09 Jan Pest Tips: Fungus Gnats
We get lots of questions on pests and we will be posting a series with tips to prevent and remedy common houseplant pest issues. Today we have tips for dealing with those annoying fungus gnats.
If you are feeling frustrated, it’s understandable! Remember that our plants are the natural habitat for bugs, and some pest prevention measures are part of the package that comes with plant parenthood. Definitely not my favorite part, but it becomes much easier when you focus on prevention and taking care of issues early!
Fungus gnats are small flying pests often confused with fruit flies. They lay eggs in the soil of plants and are particularly fond of damp conditions. They are more bothersome to us than they are dangerous to our plants, although the larvae can eat plant roots and cause damage if not taken care of. Luckily, this is one of the easier pests to remedy.
1. Prevention is key. Always inspect plants before buying them. Feel free to lift the plant from the pot and take a look at what’s going on beneath the soil. It’s also good practice to isolate any new plants for a couple of weeks to make sure you aren’t inadvertently introducing pests to your other plants.
2. Fungus gnats love moist conditions so the best thing to do is reduce your watering! I have found that this cures 90% of the issue for most of our plant friends!
3. Products containing BTI, like Mosquito Bits can be added directly to the soil, or to your watering can and have an immediate impact. We add mosquito bits to our rain barrels to prevent mosquitos and pass the benefits on to our houseplants as well.
4. If you spot a particular plant that is the issue, it can help to remove the top inch of soil and replace with fresh soil. Keep the surface of your plant free of leaf debris as well. This helps with controlling the environment that leads to infestations.
But we can’t stress enough, to keep fungus gnats at bay make sure that you are watering you plants appropriately and for most plants allow them to dry out a bit more between waterings. If you have a particular plant you have questions on we are always happy to assist! Give us a call or stop by the Gainesville Plant Shop and our team of Proud Plant Parents will be happy to assist you!