Those tiny little sticky bugs that seem to have moved in and set up shop all over your house, particularly around your beloved indoor plants and no matter how much you swat or yell at them they won’t go away!
Breathe… you’re good, you haven’t done anything wrong. Fungus gnats are a normal part of owning indoor plants and all of us have had to deal with them at one stage in our plant parenthood journey.
These little guys lay eggs in moist soil where there is decaying matter to feed on, then the eggs hatch and the larva live and feed on fungal material while growing into an adult and then fly off to the next plant. Like a never-ending life cycle nightmare! If left untreated they can feed on the roots of your plants and cause them to yellow or even die. Gah!
The good news is we have some tried and tested solutions to combat these pesky buggers once and for all!
- Overwatering your plants. Make sure you always check the top couple of inches of your soil is dry before you water.
- Soil not able to dry quickly enough. Sometimes in winter when the air is cool it takes the soil a lot longer to dry out.
- Not enough light. Also impacts how easily the soil can dry at a normal rate.
- Decaying leaves or other plant matter is not discarded from around or under your plants.
- Water less and let the soil dry out at least 2 inches before watering again so that the soil environment isn’t an ideal growing place. If the soil is taking more than 10 days to dry this much then move it to a brighter and warmer area.
- Place yellow sticky traps around to catch flies.
- Place apple cider vinegar in a saucer near your plants and the flies will fly straight into it and drown.
- Mix non-toxic Diatomaceous Earth into the first couple of inches of soil, the microscopic shards of silica will literally rip the larvae to shreds as they crawl through it.
- Place slices of raw potato around the top of the soil. The larvae will flock to them after about 4 hours and then you can chuck them out and replace until you are not seeing any larvae or flies.
- Soak your entire pot of soil in neem oil (follow the instructions on the packet to dilute). Mix the solution and immerse the entire pot in a bucket to allow it to soak up from the top and bottom and spread through the whole pot. This will kill the larvae no matter where they are. Be careful to follow the dilution instructions so you don’t kill your plant!
Happy bug killing!