How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats on Houseplants

How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats on Houseplants : Fungus gnats may be to blame if tiny flying insects appear every time you water your houseplants. These bugs like potted houseplants’ wet soil. They lay their eggs in damp soil and feed their larvae on organic materials. Not only is this feeding bothersome, it can damage your plants. Gnats often accompany overwatered indoor plants. Let the soil dry between watering’s to deter gnats from living in your plants.


How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats on Houseplants

Home remedies like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and cinnamon can eradicate gnats in indoor potted plants without harming them. Read on for additional natural plant gnat control methods.


What Are Fungus Gnats?

Fungus gnats are Orfelia and Bradysia flies that resemble tiny mosquitoes. These insects are little. Their tiny legs, light gray or clear wings, and segmented antennae larger than their heads distinguish them. Adults are 1/16–1/8 inch long.1 If you see gnats flying around and your plants wilt, larval root damage may be to blame.

Fungus gnats don’t bite pets or people. The adult gnats don’t harm plants, but the larvae eat the feeder roots, limiting nutrition absorption and slowing development. Fungus gnats are most common in nurseries, where sensitive seedlings are raised in wet circumstances. You may not be cultivating your plants in a nursery or greenhouse with a large population, but they can still threaten houseplants.


Natural Ways to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats

To prevent fungus gnats from spreading, quarantine contaminated pots from other houseplants. Since most fungus gnats live and damage the soil, this is a good area to start attacking them.



Let Soil Dry

The easiest initial step is to let the soil dry for a few days before watering. Eggs and larvae die in dry soil. Remove runoff saucers’ standing water. Sterile potting mix has less organic matter for the young, so it’s another easy advice.


Hydrogen Peroxide As Larvacide

Combine one part hydrogen peroxide and four parts water. Water plants with this solution. Hydrogen peroxide kills gnat larvae without harming plants. Reapply regularly until gnats disappear.



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Vinegar for a Gnat Trap

Add a few drops of dish soap to a cup of apple cider vinegar. Leave bug-accessible holes in tape or cheesecloth. Attracted by the aroma, they’ll try to drink the solution and drown.


Soap Acts as an Insecticide

Dish soap or Castile soap kills soft-body insects. The plant-based oils in Castile soap suffocate and dehydrate bugs, making it an excellent insecticidal soap. Soaps dissolve the insect’s skin.


Cinnamon and Chamomile Kill Fungal Food Sources

Chamomile and ground cinnamon are natural fungicides. Fungus gnats eat fungus, therefore killing it drives them away.


A Potato Trap

Raw potato slices catch fungus gnat larvae. Lay the potato chunks flesh-side down in the soil and inspect every two days. Replace the potato with fresh pieces and remove hungry larvae. Protect potatoes from drying.



Sticky Traps

While adults have short lives, lowering their numbers will also diminish egg production. Yellow sticky traps inhibit adult fungus gnats. These are sticky yellow paper sheets. Your garden center sells yellow sticky traps in the herbicide area. Small versions with soil-stabbed stakes are available.1

Yellow attracts fungus gnats, which get entangled in traps. Throw away and replace a full trap. Though unsightly, it’s a simple, nontoxic approach to kill many adult fungus gnats. It helps monitor fungus gnat populations and determine if they’re a problem.


Preventing Fungus Gnats in Houseplants

Fungus gnats often enter a house because the plants were outdoors, where adult gnats can lay their eggs, or because they originated from polluted soil. This movement can only be stopped by not bringing plants inside. Since houseplants reside inside, this is not a permanent solution.


The best solution is to isolate new or long-term outdoor plants. Keep the plants in their own room for 17 days (a full life cycle) and check for adult gnats. You can bring the plant in with your other plants after eliminating insects.1


Avoid overwatering houseplants to prevent gnats from finding wet soil and a full runoff saucer. Let the soil dry between waterings as much as the plant can handle; don’t risk its health.



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