While I was watering my houseplants the other days some flying insects start to go round and round my green corner. What an Earth are those drunken insects? I thought they were fruit flies, because they look alike, but what were they doing in my plants?
Well, it seems that were fruit flies cousins, also known as fungus gnats! It seems that gnats are attracted to damp soil where is safe to lay their eggs, as well as the organic matter found in the soil to feed their larvae.
Gnats may found their perfect environment, but my plants are not so thrilled about it. Besides being extremely annoying, their feeding routine can damage pretty badly your plants by limiting their ability to take up nutrients and stunting its growth.
What you should do when gnats infected your plants?
The first thing you should do when dealing with a fungus infestation is to quarantine the infected pots away from other houseplants to prevent spreading. Then you should allow the soil to remain dry for several days before watering it again. This way both larvae and eggs will die in dry soil. Or you can you can use sterile potting mix because there is less organic matter so, gnats won’t have with what to feed anymore.
How to get rid of fungus gnats from houseplants?
Potato peels for gnat larvae
Fungus gnat larvae can be easily trapped if you use raw potato peels. Place these potato peels upside down on the soil and check under them every few days to remove the larvae.
Sticky traps for adult fungus gnats
Even if adult gnats have short life, it’s not very pleasant to see them buzzing around. As a matter of fact, by killing adult gnats will reduce the number of new eggs and larvae.
So, place sticky traps in each pot to catch these little insects.
For sticky traps, you need:
- Yellow adhesive paper (can be found in the pesticide section at the garden shop)
How to use?
Just apply these sticky traps in each pot (read the label) and remove it only when the trap is full of gnats. This is the best non-toxic way to get rid of fungus gnats.
Another option is to apply a honey layer on a yellow piece of cardboard and place it in the pots.
It seems that fungus gnats are attracted to the yellow color. This way it will get stuck on the adhesive or honey and won’t be able to fly again.