The bane of my existence is the fungus gnat (Bradysia spp). The larvae of this insidious little creature love to live in excessively moist soil.
Their larval feeding habits damage plant roots and can stunt or even kill seedlings and poorly established plants.
Adults fly off the soil, often diving straight into the mouth or nose. Here are 8 ways to get rid of gnats on your houseplants.
For best success, I like to combine several methods.
Let the plants dry. Fungal gnats are attracted to moist soil by feeding on fungi and decaying organic matter. The best way to eliminate them is to reduce water.
Set up sticky traps. The yellow color attracts fungal gnats, so place the yellow sticky trap just above the soil surface. Adults jump into traps, get stuck, and die before they can reproduce. These traps use a very sticky glue so there is a 99% trap rate while insects touch the sticky traps.
The package includes a digging tool to help you insert the trap into the soil and peel off both sides of the trap’s white cover to keep your hands from getting sticky. These traps are suitable for plants, pots, kitchens, gardens, and other places.
It protects your plants from harmful insects and eliminates the annoying flies that keep bothering you.
- Use Bt products to control fungal gnats. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis) attacks fungal gnat larvae. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis) is a bacterium available in several forms that can be applied to soil and watered. Go ahead and apply it even if the plants are very wet. Allow the plant to dry, then process it again. Here are some products that worked for me:
• Mosquito Bits and Mosquito Dunks: Sow the granules in the soil or dissolve them in water before watering.
• Knockout Gnat™: Dissolve the granules in water or sprinkle them on the soil before watering.
• Gnatrol: This has always been my go-to control. Dilute the liquid with water.
cover the soil. A 1/4 to 1 inch thick layer of sand or chaff dries quickly when watered, providing a dry and inhospitable place for the adults to lay their eggs.
Choose your potting mix wisely. Fungal gnats always arrive with fresh potting mix and are infiltrated in moist bags stored outdoors.
Peat and coir-based potting mixes dry well and are less likely to support gnats, while mixes with bark and compost are more susceptible.
Miracle Grow Indoor Potting Mix is a good choice because it is designed to be gnat-free.
Install a potato trap. Cut the potatoes in half and place the cut side down on the soil. The gnat larvae of the fungus are attracted to potatoes for food. Check daily and replace larva-infested parts.
Use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Although not as effective as Bt, these natural insecticides can kill the fungal gnat larvae when the soil is watered.
Spraying the leaves has no effect on fungal gnats.
Use natural predators. Nematodes (Steinernema) and predatory mites (Hypoaspis) feed on fungal gnats and their larvae and can be applied to the potting mix as eggs that hatch and begin feeding.
They gradually attack the problem until the predator has nothing to eat.
Enjoy a mold-free environment in your home with these tips.