Use A Biological Control Agent To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats In House Plant Soil
Using insect-parasitic nematodes is a great way to control fungus gnats biologically. An insect-parasitic nematode is a type of roundworm that is invisible to the naked eye. Steinernema Feltiae is a highly effectively parasitic nematode to use when treating house plant soil for fungus gnats.
When used to get rid of gnat larvae, they are poured onto the soil in a solution. The roundworms then set to work destroying the fungus gnats in a fairly disturbing way.
The microscopic worms enter the gnats via the mouth, breathing pores and other orifices and release bacteria that actually digest the gnat from the inside out. It can take up to 4 days for this method to be effective in getting rid of fungus gnat larvae. For all intents and purposes, the fungus gnats are attacked and devoured by these microscopic round worms.
Make An Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
This fungus gnat trap is exceptionally effective at eliminating fungus gnats from the home. Fungus gnats, as well as fruit flies, are attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar.
To effectively deal with gnats around your houseplants, you can make a simple homemade fungus gnat trap using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and dish soap.
DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
- ¾ cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 8 drops of liquid dish soap
- Mason jar with lid
Place the vinegar in the jar and add the dish soap. Stir the ingredients to combine. Take the lid of the pot and create small holes using a nail and hammer. The holes should be approximately ½ a centimeter in diameter.
Place the top on the pot and set it in an area that fungus gnats have infested. The scent of the apple cider will attract the gnats, and they will enter the jar through the holes in the top.
When they hover over the surface of the liquid, the dish soap will reduce the tension of the solution, and the gnats will drown. This method will also work with any leftover red wine that you might have in place of the apple cider vinegar.
What Are Fungus Gnats And How Do They Get In The House
Fungus gnats, also known as soil gnats, are small dark insects that look similar to fruit flies and live in the soil of houseplants. When you have them, you will notice them when you water your plants or disturb the soil in other ways.
One way to get fungus gnats is to leave your houseplants outside. Most often, though, they come straight from the nursery. You dont realize it because they hide in the soil until you bring them home unknowingly.
Their larvae eat plant roots and fungi in the soil. Then they suddenly appear in houseplants after the larvae hatch.
How To Prevent Fungus Gnats In The Future
The best way to prevent another fungus gnat infestation down the road is to check plants thoroughly before you bring them home from a greenhouse. You should do the same with any outdoor plants you might bring inside for the winter, too. Ruffle the plants leaves and see if any fungus gnats fly out. If so, youll want to avoid taking that plant home or bringing it inside.
Gettig also suggests plants from greenhouses or outdoors undergo a quarantine before introducing them to the rest of your houseplants, even if they seem to be fine. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks before you see something emerge, he says. Just keep the plant in a different room and monitor it for up to a month to be safe. If you suddenly see fungus gnats flying around, Gettig says to either bag it and remove it from your home or treat it using the methods above.
Now that you know how to get rid of fungus gnats, discover the eight best annual flowers for planter pots.
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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
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Why Are My Indoor Plants Attracting Gnats
You may notice fungus gnats seem to mysteriously appear at night, buzzing around lights or electronic devices. That’s because gnats on indoor plants are attracted to light. But it’s not light they need to survive.
Gnats are usually drawn to decaying plant material or moist soil, where they live and typically reproduce. Because the soil in your indoor plant pots stays moist for long and takes longer to dry out, many mistakenly overwater their house plants.
Unfortunately, this overwatering creates the ideal environment for gnats.
How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnat Infestations
Fungus gnats are unwelcome guest in any home. If you’ve discovered fungus gnats in your house it is important to take quick action to stop the infestation before it grows.
One of the most common fly species found in homes, fungus gnats enter residential properties when fungi sprout on access moisture in or around a residence.
In addition to scaring away house guests and annoying homeowners, fungus gnats can also spread diseases like E. coli and salmonella.
Is your property infested with fungus gnats? Call Ehrlich at 1-800-837-5520 or to set up a free inspection with a licensed Technician.
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Are Fungus Gnats Harmful To Plants Or People
Fungus gnats are not harmful to people, aside from being annoying! In small numbers, they are not harmful to your houseplants either. However, the University of California warns that when left unchecked, large populations of fungus gnats can become damaging to plants. Their larvae may begin to feed on the plants roots, which causes stress, yellowing, wilting, and potential death of the plant in the most serious cases. Fungus gnats can also spread disease that leads to damping off a condition when young plants or seedlings suddenly wilt and die.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Gnats
Have you been severely troubled by fungus gnats, therefore, seeking the quickest means on how to get rid of fungus gnats? If youve had enough of fungus gnats and are tired of seeing your plants wilt away, this is the right spot for you!
Here are some of the fastest, natural methods that would get rid of fungus:
1. Vacuum them up
This is perhaps the fastest way ever to get rid of fungus gnats its fun too!
Wherever you see a swarm of fungus gnats around your indoor plant or in your kitchen, a quick way to kill them and get rid of them from that space is to use a good vacuum cleaner. Turn on the vacuum cleaner, preferably a handheld vacuum cleaner, aim it at the area where you noticed them swarmed up, and slowly revolve the suction point or filter around for about 20 seconds.
Yeah, you can thank me later by coming back for more content! Youre welcome.
2. The Bacillus Thuringiensis method
Bacillus Thuringiensis is a microbial insecticide that lives in the soil. It kills fungus gnats by producing a toxic protein to gnats when ingested, which would conclusively lead to starvation for the gnats.
Bacillus Thuringiensis is harmless to humans, plants, and pets. It can be applied to the plants from a spray bottle once a week. Its effect becomes obvious after a couple of days.
