How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats On Succulents

Gnats frequently start to appear in and around your succulents, both indoors and outdoors, when the weather is warm.

The good news is that they won’t harm your succulents and that most of the time it’s not too difficult to get rid of them.

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If your succulents aren’t in well-draining soil or don’t dry out between waterings, your pots could be a very alluring breeding place for these pests because fungus gnats LOVE damp soil.

This issue can be avoided by letting the soil entirely dry out in between waterings. Since the larvae are already present, this will also aid in their elimination. Without water, your succulents will survive for a few days or even weeks.

An apple cider vinegar trap will work to eliminate the flying gnats. Just add some apple cider vinegar to a plastic cup, maybe a couple tablespoons. Put a few drops of dish soap in. Put a plastic bag over the cup, but pierce it with a finger-sized hole.

The gnats can fly in because of this, but they find it challenging to flee. The dish soap either traps them or weighs them down while the vinegar’s sweet aroma draws them in.

Additionally, you can cover your soil with food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE), which will kill any adults or larvae that come into touch with it.

The simplest technique to get rid of gnats is to keep your soil dry, which also benefits succulent plants. So make sure the soil you use has good drainage.

Do fungus gnats cause succulents to perish?

Many people mistake them for fruit flies because of their similar appearance, but when you get a closer look, you can notice that fungus gnats have more clearly defined wings.

After watering their plants, many homeowners discover they have a pest issue because fungus gnats are drawn to wetness.

You probably need to get rid of fungus gnats on your succulents if you’ve seen little black flies in your house or place of business.

What Do Fungus Gnat Larvae Look Like

In moist soil that is rich in organic matter, such as peat moss or coconut coir, these gnats will lay their eggs.

The larvae of fungus gnats resemble mosquitoes in appearance, but lack the long proboscis (a tube-like appendage used for eating) and have six instead of eight legs.

They prefer to reside in moist soil where they may detect and feed on decaying plant materials, which results in root gnats.

How Do Fungus Gnats Damage Succulents?

Due to the fact that they consume the roots, leaves, and stems of the plants, fungus gnat larvae can seriously harm your succulent plants.

There are likely fungus gnats in your soil if you’ve noticed that some of the leaves are yellowing or dropping off despite frequent watering.

Gnats can destroy your plant by causing root rot, and larvae eating on the stems or leaves of succulents can be just as harmful.

Browning dots around the stem and along the leaf margins are a sign of root gnat damage. Mold, which resembles other pests or the fungus that causes root rot, can also be brought on by gnats.

Why do gnats seem to be drawn to my succulent?

The short answer is yes, fungus gnats are damaging the roots where you can’t see them.

They are a pest in addition to being a nuisance. But don’t worry; getting rid of them is not too difficult.

Start by ceasing to water. Again, STOP watering. Completely. Don’t water AT ALL, as in. None of the spritzes, sprinkles, or sprays.

The microscopic maggots that make up these gnats dwell there until they hatch into adults, therefore they can only exist (and breed) in moist environments containing organic materials in the soil.

Fungus gnats on succulents are a sign of two things: first, that you’re watering them excessively, and second, that the soil in which they’re growing is the improper one.

The soil must be gravelly and well-drained for succulents. Your plants will likely be in the convenient peat-based soil that many growers use for every kind of plant they grow, especially if you purchased them from a distributor that purchased them from specific growers.

The issue is that, despite the fact that the plants grow well in this soil under their conditions (bright and warm), even if it is simple for them to get and utilize, once the plants are in your home and you overwater them, fungus gnats start to appear.

So, in addition to waiting until the soil is bone-dry before watering, you’ll need some kind of mulch, such as tiny aquarium pebbles, to prevent adult insects from getting to the soil.

Many of the flying adults will be caught by the unattractive but necessary yellow sticky traps, but don’t stop using them too soon because a fresh crop of newly hatched ones will soon emerge from the ground.

Other things to try;

  • As they flutter around, the adults are immediately vacuumed out of the air. a lot of labor.
  • Hydrogen peroxide diluted with water can be used to water your plants to destroy the larvae stage (I’ve never tried it; use at your own risk).

Finding 3 percent hydrogen peroxide without any additions is advised. Dilute it with 4 parts water and apply it right away to hydrate the soil. Although it will fizz up, all of the soil-dwelling larvae are killed.

  • As a last option, repot all of your collection in fresh soil and throw away the infected soil; if you compost it or retain it, the situation will only become worse.

Some commercial potting soils, like Miracle Gro and others, appear to cause greater problems than others. Make sure the potting soil you choose has been pasteurized or sterilized.

How can fungus gnats in potting soil be eliminated?

