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!
How do I get rid of little insects in my indoor plants?
These tiny, wingless insects, which when gathered together seem white, are typically found on plant stems, leaves, and nodes (the area where leaves meet the stem). According to Scott, “Mealybugs are drawn to excessive succulent growth, which can be brought on by overwatering and overfertilizing, particularly with fertilizers heavy in nitrogen.” Plant development slows down and leaves often curl and turn a faint shade of yellow as a result of their feeding on plant sap.
By delicately wiping them with a cotton swab dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol (avoiding touching delicate leaves), or by misting them with a solution of dish detergent and water, you can get rid of the bothersome insects (one teaspoon of soap to one gallon of water). Mealybugs can also be controlled with insecticidal soap, neem oil, and horticultural oil. Follow a planned fertilizer schedule rather than indiscriminate feeding to stop breakouts, advises Scott. Mealybugs can easily be removed with your own hands if discovered in time.
Is it typical for house plants to contain little bugs?
You can read the answers to some of the most often inquiries I receive concerning pest management for houseplants below. After reading this page and the FAQs, if you still can’t find the answer to your question, put it in the comments box below and I’ll respond as soon as possible.
What is eating my indoor plants?
Most household pests that feed on plants extract the sap from the leaves. Therefore, if you discover holes in the leaves or notice that some of the leaves are being eaten, another bug is to blame. To identify the offender, carefully examine the leaves.
What can I spray on my houseplants to kill bugs?
For washing the leaves, I suggest using organic insecticidal soap or a gentle liquid soap. For long-term organic pest control, treat the plant with neem oil (a natural insecticide for houseplants).
Because indoor plant pests might develop resistance to synthetic pesticides, always use a natural pest control spray.
How do you kill bugs in potting soil?
There are a few techniques you may use to get rid of bugs in a bag of potting soil. Put the soil bag outside if you live somewhere chilly and wait for it to totally freeze.
If not, keep your unused potting soil sealed up in a container. It works excellent to use a simple 5 gallon bucket with an airtight lid.
Is it normal to have bugs in houseplants?
No, having bugs in your houseplants is not typical. However, don’t feel bad about it because it is a pretty typical issue. You don’t have to accept it, though. You can get rid of them so your indoor plants are bug-free!
Pests that affect houseplants can be exceedingly challenging to eradicate, and recurrent infestations are unpleasant. However, you can prevail in the conflict now that you are aware of how to get rid of houseplant bugs and prevent them from returning.
My Houseplant Pest Control eBook is for you if you’re sick of battling houseplant pests and want to get rid of them for good. It contains all the information you require to keep your indoor plants bug-free and to debug them. Get your copy right away!
What are these small bugs on my plants?
Aphids are small green, yellow, or white insects that feed on your plants’ stems and leaves, progressively killing them. They may not be as prevalent as some other pests, but they are highly persistent and spread quickly, making them challenging to get rid of once established.
Fortunately, aphids have a delicate body and are simple to kill. Start by giving your plant a good rinse with a hose, shower, or sink sprayer. The vast majority of adult aphids on your plant will be eliminated as a result. Then, regularly mist with neem oil or an insecticidal soap. Additionally, you can dispense systemic grains into the impacted planters. For up to two months, the granules will help destroy any aphids that are already present and stop them from returning.
Continue spraying and checking your plant frequently for an additional week or two after you think the aphids are gone. Kill every last egg or you’ll find yourself starting over in a few days.
Small, brown, flat bugs called scales steadily weaken your houseplants by suckling the sap from their stems and leaves. Because the adults have tough shells, it is challenging to destroy them with insecticidal soap or a burst of water.
One generation at a time is the most effective strategy to address scalability. Remove any branches or stems that are dead or damaged first. Afterward, using a fingernail, brush, or even a blade, gently scrape off all of the adult scales that are still visible. You prevent them from returning or laying further eggs, make sure to shatter them before getting rid of them. To finish, use insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill eggs and young scales before they form their hard shells. Consistency is crucial when dealing with plant pests, so make sure to check daily for new adults that need to be scraped off.
Unfortunately, spider mites may be the cause if you ever notice what appear to be cobwebs all over your plants. Spider mites are incredibly tiny insects that feed on the sap of stems and leaves and then create a visible web in their wake.
Spider mite treatment can really try your patience. To start, rinse or wipe all leaves to get rid of any apparent mites and spiderwebs. Check the underside of leaves with great care because mites frequently start their webs there because of the curled edges of the leaves. Then, whenever you notice new webs, wipe them away or spray the plant down with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Early detection of the infestation is crucial to controlling the spider mite problem. Although spider mites can be removed from plants with brittle or yellowing leaves, your best chance of success is to detect them as soon as their webs form.
White, fluffy insects known as mealybugs are closely linked to scales. They suck on stem joints like scales do, gradually weakening them. Mealybugs are perhaps one of the most difficult plant pests to get rid of.
To try to rescue the plant, it is better to take off the entire stem they are feeding on if you catch them early. Spray the entire plant down first with water and then with insecticidal soap or neem oil after clipping off any affected stems or branches. Till the infestation is eliminated, keep up this procedure. If you notice any fresh eggs on your plant (little white balls), you can kill them with alcohol on a cotton swab before wiping them off.
To lessen and stop infestations, systemic granules can be added to the plant’s soil. The granules can stop new infestations for up to two months by killing existing mealybugs and their eggs.
If you’re just learning how to get rid of insects on indoor plants, mealybugs could go undetected until you have a serious infestation. Mealybugs can move between leaves and infest other plants in similar situations, therefore it’s usually advisable to remove the plant to stop the infestation from spreading.
Due to the fact that many people mistake them for typical fruit flies, these pests can be challenging to identify. Fruit flies are generally found in the kitchen around produce, as their names imply, and they are typically a lighter shade of brown than fungus gnats.
The soil of indoor plants frequently contains fungus gnats, especially in damp, humid areas like the bathroom. They have pretty broad wings and are dark grey or black, however they don’t fly very well. Despite the fact that they can attack any plant, they are most frequently found on indoor flowering plants like poinsettias and African violets. Additionally, they pose a threat to cuttings and young plants.
Fortunately, fungus gnats are extremely simple to get rid of. Start by reducing watering as much as your plant will tolerate. Dry soil kills larvae and discourages the laying of fresh eggs. After that, place sticky traps in each plant’s soil. These will gather all adult fungus gnats and stop them from laying eggs. You may all mix systemic granules into the soil of the plant to aid your sticky traps in handling a severe infestation. The eggs and live fungus gnats will die as a result, and they won’t hatch again for a few months.
Consider planting again in new soil after the gnats are under control to get rid of the last few eggs.
How can I get rid of gnats in potted soil?
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.
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.