Bugs are often intimidating houseplants. How the little critters get into your home to bother the flora is no doubt a mystery to you as it is to me. One of the main culprits of the bug world that like to play with your plants is the fungus gnat. Of course, they’re small and they have a black or grayish color. You can often see them scurrying along the leaves or flying around your houseplants.
They are more than an irritant, they are a danger to your plants. Their larvae burrow into the soil and love eating the plant’s roots. The gnats can quickly get out of control and become an enormous annoyance. It is not only beneficial to your houseplant to get rid of them; it is also beneficial for you and your family, too.
Why You See Fungus Gnats On Your Plants
Fungus gnats usually sneak into your home nestled in the compost of the plant. They thrive in dark, damp conditions. Thus, these critters are more likely to appear if the plant is overwatered or during the autumn and winter months when there can be moisture in the air and plant soil dries out less quickly.
Ridding These Pests
Getting rid of fungus gnats is actually a relatively easy task. For example, you can suspend watering your plants for a little bit of time. This allows the plant soil to dry out somewhat so that it isn’t soggy. It also helps if you place the threatened plant in a bright place so there is plenty of light and warmth. Putting it next to a window that gets direct sunlight would be ideal.
When the soil of the plant has dried out, remove the plant from the window to avoid the direct light from scorching the leaves if left there too long.
Assure that the soil is clean. If there are old leaves present simply remove them. The Gnats feed on rotting leaves.
To assure that they don’t come back, stick a yellow tacky trap into the soil. The fungus gnats are attracted to the color yellow.
Alternative methods to get rid of these bugs include placing a fan near the affected plant. Turn the fan on so that air is flowing over the soil. This will make it difficult for adult gnats to fly and it will also assist in drying the soil.
Neem oil is another remedy. Spray it on the plant and on top of the soil to keep the gnats away. The oil also gets rid of other pesky insects. However, don’t spray it on flowering plants. There is a note of caution when using neem oil, it has a strong smell that takes time to dissipate.
A third alternative is Essentria IC3 Insecticide. Known as a bed bug killer, the substance works quickly and is organic. Just spray on the plant.
You can also rely on BT Bacteria or Hydrogen Peroxide. BT is used to kill caterpillars. Add either to water in a ratio of 1 to 4 parts water and then water your plants.
A substance that is ideal for killing the larvae is food-grade diatomaceous earth. Just sprinkle a little over the soil.