So your African violets have been invaded by fungus gnats? Let’s now discuss methods for managing both adult flies and fly larvae. Here, we advise using an integrated pest management strategy to cover all your bases and permanently safeguard the inhabitants of your greenhouse and houseplants.

Organic Fungus Gnat Control

Surprisingly, one of my top suggestions for getting rid of these pests is a common household item. You can saturate soil in hydrogen peroxide (the standard topical variety, 3 percent).

Pour a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts water through the soil in the root zone of the pot until it starts to emerge from the bottom. On contact, fungus gnat larvae are killed by the peroxide.

Neem oil works well as a soil soak to get rid of fungus gnat larvae. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to dilute the oil with water, then immerse the plant’s roots in the solution. To deter adult gnats, you can additionally spray the plant’s uppermost part.

Neem oil contains concentrated azadirachtin in its natural state. It is safe to use indoors, in greenhouses, gardens, and hydroponically. Use it as directed by the manufacturer, much like you would neem oil.

Sprays containing pyrethrin are also effective at killing fungus gnat larvae. Use pyrethrins by misting the soil’s surface and all plant surfaces with a light mist. A light mist will do; you don’t want the plants to get drenched. Spray the soil exactly where adults usually rest to completely hydrate the top if there are fungus gnat larvae present, then prevent overwatering. Let the soil dry to a depth of at least two. When the issue has passed and the insects are no longer a concern, reapply these after three to four weeks.

Adults and larvae are the targets of a predatory Hypoaspis miles mite. Additionally, it preys on other insects like thrips and springtails, which can be a pest in a greenhouse or garden. Since solitary specimens are more difficult to treat, these are best used outside or in greenhouses.

As you can see, there are numerous biological control treatments available for the removal of fungus gnats. Apply pesticides along with wise cultural habits and effective preventative measures, and you’re good to go!

Cultural Control of Fungus Gnats

Avoid flooding your growing media. These insects thrive in the moist growing medium found in houseplants. Do not leave standing water in saucers next to growing medium or below houseplants for an extended period of time. Keep your growth medium away from your potted greenhouse residents and fix any irrigation system leaks that develop. To get rid of any larvae that may be feasting on the organic elements in your compost, pasteurize the growing medium. If you don’t like the notion of doing it yourself, use heated commercial growing medium mixtures. While you take care of the issue, keep any sick plant material and growth medium away from other people.

Biological Removal of Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat larvae can be killed by a specific strain of bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis. Most commercial BT sprays do not contain these bacteria, although they are also present as active components in some commercial products. You should see a reduction in your fungus gnat issues if you use them to fertilize your growth media.

By scattering Mosquito Bits or Mosquito Dunks over the soil’s surface and soaking them in, you can also introduce this bacterium. These are suitable for usage both inside and outside. They aren’t just used to kill mosquitoes! As they decompose, Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis is released into your soil, where it can begin to kill larvae. Mosquito dunks are more substantial and take longer to work.

The eradication of the fungus gnat larvae might also be greatly aided by the species of beneficial nematodes. The fungus gnat larvae and many other soil-dwelling pests will be eliminated by these microscopic soil dwellers, which you cannot see. Use a pot popper to incorporate these nematodes into the soil when treating an indoor plant. Commercial formulations can cover a larger garden or the entire yard since they uniformly distribute the nematodes with water.

Be warned that using a hydrogen peroxide soil drench and helpful nematodes at the same time will kill the nematodes! Nematodes should not be added back into the soil for at least a few weeks following the infestation. Nematodes should be used in cooler weather if you’re working outside because heat will kill them before they can perform their job. Keep in mind that you must apply more than once, twice a year.

How can fungus on succulents be removed?

Early indications of this fungus include round, gray-brown spots on the surfaces of leaves and stems. As the infection worsens, these spots turn fuzzy with mold. It is the type of fungus that spreads when the weather starts to cool down and get damp, typically in the early Spring or Summer. It thrives in a moist, shaded area with poor airflow.

Dishwashing soap is one of the most used home-made fungicides in the early signs of a plant affected by grey mold. Just make sure it doesn’t contain bleach or greasers. The damaged regions of plants with severe grey mold infections must be removed. It’s best to refrain from watering from the top as well.

Leaf stains

Succulents can get fungal leaf spots indoors and outdoors, although they are not harmful. What makes it annoying is that when the fungus becomes too accustomed to your plant, the small area will enlarge and start to resemble a blotch, which will probably eventually kill your plant.

A succulent with Leaf Spots can be treated in a number of secure and practical ways. You can either spray your succulent with a moderate solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), using 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, or you can use an all-purpose fungicide.

fungus wilt

Fusarium Wilt is a fungus that lives in the soil. It penetrates the plant through the roots and starts reproducing in the vascular tissues, obstructing the plant’s ability to absorb water, leading to severe stress, wilting, yellowing, and most likely, death.

