How To Get Rid Of Houseplant Gnats Naturally

We plant lovers don’t want to witness plants being harmed by pests. The problem enters our homes, which is gross, therefore we especially don’t want to see pests in our houseplants! Fungus gnats are pesky, winged insects with little wings that resemble mosquitoes and are about the size of fruit flies. The good news is that compared to many other pests, these plant flies cause significantly less harm, and even better, they’re rather simple to get rid of.

Long legs, transparent wings, and a preference for nutrient-rich, damp soils are characteristics of fungus gnats. These little flies may be seen flying around plant containers, but unlike some more dangerous pests, you won’t observe them actually chewing on the plant’s foliage. However, you will see them in the soil, feeding on the organic matter and hairs from plant roots. Do not underestimate the damage that these bugs can still do if not addressed.

Even though adult fungus gnats only live for about a week, they can have a big impact in that short time by producing up to 300 eggs under the correct circumstances. With such a quick turnaround and a brief life cycle of about 3–4 weeks, populations can grow incredibly quickly.

It’s rather simple to tell if your plant has a fungus gnat issue. Since these plant flies can’t fly very well, they usually stay rather near to the plant. They’ll probably be moving in zigzag patterns while you watch them. It’s typical to witness all the different phases of this bug at once because they reproduce so quickly. It’s likely that some bugs still in their larval stage will be visible if you gently agitate the soil. They inhabit the earth where they eat organic debris and have translucent bodies and glossy, black heads.

Our plants are getting ready to settle in for the upcoming cold season as winter approaches here in North Dakota. Unfortunately, that signals that these pesky bug populations are about to reach their peak. During this time, dormant plants use less water, which causes their soil to stay moist for longer. Gnats thrive in moist soils because they promote root rot and fungus. Be cautious when bringing delicate plants inside to overwinter since you run the risk of inviting unwelcome pests into your house.

Your plants will start to exhibit signs of stress if ignored and neglected. Fungus gnats don’t directly harm plant leaves, but they eat the root hairs and deplete the soil of vital minerals. This may result in abrupt plant withering and yellowing of the leaves, sluggish development, and a general decline in vigor.

When tackling any pest, you should always start with natural management approaches. The least hazardous and disruptive to your plant and house are typically natural and organic remedies, while chemicals may occasionally be required as a second line of defense. Fortunately, most fungus gnat populations may be controlled and eliminated naturally provided they are discovered and dealt with in a timely manner. Remember that one plant container can hold three to four generations of bugs, so you’ll probably need to apply your favorite approach more than once. Gnats in your indoor plants can be managed in the following ways:

Do not overwater. Before watering your indoor plants, allow the top couple of inches of soil to dry up. This will not only stop fungus gnats from deciding that your plant would make the best place for them to live, but it will also interfere with their reproductive cycle and assist to reduce populations that have already moved in.

Activate sticky traps. Not just for mice, either! Sticky traps are easy fixes for many pest issues. Gnats that are moving will be caught if you place them immediately on the soil’s surface. To stop them from laying eggs, remove them from the trap, discard them, and replace it frequently (every two to three days). Particularly effective at drawing these insects, yellow traps are.

Create vinegar and cider traps.

Mix equal volumes of cider and vinegar in a shallow dish or can to act as a trap for fruit flies. Lay the trap on the soil surface inside the container or even next to the damaged plant. The concoction will attract the bugs, who will then fall into it and drown.

Bring in useful nematodes. Although it may seem counterproductive to introduce additional bugs into the equation, doing so is a simple way to reduce pest numbers. Nematodes are incredibly minute, worm-like insects that are frequently invisible to the unaided eye. In their larval stage, they attempt to infiltrate fungus gnats and other insects, releasing a bacteria that eventually consumes the pest from the inside out. When you think about it, it’s awful and disgusting, but not as disgusting as allowing gnats to devour your prized houseplants!

If all else fails, there are always insecticidal goods and sprays to keep pest numbers under control. There are many products available that either target the adult stage or the larval stage, but either is OK. You should be able to get rid of these unpleasant plant flies in a few of weeks as long as you successfully target one phase of their life cycle and reapply often.

