How To Keep Flies Off Houseplants

The best soils contain organic components that degrade slowly, such as charcoal, fiber, or coconut chunks. Perlite is a useful component on the inorganic side as well. Use a slow-decaying, well-draining soil because pests are more attracted to old potting soil. Try keeping empty potting soil in a sealed container instead than leaving open potting soil bags because bugs can’t thrive without oxygen. Additionally, it’s best to always use fresh soil when repotting a plant; never reuse soil.

4. DELETE, DELETE, DELETE

Trim decaying or dead foliage from your plant every day, paying special attention to sections near the soil line, and get rid of any plant material that has fallen to the soil’s surface right away. There will be less food for flies and gnats the less organic matter is rotting!

How do I get rid of flies in my houseplants in pots?

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.

What’s up with all the flies around my house plants?

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! The little winged creatures known as fungus gnats are about the size of fruit flies and resemble tiny mosquitoes (don’t worry, they don’t sting!). The good news is that these pests are considerably less dangerous than many others, and even better, they are rather simple to get rid of.

What are Fungus Gnats?

It’s probably a fungus gnat if you encounter a little winged bug that resembles a fruit fly fluttering about the soil of your houseplant. They are attracted to damp, nutrient-rich soils and have long legs for a fly their size. Your plants’ leaves have very little appeal to fungus gnats; instead, they prefer the damp earth beneath the plant canopy. They devour the hair roots of your plants and lay their eggs in the top layer of damp soil. Nothing is more impolite than an unwelcome guest laying eggs in your favorite plant and consuming its roots, even though their damage may be modest. These bugs eventually cause wilting, poor growth, and discolored leaves if left untreated.

Signs of Fungus Gnats

If you have a gnat infestation, you already know how noticeable they are. Due to their poor flight abilities, these flies usually stay rather near to the plant. They’ll be moving in zigzag patterns as you watch. Their tiny, transparent larvae could be visible if the dirt is carefully stirred. Yellow sticky cards are an excellent control method as well as a terrific way to keep track of their activity. See more below on that.

The Number One Way to Get Rid of Gnats

Infestations of fungus gnats typically occur when the soil is very damp. Problems might arise when plant parents provide the same care to their plants throughout the year. Consider this: Compared to the winter, our homes are typically brighter and more humid in the summer. In the winter, most plants become more dormant as a result of the changing seasons. You can keep fungus gnats from setting up camp in your plant pots by reducing the amount of water you use.

Gnats deposit their eggs in the top layer of the soil, and the soil must remain moist for the eggs to survive. It can harm the eggs and disrupt the gnats’ life cycle if you let it dry out. Your indoor plants should be soaked from below if your pot allows it. While the soil near the root ball absorbs water, the soil surface remains dry. Place the pot in a dish of water and let the water to seep up through the drainage holes to do this.

What If That Doesn’t Work?

You can intensify your treatment plan if you’ve modified your watering schedule and the gnats are still present or if you want to get rid of them quickly. Here are a few simple methods for getting rid of gnats in your indoor plants:

Apply sticky cards. In our greenhouse, you may have noticed the yellow cards on sticks and wondered what they were for. The cards are positioned directly above the soil’s surface since gnats prefer the color yellow. Checking what you’ve captured allows you to keep track of what you have while also getting rid of all the gnats that land on your credit card. Replace your sticky card every 4-6 weeks (or sooner if it’s bugged), just to be safe.

Larvae are quickly, inexpensively, and efficiently killed upon contact with hydrogen peroxide solution. Spray your soil with a solution made of four parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide.

Although unpleasant, fungus gnats can’t stand a chance against a plant parent with a game plan. To avoid these disgusting bugs, reduce your watering frequency throughout the winter and develop the habit of bottom-watering. You won’t regret it!

Why does my houseplant draw little flies?

Because of this, you might have noticed much smaller flying insects buzzing around your houseplants and mistaken them for common or garden fruit flies, but the more likely species is fungus gnats.

Soil gnats is another name for these little flying insects. In the potting soil of indoor plants, they thrive and reproduce.

Therefore, if you see little black gnats flying around or crawling through the dirt around your houseplants, they are most likely fungus gnats.

Fungus Gnats Are Part Of A Family Of Insects That Include:

  • Bolitophilidae
  • Ditomyiidae
  • Keroplatidae
  • Diptera
  • Diadocidiidae

They typically eat mushrooms and dead plant detritus and are naturally found in moist forest environments.

Small Pests

Fruit flies are much larger than fungus gnats, which are considerably smaller. In actuality, they only reach a length of around a quarter inch.

Therefore, despite your incorrect belief that they are too small to do any real harm, their larvae may and will harm your indoor plants.

Fungus Gnats Like Warm Moist Soil

Fungus gnats are frequently drawn to indoor plants because they lay their eggs in damp soil.

When the eggs hatch, the young birds will eat roots, algae, fungi, and other organic matter like potting soil.

Fungus gnats are generally innocuous as adults, but the larvae can destroy your houseplants.

The larvae, as we have seen, are the ones that cause the greatest harm because they may feed on plant roots that are buried in the soil, which can cause damage to the roots and stunted growth.

A fungus gnat is most likely what you are witnessing if you notice tiny black gnats flying or crawling about in the dirt surrounding your houseplants.

Does vinegar eliminate gnats from indoor 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.