Regrettably, there is currently no known cure for fusarium wilt in plants. The fastest removal and disposal of the infected plant is the best advised course of action for this fungus. Fusarium-contaminated soil must also be removed. This will aid in limiting the spread of the fungus.


A series of fungal infections known as anthracnose are brought on by members of the Colletotrichum genus. Circular, pale, sunken, or brownish patches that are characteristic of this type of fungus will cause the plant tissues to dry up and become hard like bark.

The only way to save your succulent once it has been attacked by this fungus is to remove the afflicted leaves. To further prevent the spread of this fungus, it is best to replace the contaminated plant’s soil and pot in addition to thoroughly cleaning all of your instruments.

You can apply fungicides that contain chlorothalonil, copper sprays with copper diammonia diacetate, propiconazole, and systemic fungicide thiophanate-methyl to eliminate any remaining fungal bodies and to maintain control.

Rotten Root and Crown

In comparison to other fungal illnesses, root and crown rots are among the hardest to diagnose. They don’t exhibit any distinctive symptoms that could enable you to identify an infection in your succulent.

To give you an example, a plant with root rot will first begin to wilt, then the leaves will start to turn brown, and finally the stems will start to rot, causing the plant to topple over. The roots will turn brown beneath the earth and will easily separate if the soil is carefully scraped away.

Fine feeder roots typically maintain a healthy white to tan color and can hold the root ball together effectively even if the root crown is also diseased. However, as soon as the plant’s soil is removed, brown spots can be seen on the cortex of the roots as well as the root crown or stem base.

Sadly, therapy does not work well for root and crown rot. However, this can be prevented by lowering moisture. Simply use a well-draining container and give your succulents the appropriate amount of water to achieve this. Just enough to meet the requirements of your plant. Additionally, any mulch that is longer than 4 inches should be removed to avoid letting your plant remain in excessively moist soil.

What may I use as a pest repellent on succulents?

When you detect mealy bugs on your succulents, the first thing you should do is quarantine the affected plants and relocate them away from other plants. Check the healthy plants for any indications of mealy bugs.

After that, be ready to clean your contaminated plants by removing them from the pot and giving them a thorough rinsing under running water. In hot, soapy water, wash the pot. Replant with fresh soil after allowing the plant and pot to dry out. Old dirt should be disposed of in the regular trash, not the green bin.

If you don’t instantly have ready-mix succulent soil at your home, you can put the soil in an oven-safe container covered with foil and bake it for at least 30 minutes, or until the soil reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. After letting cool, plant again. Since there may still be mealy bug eggs in the old soil, we advise getting new soil.

Now let’s get to the most crucial step: mealybug elimination. Pesticides made of chemicals are generally the first thing that springs to mind. We don’t advise using them, though, as some of them can be highly damaging to succulents. Here are some secure choices we’ve tried and think are really helpful:

Neem oil and soap mixtures or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) come first. The cheapest and most efficient approach for controlling aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites is to use 75 percent rubbing alcohol. Simply give the succulents a good spraying and leave them. The bug will start to turn brown, which indicates that it is dead. The plants won’t be harmed by the alcohol because it will entirely evaporate in a short period of time. Perform this each week until you no longer notice any bugs. &nbsp

Another secure insecticide that can be applied directly to outbreaks is neem oil. It has the ability to instantly eliminate all stages of mealybugs. Neem oil at a concentration of 5% in water is combined with a few drops of soap before being sprayed all over your succulent. Keep in mind that using concentrated neem oil could burn your succulents. &nbsp

If you don’t have a spray bottle, you might paint-brush any area where mealy bugs are present. After a few hours, water the plant to remove the dead insects. You can readily find rubbing alcohol and neem oil online or at your neighborhood pharmacy. To prevent water stains or sunburn when using neem oil or rubbing alcohol, be sure to keep the plant out of direct sunlight. For a few days, keep them away from the window and direct sunshine. &nbsp

If there are still some mealy bugs on your plant, check it again and continue the procedure for a few days. Then, as a preventative step, spray once again after a week. Neem oil can also be sprayed into the soil to eliminate any bugs or eggs that may be lurking there. Put the plant back in its original location and continue inspecting every three weeks if mealy bugs don’t recur after thoroughly checking and spraying for a few weeks.

Neem oil and rubbing alcohol are relatively secure, but there is a danger they could harm your succulent.

So we advise utilizing ladybugs as another natural cure. Yes, you heard correctly! These adorable ladybugs are all-natural enemies of mealybug and other troublesome pests. However, we advise utilizing ladybugs only as a preventative measure and when your plant is in the early stages of infestation.