Larvae are easily eliminated with hydrogen peroxide since it kills them immediately upon contact. Infuse your soil with a solution made of four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide.

To destroy larvae, neem oil can also be put to the soil after being diluted with water. Neem oil can also be sprayed on surfaces to instantly kill adult flies. Last but not least, pyrethrin sprays contain extracts that are harmful to a variety of pests and can instantly kill flies and fungus gnat larvae.

Fungus gnats can affect the health of your houseplants even though they don’t transmit any diseases that are dangerous to humans. Your plants will thank you by giving off a lush, healthy appearance to enliven your home if you keep pests at away.

Gnats in potted soil: how can I get rid of them?

Fortunately, there are several of organic and chemical-free ways to get rid of fungus gnats from your prized plants. You can use a traditional trap or common household goods like potatoes and dish soap!

Let the Soil Dry

It’s important to remember to let the soil dry out for a few days and refrain from watering your plant because fungus gnats and their larvae prefer to nest in moist soil. The gnats will be forced to live in an uninhabitable habitat as a result, and they will disappear in dry soil. Do not be afraid to skip your next watering in order to get rid of the gnats; your houseplant will be able to endure the dryness for a longer period of time than you might imagine.

The best advice is to take your plant out of the planter and drain any extra water from the bottom. Thus, there won’t be any dampness where gnats might deposit their eggs.

Use Traps

There are numerous traps you may employ to get rid of these bothersome bugs if you’re seeking for a speedier fix. You can choose to DIY these with a few common things or run to the store and buy specialist traps, depending on what best suits your needs.

  • Pour a cup of white vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish soap onto a shallow saucer. The gnats will be drawn to the solution and fall into the trap if you place the bowl near your plant. Repeat the procedure until no more gnats are present.
  • Sticky fly traps are an alternative if the smell of vinegar deters you from making your own homemade gnat trap. These little yellow paper sheets attract gnats and trap them with glue because of their brilliant hue. Although it might not be visually appealing, this procedure is simple and safe.
  • Consider purchasing an indoor fly-catching gadget if you’re sick and tired of gnats in your plants and need an urgent fix. These are typically USB-powered and can be purchased locally or online. The blowers and LED lights draw the gnats, and eventually they are drawn into the trap.
  • Are there any extra potatoes in the kitchen? Set a trap for them! Place the potatoes flesh-down on the ground after cutting them into little pieces. The fungus gnats will be drawn to the potatoes by their dampness. Just be careful that the parts don’t dry out otherwise it won’t operate.

Sanitize and Repot

Consider removing the plant from its planter and scraping out the soil if you want to take matters into your own hands. When doing this, take care not to disrupt the roots and take only what you can get rid of. Put the contaminated soil in a plastic bag and wash the planter with soap and warm water to sterilize it. Repot your plant into new soil after this is finished, then put it back into its planter.

Use a Spray Bottle

Take a spray bottle and combine water and dish soap in it. Repeat the technique until all of the gnats are gone by spraying the solution on the top layer of soil. If you’re seeking for a quick and natural solution to get rid of fungus gnats, try this.

How can I use vinegar to get rid of gnats in my potted plants?

She asked me to write about a true issue she was having with her indoor plants. Of course! I bet many of you are struggling with the same issue.

Have you ever purchased houseplants for your home or office with the intention of bringing some nature indoors but noticed after a week or so that obtrusive small black flies are darting in and out of your line of sight with your computer screen? Ugh! You have a problem with fungus gnats!

Although fungus gnats resemble tiny mosquitoes or fruit flies, they are unrelated and do not bite. They can be spread by cut flowers, especially those with stale vase water, or even by plants with unsterilized soil (poinsettias can be the worst).

In moist plant soil, residential drains, and sewage areas, fungus gnats can be found. In wet soil, fungus gnats lay their eggs. Prior to developing into adult gnats and flying out of the plant soil onto your face, their larvae, which are only one-hundredth of an inch long, are almost impossible to notice. They eat plant roots, soil-borne leaves, and decomposing plant matter. It takes them around 10 days to grow. Indoors, they can reproduce all year long.

