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How to Get Rid of Gnats in Plants


The last thing you want is pests in your plants when you have worked hard for months tending to them. Gnats, or fungus gnats, are one of those typical pests that can damage your plants from the roots. Their larvae thrive in moist soil and insecticides are not always the solution as they can damage plants. If nothing is done to eradicate them, they multiply quickly. A female can lay up to 200 eggs in your plants; thus, a disaster for your garden.

The adult gnats are not as damaging to the plants as the larvae are. They don’t bite and are weak fliers. You can identify them in usually gray or black colors, with wings and long legs. When you water the plants, you would them flying out.

Gnats can lay generations of eggs in one pot. Therefore, efforts to eradicate them need to be immediate and consistent. Even though they survive for only a week, a gnat can lay 200 eggs in a single pot. The larvae take about a week to hatch and begin to feed on the underlying roots.

When plants begin to lose their texture or slow down in growth, they are infested and may have to be discarded.  They may get into your plants possibly when the new plant you purchased already had gnats. If there are small entry spaces to the house, gnats can easily get in. If you bring outdoor plants indoors, chances are that the gnats were already present in your plant and they start spreading to other plants or multiplying inside the house.

Trap them   

Place a few buckets of water mixed with vinegar, soap and detergent and place it in areas near the gnats. The gnats will fly in and drown. To accomplish this, the water in the buckets will need to be replaced every day.

Another way is to place a few jars filled with vinegar in areas that are surrounded with gnats. Seal the jar and use a nail to make holes in the lid. The smell of vinegar invites gnats. Once the jars are full, discard them. The gnats can fly in but they cannot fly out. You can also purchase ready made traps that are easy to place around the plants, you might want to take the plants outside if possible and allow them to dry out. 

Reduce moisture

Gnats need a moist environment to thrive and breed. Make sure that your house is properly ventilated, especially near the plants. Keep your house dry. Open the doors and windows for a few hours to let the air in. also check the dark corners around the house as gnats spread to and settle in hidden areas, for instance, around cabinets, kitchen counters and basins.

Once you water the indoor plants, dry the excess water around the plants with a sponge. Also, place your plants around those areas of the house where they can receive air. The plants should be allowed to dry completely before they are watered next time.   

Water plants from drip tray

Larvae need moist soil to survive and if they are already present in the plant, they will spread quickly. Gnats live at the top of the soil that remains wet for a few hours, depending on the air circulation. You could try watering the plants by pouring water in the cache pot below the plant and the soil will soak it in from the drainage hole. Remove excess water.

Sticky traps

Place sticky tapes near the plants to trap the gnat. This could help in limiting the gnat population as it traps them. However, different measures need to be taken to get to the root of the problem.   

Replace soil

If the plants have withered, remove soil and replant seeds. For indoor plants, remove the top part of the soil and replace with new soil. Discard old soil as it contains larvae and gnat eggs, which could spread to the house.

Don’t let them feed

Gnats feed on food crumbs and leftovers lying around in the kitchen or near the plants. In order to get rid of them, you want to remove their food so that they don’t settle and multiply. Don’t leave food lying around. After eating, always clean the counters, dining table or outdoors tables. Use an anti-bacterial surface cleaner to wash the counters or tables after using them.

Remain consistent in cleaning the house. Keep your house clean and organized everyday as this helps you in not only getting rid of gnats but other household pests as well.

Don’t leave food open as that also invites gnats. Always wash the dishes after using them and keep them dry.

Shut them out

When it comes to indoor plants, keep the gnats outside the house by sealing entry space, such as beneath doors, between windows and cracks or holes in the walls.

If you have to keep your doors and windows open for longer hours to ventilate the house, get netted doors attached or simple net attached to windows.

Kill them

When you spot gnats flying around, swat them.

If there are many of them, get an insect spray from a us and kill them. Avoid spraying on the plants. Spray in areas where the gnats have settled, away from kids, pets and birds. Withdraw from the treated area for several hours so that the chemical doesn’t harm you.

In order to completely get rid of gnats, you need to be vigilant, keep an eye on your plants and remain persistent in your efforts. You would be required to use a few measure in conjunction with others to keep them at bay or prevent them from multiplying. The efforts need to be repeated and rotated over time to see a reduction in gnat population.

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