What can you do to keep fungus gnats out of your houseplants? To prevent these little insects from taking over your plants, you can take a number of steps. Your quickly expanding plant will be strong and thriving without any pesky insects with only a few easy steps!
Overwatering is the main reason why fungus gnats appear on plants, so try to allow the soil completely dry out between waterings as often as you can. To keep gnats away, check the soil with your finger every few days, and once you notice it beginning to dry out, leave it that way for approximately a week. Keep in mind that these guys prefer damp environments, so pay attention to how often you water your plants!
Use a Pot with Good Drainage
In order to prevent the gnats from laying eggs and spreading, make sure the pot your plant is in has sufficient drainage. Additionally, having proper drainage will stop root rot, a horrible disease that grows in overwatered plants.
Check Plants Before Bringing Inside
When individuals initially bring plants into their homes, they frequently assume that they are bug-free. Even while that’s not always the case, it’s still crucial to examine your plants for gnats or any other bothersome small bugs before bringing them inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have unanswered queries about how to get rid of fungus gnats? To help you become the best gardening and houseplant expert you can be, we’ve included some frequently asked questions below.
Will fungus gnats go away on their own?
The fungus gnats won’t go away by themselves. You’ll need to take matters into your own hands and try several various approaches to get rid of them if you want to make sure that these bugs don’t remain for an extended period of time. The issue might be resolved by just draining the extra water, or if there are too many, traps may be necessary.
Can I spray fungus gnats?
Yes, spraying them is a good alternative if you want to be sure the gnats are gone from the plant. You have two options for treating insects: you can use water and soap to treat them naturally, or you can choose an aggressive insecticide spray from the market. Use caution while using these sprays because they can kill beneficial insects.
Do gnats fly around the house?
Although fungus gnats have wings, they only use them to fly around the soil or close to the plant. You might see some of them floating close to your mouth or nose because they are drawn to carbon dioxide as well.
Even though fungus gnats can be rather bothersome, neither you nor the plant in your pot will be harmed by them. However, it’s still critical to find them quickly to prevent an infestation. You’ll be equipped to deal with everything that comes your way if you follow our advise!
How can gnats on houseplants be removed?
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.
Why do gnats flock to my house plants?
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:
They typically eat mushrooms and dead plant detritus and are naturally found in moist forest environments.
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.
Where can I find gnat-free potting soil?
If you have a lot of indoor plants, it might be challenging to get rid of fungus gnats. The adults can effortlessly fly or leap from one plant to another, depositing their eggs in any location with moist soil.
The adult fungus gnats have a short lifespan, similar to fruit flies. Therefore, your fungus gnat problem will be solved once all the larvae have died.
Fungus gnats can be readily controlled without the use of dangerous synthetic pesticides by adopting natural pest control solutions and techniques. The greatest ways to get rid of those pesky flying gnats from your indoor plants are listed below.
Control soil moisture
Therefore, avoiding overwatering your plants is the simplest and most efficient way to control plant gnats and ultimately get rid of fungus gnats.
On most indoor plants, though, you don’t want to let the soil entirely dry up. To keep the ideal moisture level for your houseplants and get rid of gnats in plant soil, use a soil moisture sensor.
Indoor plant watering tools also make it simpler to water houseplants and aid in preventing overwatering, which will help you get rid of plant gnats.
Water plants from the bottom
When you water plants from the top, the top inch of the soil, where fungus gnat larvae typically dwell, tends to stay rather damp.
Without endangering the plant’s general health, bottom watering plants will make it simpler to maintain drier top soil.
Simply pour water into the plant’s drip tray or storage pot to water it from the bottom, and the plant will absorb the liquid through the drainage holes.
Never let your plant sit in water for an extended period of time. After soaking for around 30 minutes, drain out any extra water.
Use yellow houseplant sticky stakes
A very safe technique of pest control is to place a yellow sticky trap next to the plant. This will draw and catch the adult fungus gnats.
This will only work to control the adult population; it won’t address the root cause of the issue (the larvae).
However, yellow sticky traps unquestionably assist in preventing adult fungus gnats from flying to other plants.
Apply organic pest control products
To get rid of gnats in potted plants, pour or spritz an organic insecticidal soap or a neem oil mixture into the top of the soil.
I mix 1 tsp of mild liquid soap with 1 liter of water to produce my own insecticidal soap.
Neem oil has a lasting effect that aids in prevention and is excellent at killing pests that attack indoor plants. Neem oil can be purchased here.
After a few applications, these organic gnat pesticides ought to work; just be careful not to overwater your plants.
How can I quickly get rid of plant gnats?
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.