Fungus gnats, they are seriously pesky little things! If your plant collection has started to grow then chances are you may have noticed these little guys flying around above your jungles. But are they actually harmful to your plants? Yes and no.
Adult Fungus gnats are harmless and really more of an annoyance. They aren’t going to do any damage to your plant babies. However! Their larvae is what you need be concerned about.
Fungus gnats lay their eggs deep in the soil and over time the larvae will feed on fungi and organic matter but are also capable of eating away at the roots of your precious green guys. In heavy infestations this can eventually kill your plant.
It seems this problem gets serious when the gnats are in high numbers, so a lot of the time you can nip it in the bud.
HOW TO TELL THE SEVERITY OF YOUR GNAT PROBLEM
If you notice the odd fungus gnat flying about then the problem is likely very mild. Still take steps to nip it in the bud and definitely grab those sticky insect catchers. They will literally catch the flying gnats and stop them from being able to lay eggs and make the situation worse.
If you see quite a few flying around more than one plant, then the problem is getting worse and you should take immediate action to eliminate them.
If you pick up a plant pot and a bunch of gnats spill out of the bottom, this is a heavy infestation! This is where repotting your soil will be more necessary and trying all of the treatments on a weekly basis will be needed.
IMMEDIATE ACTION TO CONTROL GNATS
- Dry out your soil. Fungus gnats love moist, damp conditions (sorry but had to use both those words).
- Trap them! Use a few sticky insect catchers to stop the flying gnats in their tracks.
- Use a barrier product targeted at stopping the breeding cycle. Here's our favourite by Houseplant Hoarders.
- Repot your plant with fresh potting mix (this isn’t a guarantee but can be a back up solution).
- Make a neem oil solution to pour throughout the soil.
- Create some vinegar traps! You literally just combine some vinegar with a but of dishwashing liquid in a shallow vessel (like a takeaway container) and sit it near your plants. The fungus gnats will be drawn to the liquid and get stuck in there.
Consistency is key with getting rid of fungus gnats. This may take some time but you will get there eventually!