How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats

Image source: Flickr

Fungus gnats are a common problem for most home gardeners, especially those growing indoor plants. They love humid environments. And since you are likely to water your houseplants, you will notice adult gnats flying around your houseplants. While the adult gnats may not be harmful to your plants, their larvae stage feed on the soil and can damage the roots of your tender plants. This can lead to stunt growth of your houseplants. 

If you fail to control gnats, they reproduce in cycles, and their numbers can quickly grow. Read align to learn how to get rid of fungus gnats from your houseplants.

Types of Plants Affected By Gnats

Gnats can attack any plant but mostly the fruity-smelly ones. They can attack ornamental flowers, vegetables, and shrubs that grow in humid environments. Some of the decorative flowers prone to gnats attacks include African violets, geraniums, Easter lilies, carnations, poinsettias, among other flowers. Vegetables; cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, broccoli, and many others. Fruit trees: bananas, oranges, strawberries, pawpaws, apples, among others.

Symptoms of gnats infections include;

  • Wilting
  • Poor growth
  • Yellowing of the plant leaves
  • Loss of vigor

If the infestation is severe, you may end up losing a large portion of your young plants. 

How to Control Fungus Gnats?

There are organic and inorganic ways of controlling gnats infestation on your plants. Here are some of the fruitful methods you can use to control these bugs: 

  1. Control moisture: fungus gnats thrive in damp soils created by overwatering your houseplants. Stop overwatering your houseplants, especially during winter when the plants don’t need much water. Only water the plants when about 2-inches of the topsoil feels dry. Doing so will create an inhabitable environment for larvae.
  2. Use yellow sticky traps: Gnats love the color yellow and light. Place yellow sticky traps on the soil’s surface or hang them on the containers to capture egg-laying gnats, controlling their larvae populations.

Image source: Flickr

  1. Use hydrogen peroxide to eliminate gnats: Dilute 3% household hydrogen peroxide in the ratio of 1 cup into 4 cups of water and spray it on the soil of your plant containers. This solution will kill gnats’ eggs, larvae, pupa, and adult gnats in the pots.
  2. Use neem oil: You can apply neem oil drench to kill gnats from the infected soil. Dilute the neem oil as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can water your plants with water continuing diluted neem oil. Ensure your diluting ratio is correct.
  3.  Introduce beneficial nematodes: Topdress your house plants using beneficial nematodes to destroy gnats at their larvae stage. These nematodes will penetrate the larvae, and other harmful soil-borne pests then release bacteria that completely devours the pests.

How to Prevent Fungus Gnats Infestation?

You can take several steps to prevent gnats infestation in your garden; they include;

  1. Whenever you shop for new plants, do a thorough inspection of the plant and the soil. Ensure there are no glossy clear larvae or flying gnats on the plants.
  2. Quarantine any plants that show signs of fungus gnats infestation. Doing so will stop the spread of the infection to other plants in your garden.
  3. Use quality bagged potting soil whenever you are potting a new houseplant. Quality bagged potting soil has gone through sterilization to kill any unwanted pests. Avoid potting new plants with soil from your backyard as it may have pest infestations.
  4. Gnats are attracted to smelly fruits. If you have decaying fruits in your house, throw them away and store any smelly fruits in a sealed container or the fridge.

Conclusion

Flying gnats may not harm your plants, but they lay eggs that come to the larvae stage, which causes damage to tender plants. Besides, flying gnats can be a nuisance to your house. Use any of the methods above to prevent and control gnats infestation on your houseplants. Subscribe to our blog today to learn more about gardening.   

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