This issue is being exacerbated by the gentle care you provide your indoor plants, including watering them. The fungus gnats will like staying in your home if the soil of your houseplants is continually moist. The growing medium used for houseplants is another factor. Numerous potting mixture types contain components that hold onto moisture, and everything that promotes moisture also promotes fungus gnats. To avoid potential pests, Good Earth Plant Company only purchases from nurseries that pre-treat the soil.

So what can you do to combat these annoying little gnats? You must approach the issue from many angles.

Start by starting to wait longer between waterings for your indoor plants. One to two inches of the surface ought to be entirely dry. Sub-irrigation functions well for this reason, among others.

2. Make careful to get rid of any fallen or decomposing plant materials (leaves and roots) as these serve as fungus gnat larvae’s feeding sources. Place a few slices of uncooked potatoes on the surface of the soil to see if you have them. Take a look at the bottom after a few days. Are they chewed-looking? Your plants contain fungus gnat larvae.

3. You can cover the soil with a quarter- to-half-inch layer of diatomaceous earth or horticultural sand (NOT playground sand) to control the larvae. If you water it, the plant will dry out more quickly and fool the fungus gnats into thinking it is not a good site to lay eggs. Additionally, they are actually cut to death if they crawl across the DE.

4. Add one tablespoon of liquid dish soap and one teaspoon of white vinegar to the water every other time you water. The fungus gnat larvae will eventually perish as a result.

5. You can remove the plant from the pot, remove as much soil as you can without harming the plant, and then repot it to expedite the process. Place all of the used soil in a sealed bag and discard it. It cannot be applied elsewhere because doing so will just exacerbate the issue.

6. You can create organic traps on your own to get rid of the adult fungus gnats. You can pour a few drops of liquid dish soap to the bottom of a deep bowl after adding apple cider vinegar or red wine. Put it next to the infected indoor plants. The gnats adore it and will suffocate in it if they fall in. Every couple of days, replace it.

7. You can either buy or manufacture some sticky insect traps. Use cardboard pieces that are a vibrant yellow color, and cover them with Vaseline. For optimal effects, place them horizontally over your plants. Use a card holder from your florist, or one that comes with a plant. Put the card holder with the sticky trap inside, then affix it to your plant.

8. Some backyard gardeners fervently advocate adding three percent hydrogen peroxide directly to the soil of your plants. I wouldn’t advise this as your first option if you have a plant that is very priceless or sensitive.

It could be extremely difficult to entirely eradicate fungus gnats on your own if they frequently infest your plants, especially those in your office. In one instance, the gnats were entering through the ventilation system from another office, as I’ve seen!

We only utilize plants from reputable growers, and our experts take great care to prevent conditions from becoming such that fungus gnats can easily reproduce. We quickly remove any infected plants from our care (which doesn’t happen very often) to prevent fungus gnats from spreading to the rest of your plants.

Why are gnats buzzing over my houseplants?

You’re probably dealing with gnats, more specifically, fungus gnats, if you’re bothered by tiny flying insects that seem to appear every time you water your houseplants. The moist soil of houseplants in pots attracts these bugs. Their eggs must be laid in damp soil, and the earth’s organic content provides food for the larvae. This feeding activity not only irritates you but also harms your plants.

The Orfelia and Bradysia species of microscopic flies are what are known as fungus gnats, despite the fact that they resemble little mosquitoes. Their light gray or translucent wings, segmented antennae that are larger than their heads, and small legs help to identify them. These insects are quite little. The length of adults varies between 1/16 and 1/8 inch.

The good news is that neither humans nor animals are bitten by fungus gnats. The larvae will eat your plant’s tiny feeder roots, restricting the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and inhibiting its growth. Adult gnats don’t cause much damage to plants either. This is more of an issue at nurseries because young, vulnerable seedlings are nurtured in moist environments. Even while you might not be cultivating your plants in a nursery or greenhouse, they can be a threat to popular houseplants if there is a large enough population. If you see these gnats flying around and your plants suddenly seem to wilt, the larvae that are feeding on the roots may be causing root damage.