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Please Help! I’ve Got Fungal Gnats - How To Get Rid Of Fungal Gnats

Please Help! I’ve Got Fungal Gnats - How To Get Rid Of Fungal Gnats

So, what’s up with Bradysia, or as we better know them – Fungal Gnats?

These little flies are part of the Diptera order which includes mosquitoes, and part of the Sciaridae family of dark-winged fungus gnats.

But does it actually matter? Aren’t we supposed to love and encourage insects?

Why Fungal Gnats are a Problem

Here at PIAB we have a ‘live and let live’ motto, but fungal gnats have the potential to destroy our beloved plants and we can’t have that kind of behaviour.

Fungal gnats are plant killers because they damage the fine root hairs on your precious plants. They spread nasties such as Fusarium, Pythium, Phytophthora and other fungal diseases.

Sorry gnats you’ve got to go.

How to Identify Fungal Gnats

Fungal gnats are not fruit flies! Fruit flies range from tan to black. Fungus gnats are dark grey or black. ... Fruit flies have a rounded silhouette like a smaller version of the common house fly. On the other hand, fungus gnats feature dangling legs and long bodies that make them appear similar to a small mosquito... Capeesh!

You might spot them when you’re browsing your phone or having a coffee because they tend to irritatingly hover around your face. Get out of my personal space! It’s because they love the carbon dioxide you’re breathing out.

Unfortunately for us, fungal gnats also prefer temperatures between 17 - 25 degrees Celsius which is the temperature of most households. A damp plant pot in a snug warm home is the perfect breeding ground for fungal gnats.

 

A close up view of a fungal gnat fly

What Are They Even Doing In My Home?

Fungal gnats eat fungi – big surprise huh?

They also chow down organic matter in the soil, the fine hairs on plants, and algae – all of which are found in your plant pots. They prefer the top three inches of soil so you won’t have to dig far to find eggs and larvae.

Yes, that’s right, fungal gnat larvae live in your plant pots.

Adult flies lay around 300 eggs over their short lifetime, and those develop into squirming larvae (hope you’re not eating right now). It only takes four weeks for those 300 larvae to grow wings and fly the nest.

You can see how infestations quickly get out of control.

It gets worse.

Flying isn’t the only way they spread!

Fungal gnat procession/migration is rarely seen and no-one understands it, but those wrigglers can suddenly up sticks and leave en-masse to search out a new abode.

Imagine those crawling across your coffee table – Ewww! Don’t worry though this is a pretty uncommon event.

 

A pair of hands holding soil

Get Out! How To Treat Fungal Gnats

Your fabulous foliage needs help. The good news is that we offer a Fungal Gnat Treatment Kit with some of the essentials for treating and preventing these unwanted pests to your plants.

This treatment and prevention pack consists of:

  •  1 x Bottle of Organic Neem Oil
  • 1 x 1L Bag of LECA Canna Aqua Clay Balls
  • 1 X Small White Sustee (water indicating device for plants)
  • 1 X Medium White Sustee
  • 1 X Large White Sustee
  • 1 x Box of Trusted Sticky Traps 

If you are new to Sustees, they will quickly become one of your favourite allies for keeping your plants happy. They indicate when to water your plants and importantly when not to water. This is very important when it comes to fungal gnats because overwatering can be a primary contributor to this problem.

Let's Put the Fungal Gnat Treatment & Prevention Kit to Work   

Here are a few ways to shift out those unwelcome squatters.

Let’s start with sprays.

1. Neem oil mixed with water according to manufacturer’s instructions is a good way to kill larvae. Spray soil and roots liberally until its drenched. Liberally is the key word here! 

2. Mix 1/2 Apple cider vinegar, 1/2 water, and a small squirt of organic washing liquid into a small bowl and place it on top of the soil. Adult flies can’t leave it alone and end up falling in. Much like us unsupervised around chocolate fountains.

3. 3% Hydrogen peroxide mixed one part to four parts water on dry soil will fizz and kill larvae on contact.

If you have a huge infestation we highly recommend removing the plant, treat the roots, and re-pot your babe in fresh fancy (premium) potting mix. Make sure you buy a quality potting mix, sometimes these little critters are already lurking in the bag. This is the quickest way to stop fungal gnats. 

Time for the Clay Balls

Build a barrier of food grade diatomaceous earth, washed sand LECA clay balls, or gravel so the fungal gnat flies can’t lay eggs in the first place. You can also hang yellow sticky traps to catch the adults.

Post Fungal Gnat Infestation Tactics

Once those unwanted pests are gone, implementing some preventative tactics will keep them out for good.

One of the best ways is to make your plant pot an unattractive place to live.

It’s good practice to let plant soil dry out a few inches at the top so you don’t overwater them, and this also creates dry conditions that fungal gnats hate. They’ll look elsewhere for a des-res if the soil is dry.

Now for the Sustees & Plant Food

This is where your Sustees come in super handy. Now you can keep on top of a watering cycle using your Sustees. Perfect!

When you do water you can include some of the liquid plant food. It's brilliant for indoor plants and will help give your plants what they need to grow strong and healthy.

You can also give roots a drench every couple of months with Neem oil and water just in case any killer fungal gnats are still sniffing around.

So that’s fungal gnats for you. We can’t stand them chewing on the roots of our precious babes. Roll up your sleeves and turf them out too – your foliage will thank you for it. 

 

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