When watering indoor plants, you have probably noticed that there are a few, or many, gnats flying around. When this happens, there are probably many questions that pop up in your mind—one of them being how to get rid of these fungus gnats.
Each method to get rid of fungus gnats can be helpful, especially when trying to rid your house of these awful pests. Read on for more details on how exactly to do each method, find out what fungus gnats are, and how you can prevent them from being around.
What Are Fungus Gnats
Have you ever seen little black gnats flying around your house plants? If so, you are probably wondering where the bad fruit or vegetables that were accidentally left out. But even though they look like fruit flies, they are far from the same thing.
Fungus gnats, or soil gnats, are often seen living in your house plant soil. Larvae are hatched inside the soil, where they eat roots and types of fungus found in the plant soil. They are typically attracted to:
- Over-watered plants
- Mold and mildew
- Bright, warm, and wet environments
Since these gnats are mostly harmless, they should not harm any of the healthy, strong plants you may have inside your home. However, they can cause your plants to turn yellow, lack growth, and be harmful to seedlings and fragile plants.
There are several natural and non-natural methods that you can do to get rid of fungus gnats. Natural and non-natural methods can include:
|Natural Methods||Non-natural Methods|
|Dry out the soil||Use sticky fly traps to attract/trap fungus gnats|
|Spray soap and water on plants and soil||Use a water-peroxide mixture|
|In place of dirt, use a sand or gravel option||Use insecticides on plant soil|
|Remove top layer of soil and place outside||Use a biological control agent|
|Repot the plant|
Identifying Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats, fruit flies, and small mosquitoes all resemble and look similar to each other. So how are you supposed to tell them apart from the other pesky insects flying around your house?
There are some simple tips to help you identify fungus gnats, especially when trying to tell them apart from other insects.
- Inspecting the plant for hovering flies or insects
- Check the ground and soil around and in the plant for white larvae specks
- Look for any withering or wilting
- Pay attention to the leaves to see if they are yellowing or falling off the plant in general.
Once you have identified and determined that there are, in fact, fungus gnats in your home or on your plants, getting rid of them can seem like a problematic notion. There are some really great and helpful tips to get rid of these gnats for good and keep your plants looking healthy.
How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats
Adult fungus gnats are more of an annoyance than harmful. However, since fungus gnats have different life stages, treatments or preventions can differ based on whether you are dealing with adults, larvae, or both.
Using a type of solution on plants and soil can help rid the plant of the gnat larvae and prevent new ones from hatching. Many different solutions are available for you to use on plants that are safe.
- Water and soap solution: Spray this on top of the soil to kill any fungus gnat larvae. This process will need to be repeated every few days.
- Hydrogen peroxide and water mixture: Spray the solution, 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water, on top of dry potting soil. It is normal to hear sounds coming from your plant soil after spraying the solution. After killing all the larvae, the peroxide solution will break down the plant’s soil and may be repeated a few more times to ensure all of the gnats’ larvae are gone.
- Insecticides: Since the larva and adult gnats are in the soil, it is best to not spray the plant directly but just the soil. There are natural insecticides you can use like Neem Oil for fungus gnat control.
There are also sticky fly traps and biological agents that you can use on your plants as well. Sticky fly traps are great if there is an increased infestation, and using a brightly colored sticky will attract the adult fungus gnats. Placing these sticky traps underneath the plant will be the best spot to catch grown gnats as they make their way to the brightly colored card.
Biological agents are a great method to reduce and get rid of fungus gnats. They are typically an insect-parasitic nematode that comes in a solution that is poured into the soil. Once they are introduced, they set to work to remove any and all fungus gnat larvae that are present in the soil.
Keep the soil clean and healthy. A good way to prevent getting fungus gnats is to ensure that your soil is clean. It is important to change the dirt out to create clean and healthy soil, especially after purchasing house plants from a nursery or outside source.
If you already have an infestation of these pesky gnats, remove the top layer of soil and place it outside or dispose of it. Repotting your plants is a great way to ensure you have efficiently removed all the compromised soil and can be a great way to ensure your plant will have the room needed to continue growth.
Stop The Spreading Before It Happens
Once you have determined and treated your house plants for fungus gnats, there is another important thing to do: stop them from spreading onto other plants. A great way to do this is by putting the infested plant in a type of quarantine from any other plant. You can also start treatments for the other pants as well as a preventative measure.
Preventing Fungus Gnats
Preventing new infestations or future infestations of new plants is a sure-fire way to ensure these gnats stay away. Tips and tricks to prevent them from occurring now or in the future are to keep debris away like sticks, fallen leaves, or flowers. Don’t overwater your plants, instead use a sprayer to slightly dampen your plants throughout the day.
When you get a new plant or even have had your house plants for a while, there is a possibility that you will start noticing small gnats around the plants, especially when you water or move them around. These fungus gnats can be a nuisance to you and your plants.
There are ways to prevent these pesky insects from swarming your home and plants. Some are natural methods, while others may be more chemically made. Either way, ensuring your plants are healthy and grow to their full potential shouldn’t result in insects taking over. Once the gnats are gone, all their larvae are removed or prevented from hatching; your plant can continue to grow the way they are meant to.