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 can pests on indoor plants be removed?
These are the tiniest, pearshape insects that you have undoubtedly seen in the vegetable patch outside. They can be found on indoor plants as well, and they tend to congregate around developing leaves and flower buds. They produce a gooey fluid known as honeydew after sucking the plant’s sap.
Remove any areas of the plant that are seriously affected to get rid of the bugs. Use a damp cloth to remove insects from other places, or use the bathtub to spray them with water. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, or insecticidal soap can also be used to remove them. Weekly removal should continue until they are gone.
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!
It can be quite difficult to control houseplant pests, and recurring infestations are no pleasure. 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!
Why do indoor plants get bugs?
Indeed, indoor plants draw insects. They are typically drawn to indoor growing environments with high humidity levels or little air movement. Aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, mealybugs, scale, thrips, and whiteflies are the most prevalent pests.
Infestations can be kept to a minimum and treated immediately, causing the least amount of harm to your plants, by keeping ideal growing conditions, providing adequate water, and examining your plants frequently.
If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you already have some bugs and are looking for information about them. You’re fortunate! Learn more about the causes of potential bug infestations as well as how to spot, get rid of, and avoid them by reading on. I’ll also go over which houseplants are the most pest-resistant.
How can bugs in potting soil be eliminated?
How Can I Naturally Get Rid of Bugs in the Soil of a House Plant?
- Use a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution in water to thoroughly water the plants.
- Add some diatomaceous earth to the soil’s surface and the saucer of the pot.
- Put the plants somewhere well-ventilated, and let the soil dry up entirely.
Can I use vinegar spray on my indoor plants?
According to the Alley Cat Allies website, white vinegar has a potent, repulsive smell and taste that can effectively keep cats away from sections of your home that you don’t want them to enter. Despite being harmless to humans and cats, vinegar is deadly to plants due to its 5% acetic acid content. According to the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, spraying vinegar on houseplant leaves will damage their cell membranes. As a result, the leaves are destroyed, and if the vinegar seeps into the plant’s soil, it will kill it by drying up the roots.
How can houseplant gnats be eliminated?
In most cases, only one plant is seriously affected, therefore Jason always tries to isolate it by placing it in a protected area outside.
It’s preferable to keep it separate from any other plants you may have outside, especially those in pots.
Invest in sticky traps or plants
Adult flying insects will be captured (and killed) by sticky traps or plants. Population growth may be slowed by the fact that one adult can produce up to 200 eggs.
For those who like plants, sundews (Drosera sp.) are a species of carnivorous plant that use their sticky leaves to entice tiny insects like fungus gnats.
Use neem oil spray
You can get a bottle of neem oil almost anywhere that sells plants. It is an organic insecticide manufactured from the seeds of neem trees.
It can be purchased as a pre-diluted spray bottle that is ready to use or as a concentrate that must be diluted in a spray container.
To get rid of the larvae, Jason advises misting the soil with diluted neem oil.
Spray your neem oil over the top 5 to 10 cm of the soil once a week for at least two months (or for one month after you stop seeing the flying adults). Remember to wait a day or two in between waterings when using neem oil outside of that.
It won’t harm your pets or eradicate helpful insects like earthworms, unlike many other insecticides.
Consider creating a soil barrier
Some people have also found success by topping their potting mix with small pebbles or horticultural sand (not the beach variety). This may hinder female fungus gnats from laying eggs in the ground.
Jason says he doesn’t like it because it can be challenging to see what’s happening in the soil, but to each his own!
What are the little insects in my potting soil?
Many individuals have mistaken a fungus gnat infestation for a fruit fly infestation since fungus gnats and fruit flies have similar appearances.
They are not, however, the same kind of issue. In damp soil, fungus gnats deposit their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on fungus, tiny roots, and other organic matter in the soil. Fruit holds little appeal to them.
- Fungus gnats are the tiny, black insects you may notice hovering around your plants and in the soil.
- Fruit flies are the gnats that are buzzing about the fruit or the garbage disposal in your kitchen.
If you’re still unclear, read this article to learn how to distinguish between the two so you can always make a correct identification.
Do soil mites need to be eliminated?
The most crucial lesson to learn about soil mites is that they do absolutely no harm. Stop getting rid of them.
They are tremendously and significantly advantageous to the ecosystem, all living things, and the soil’s ability to decompose.
These soil-dwelling mites devour bacteria and fungi as well as animal and plant waste.
Their actions and this beneficial contribution to the soil aid in the formation of humus and enhance the soil’s structure and fertility.
Will gnats disappear if the soil is changed?
Place the affected plant in a different location for 1 to 2 weeks to prevent the infection of other plants if you discover that fungus gnats have infested one of your plants. This should also be done with new plants before you introduce them to the rest of your plants, just to be safe.
Getting rid of the gnat larvae can be done successfully by repotting. Place the plant in fresh, clean potting soil after thoroughly cleaning the pot. The moist soil, decaying plant matter, and rotting roots that fungus gnats so enjoy will all be gone.
To draw the fungus gnats to a plant, place a saucer of wine nearby. Funny enough, wine is far more enticing to fungus gnats than soil. They immediately jump in, and well, you can probably guess what happens next.
Over the soil in the pot, strew a layer of sand. The gnats find it considerably more difficult to lay their eggs in firm sand.
Two tablespoons of cinnamon are added to a liter of boiling water. After it has cooled, use it to water your plants. Gnats detest it, too!
Place yellow traps or sticky paper close to your plants. The gnats will fly directly in its direction and become stuck! Issue is resolved.
With a few matches, you can get rid of gnats without igniting your plant. Instead, place the head of the matches in the ground. The sulfur will immediately turn them off.
Did you know that small black fungus gnats are a favorite food of carnivorous plants? Watch a Sundew eliminate the flies by placing it close to the diseased plants.
Do you know of any further tried-and-true methods for removing fungus gnats, or any plants that have endured these troublesome insects? Use #thejoyofplants to share your experience with us on Facebook or Instagram.
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.