3. Beneficial Nematodes
When the larvae are out of nutrition for the nematodes, they exit the body and begin searching for a new host.
4. Neem Oil
5. Apple cider traps
- A disposable cup
- Apple cider
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Biological Control To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats In Houseplants
Have you heard of insect-parasitic nematodes? These roundworms, invisible to the naked eye are highly effective in eliminating fungus gnats. Steinernema feltiae is their enemy number one.
Pour them in a solution and then into the soil to get rid of larvae. The way beneficial nematodes destroy the larvae is quite picturesque, some even say slightly disturbing.
What they do is enter through the gnats mouths, breathing pores and start digesting them from the inside. Within approximately four days, the larvae will be gone.
How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014. This article has been viewed 35,413 times.
Fungus gnats are an annoying pest that thrive in damp conditions. If your potted plants or garden beds are infested with small black flies, you may be facing this problem. Keeping soil dry is the number one way to get rid of fungus gnats. If the problem is severe, you can also use a variety of traps, insecticides, and other controls to reduce the gnats. Be persistent, and you can soon be rid of this pest.
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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.
How To Control Fungus Gnats On House Plants
Gardening and plant experts Geoff Hanbury & Andy McIndoe discuss fungus gnats.
Andy: Fungus gnats are those annoying, tiny little black flies that you find wafting around your pot plants.
They are notoriously difficult to get rid of and I never know how to advise gardeners on this one. I was particularly interested to hear from Geoff Hanbury who has researched all the possible solutions:
Geoff: Despite being one of the most common indoor plant pests, fungus gnats are notoriously hardy and difficult to get rid of.
They are drawn to moist conditions and, as their name suggests, feed on fungus and other organic matter. In their larval form they eat plant roots, which can make them a potentially lethal infestation for young or vulnerable plants.
In their adult form they can be identified by their long legs, squat body and their semblance to tiny mosquitos. In their larval form they are white or translucent and around 5mm long, with a distinctive black head.
There are no-end of effective remedies online in gardening forums, but it is hard to know exactly which method is the most effective.
I decided to put my recent fungus gnat infestation to good use by putting the most popular remedies to the test.
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Heres What Doesnt Work
I tried a lot of things I read online. Here are some suggestions I tried that yielded unsatisfactory results.
Neem oil spray can be effective against a variety of plant-destroying insects. But unless you really, really soak the top 3 inches of the soil, it wont kill all the fungus gnat larvae. At best, it seems to weigh down the flying adults enough that theyre easier to swat.
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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What Causes Lots Of Gnats In The House
Gnats are attracted by:
Warm, humid atmospheres, which you can fix by checking for leaks and damp, airing spaces and investing in a dehumidifier.
Poor housekeeping: wiping up spills, draining standing water, keeping drains clean, sealing garbage cans and putting away uneaten food, fruit and veg will help deter them.
Overwatered plants: you’ll notice them when you water plants, as they will suddenly appear from the soil in a plume. Allowing soil to dry out completely between watering will make soil less attractive to them.
What Is A Gnat Anyway
Not all gnats are bad. Some help pollinate plants and eat garden pests. There are four tiny, flying species commonly referred to as gnats:
- Drain flies. These tiny pests are often found in or around drains, sewers, septic tanks and areas where sewage has leaked.
- Fruit flies. These gnats are attracted to rotting or fresh fruits and vegetables, moist organic materials and liquids like soft drinks, wine and vinegar.
- Phorid flies. Like drain flies, phorids hang around garbage, drains and rotting fruits and vegetables.
- Fungus gnats. These are often found around overwatered houseplants when organic matter in the soil starts to decay. Their larvae feed on plant roots, causing leaves to turn yellow and drop or entire plants to wilt and die. Fungus gnats can also spread a pathogen that causes damping-off, a condition that kills seeds before they sprout and weakens or kills seedlings just after sprouting.
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What Are Fungus Gnats
Fungus Gnats make up 6 of the 7 families in the superfamily Sciaroidea. They can be helpful because they aid in the decomposition of organic matter, like in compost. They’re typically just annoying, but there are predator types in the Arachnocampa genus in the Keroplatidae family.
The are also pollinators and even can aid in the spreading of mushroom spores.
The main problem associated with them is they carry diseases that are particularly deadly to plants, such as pythium, which causes a condition called damping-off, as mentioned below.
Unlike other pests, you can find these year-round due to their bodily make-up including antifreeze proteins that makes them exceptionally tolerant of cold weather.
What Is A Fungus Gnat And How Do They Get In Houseplants
Fungus gnats are not very big at all. In fact, they only grow to around a quarter of an inch in length. You might think that they are too small to cause much damage at all, but unfortunately their larvae can and will damage your plants.
Fungus Gnats are part of a family of insects that include Bolitophilidae, Diadocidiidae, Keroplatidae, Ditomyiidae, and Diptera. Fungus gnats thrive in moist environments and typically seek them out. Naturally, they are found in damp forest areas and typically feed on mushrooms and decaying plant matter.
Fungus gnats do not hibernate in winter like other insects do, which means that they can be a problem all year round.
As gnat larvae like decaying plant material and algae, they seek out damp environments. Fungus gnats are attracted to the following:
- Houseplants that are overwatered
- Bright light
- Mold and mildew
- Wet or warm environments
If this sounds familiar, it is time to get towork making your home and garden a less gnat-friendly environment.
An organic way to test for fungus gnat larvae isby using a slice of raw potato. Push slices or wedges of potato onto thesurface of the soil and leave them there for a few days. The larvae will startfeeding on the potato on the underside of the slice/wedge. Turn the wedges orslices over and see how many larvae have made their way to it. You can useseveral slices to draw gnats out of your soil.
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