Gardening is a fun thing to do for most of the people. However, it has lots of things to handle. Start by planting the seeds, watering them every day, fertilizing, and the most troublesome is protecting them from pests. One of those annoying pests is fungus gnats that can give a serious problem to your plants. If you still confused on how to handle those flying pests, don’t worry because there are some simple ways to get rid of them easily.
Why are Fungus Gnats Troublesome?
Fungus gnat has darker and slimmer body than fruit flies that almost similar to mosquitos. Since they love humid and moist areas, so you will find them roaming around in wet plant soil, sewer areas, or other high humidity places. They have about 1/8 inch body length. Fungus gnats, especially the larvae can give a serious problem to houseplants both indoor and outdoor plants. When the females lay their eggs in the soil, they will decay the organic plant material. Then, once the eggs hatch into fungus gnat larvae, they will feed on fungus and plant roots to get nutrients. The plants will get lack of nutrients from the soil and inhibit their growth. They also bring several fungi that cause the plant to get damping-off. Moreover, the larvae can also carry pathogens which cause the plants suffer from various plant diseases. As a result, the plants usually show the signs of stunted development and the worst dies.
Fungus gnat life cycle is last only for about 3-4 weeks. A female adult can lay up to 300 eggs in moist soils then only in 4-5 days they hatch into larvae. In two week period, the larvae become pupal in 3-4 days before the turn into adults and start the next generation. This fast regeneration should urge you to take a fast action to eliminate them as soon as you recognize their presence.
How to Get Rid Fungus Gnats?
According to professional pest inspectors, insecticide pest control isn’t quite effective to eliminate fungus gnats. So, natural pest control is recommended since it is also friendlier to the environment. What you should do include:
– Checking whether you got larvae problem in the soil by using sliced potatoes. Place several pieces of 1-inch sliced potatoes on the surface of the soil to attract the larvae as potatoes contain with high water. Doing this action every day can dispose of the larvae as much as you can.
– Cover the top of the soil with 1/4 – 1/2 inch of sand since the adult fungus gnats usually laying their eggs only in 1/4 inch of moist soil. Moreover, sand also drains quickly after watering so it can confuse the adults.
– Distract the attention of the adults with fungus gnat vinegar. Mix solution of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap then put them in a jar (make several holes on the lids in advance). Put the jar near the plant. Fungus gnats will come inside and drowned.
– You can also place a sticky trap on the edges of pots to catch the gnats and other incoming pests.
– Watering the soil with a mixture solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and four parts water to kill the larvae. After that, you can also sprinkle cinnamon powder on the soil to eliminate the fungus that feeds on by the larvae.
Last, proper watering is the best way to prevent fungus gnats living well in the soil. If needed, you should let the soil to dry between watering to balancing the moisture in the soil. As soon as you eliminate the larvae, you can expect your plants to grow prettily in the future.