterings. Bottom watering is when you set a planter with a drainage hole into water and let the plant soak the water up through the hole.
This helps to prevent fungus gnats because the top layer of soil is never really wet. The bottom-most layer of soil gets moist, and the roots pull up the moisture. I bottom water some of the plants I have because it keeps water from pooling on leavesfor example, my hoya carnosa compacta.
Apply Insecticides To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats In House Plants
Many house plant owners want to sort the problem of fungus gnats out as quickly as possible, with insecticide. Different insecticides will be required for the adults and the larvae as they respond differently to treatments. New adults are usually born on the surface of the potting soil, so it is best to apply the insecticide to the soils surface.
There is no need to spray the insecticide onto the actual plant as the gnats typically infest the soil and head for the roots and the algae in the soil.
You can choose to use a mild or natural option such as Neem Oil or dish soap, but they are not as effective on fungus gnats as some other commercial options.
If you are looking for highly-effective and reliable insecticides for getting rid of gnats not just immediately, but long term, look for products that contain permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and lambdacyhalothrin.
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The Three Hydrogen Peroxide Treatments For A Fungus Gnat Infestation
Various situations of infestation will call for different solutions. However, all of these situations will have one problem in common- fungal gnats. Therefore, they will all have one super ingredient in common- 3% hydrogen peroxide.
If you want to address the fungal infestation straight away, it is essential that you immediately equip yourself with a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide from Bulk Peroxides shop!
How To Control Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats, thankfully, are nothing more than a tiny annoyance. They are harmless to humans, and the adult gnats wont feed on your plants, unlike many other common houseplant pests, so fungus gnat control is rather straightforward.
They look for moist organic materials, like fir bark and peat moss, which you can find in many potting mixes, and if you tend to overwater your plants, youll draw them in like flies. If you discover a gnat infestation in your home, youll want to treat your plants quickly.
- Adult 7-10 days
How long do gnats live? The fungus gnat life cycle is quick, and they can quickly take over your entire interior plants if they are left untreated. Most of the fungus gnats are female and can lay up to 300 eggs in the crevices of the soil, and the fungus gnat eggs will hatch into larvae within six days.
Once the larvae hatch from their eggs, they will feed on the plant roots, damaging them and making them more susceptible to disease. In less than two weeks, they emerge from the soil as adults and start the cycle over again.
Many of the following DIY solutions need nothing more than a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen or bathroom. Continue reading for the best pest control methods for dealing with fungus gnats in your home.
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