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How to Get Rid of Gnats on Plants

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So, you like having house plants scattered both indoors and outdoors, all over your house. After all who doesn’t? Flowering plants can be a calming influence and the sweet fragrance of the flowers can permeate your home giving it that cozy and lived in feel. And then you suddenly find out that your house is literally abuzz with tiny flying insects that seem to be crawling out of the soil of your potted plants. These pesky little insects can put a damper on the most avid of horticultural enthusiasts.

  • What Are Fungus Gnats?

Fungus gnats are actually very small black flying insects. These bugs thrive in houseplants soil. Once an infestation occurs you will be able to easily see them crawling all over the top of the soil, or just simply flying around your precious plants.

The thing about most fungus gnats is that they live and breed almost exclusively in the soil. The adult female gnat will lay large numbers of eggs in the moist soil, and the larvae (typically extremely tiny white worms that are generally visible to the human eye only with the aid of a powerful magnifying glass) and typically tend to feed on old roots and any other damp organic matter that may exist in the soil.

  • Differences between Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies

The thing about fungus gnats is that they look remarkably similar to their distant cousins, i.e. the fruit fly, and indeed, so similar are they to each other that your average layman generally mistakes the former for the comparatively more prolific latter.

Fungus gnats almost always lay their eggs in warm and moist soil so that their larvae will be able to hatch and thereafter feed on the small roots of the plants, fungus, decomposing leaves or any other organic matter that may be present in the soil. However, unlike their fruit fly counterparts they have absolutely no interest whatsoever, in consuming fruit.

There is a very simple way of differentiating between the two. If you were to see teeny tiny black bugs hovering around your potted plants than the odds are that they would be (fungus) gnats.

On the other hand, the little insects doing the rounds of your favorite fruit salad would be fruit flies. (As their very name implies, they simply love fruit). Besides, fruit flies are also known to infest dirty garbage disposal bins as well. Something fungus gnats are not known to do.

  • How to Get Rid of a Fungus Gnat infestation from the soil of your Houseplants

Since they live and breed in the soil of your (indoors and outdoors) houseplants, it makes sense to target your eradication efforts exclusively, in and around your plants.

Fungus gnats are an undeniable nuisance and unfortunately very difficult to eliminate, especially if you have an overly large number of plants scattered all over your house. The adult gnats can easily hop, skip, and jump from one plant to another, whenever you start spraying them with insecticides. And whichever plant they land on, they will be sure to lay eggs, provided of course, that they are able to find moist soil in the first place.

This is why directly attacking adult gnats, either with a potent pesticide or even a folded newspaper will not have all that much of an impact, because the adults, just like their fruit fly cousins do not have a life expectancy beyond a few days at most. This is why their elimination rests with tacking the problem at the roots, very literally indeed. In other words, you have to eliminate them right at the larva stage when they are busy feasting on the roots of your precious plants. Once the larvae are gone, so too will the adult fungus gnats, vanish as well.

  • Stage one: Go for the adults

Here, the very best time to take action is to take preventive measures at the very first indication of a fungus gnat infestation in your houseplants. Of course, you can commence hostilities against your unwanted guests by the simple expedient of spraying them with a powerful pesticide and thereby derive the satisfaction of watching them drop, writhe and die in front of your eyes. But this is a stop gap measure at best, due to the fact that the larvae and eggs will simply give rise to yet another generation of gnats, thereby continuing the cycle.

  • Stage two: Get to the ‘root’ of the problem

Now that the adult gnats have been consigned to the dustbin of history, the next approach will be to zero in on the near invisible larvae, happily feasting on the roots of your plants. The simplest method of doing that is to ensure that you do not over water your plants. Remember, fungus gnats only breed in moist soil. By effectively ensuring that your soil is too dry for them to lay eggs you will not only kill off the larvae, but also the eggs as well, and thereby put a complete stop to this cycle, once and for all.

By this it is not meant that you refuse to water your plants at all and they start wilting due to a lack of moisture. On the contrary, simply make sure that there is no excess moisture due to over watering the plants. Not only will this confirm that your plants are not waterlogged, but the pesky gnats will be derived of a place to breed.

Once you successfully accomplished these two stages, you are good to go and can enjoy your houseplants in peace.

Safely Eliminate Gnats From Plants Using  Insecticide Products From Solutions

Solutions Pest & Lawn has a number of professional insecticide products that contain natural ingredients which can eliminate gnats and are safe to apply to your plants Dominion Tree & Shrub. You could also use Evergreen Pyrethrum Concentrate or Cyonara Lawn & Garden RTU. Apply the product according to label directions.


Now that your gnat your plants can grow and thrive in peace. For more helpful pest control and lawn care advice, call us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or live chat with a representative online.

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