What are fungus gnats?
Have you ever noticed those little bugs flying around your indoor plants? Known as fungus gnats, these annoying little creatures are small flies (around 3mm long) that are attracted to moist potting soil and decaying plant material at the base of indoor plants.
While they can look similar to mosquitoes, fungus gnats don't bite or sting. The adult gnats are harmless to both humans and plants, however it's at the larvae stage where they pose a risk to your plant babies.
Fungus gnats lay eggs in the houseplant's soil. These eggs grow into larvae which feed on fungi in the soil (hence the name!) and are around 3mm long with a shiny black head and an elongated, white-ish body.
The larvae usually eat fungi, however, they will sometimes eat plant roots and seedlings which can leave your plants wilted.
How to treat fungus gnats
The most important thing you can do to avoid fungus gnats is to avoid overwatering your houseplants (seriously, don't do it!). It's super important your plants have good drainage and that you allow the soil to dry out between watering - not to the point where you plant begin to wilt, but enough that the soil isn't continually moist. Plus, don't forget to drain any excess water that may have accumulated in saucers.
The eggs and larvae usually die in dry soil so this alone can help you keep fungus gnats under control. If you're still having trouble, isolate the affected plant to reduce the risk of the gnats spreading then use this simple, household remedy:
- In a clean spray bottle combine
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 1 part warm water
- A few big drops of dish soap
- Spray the mixture all over the soil and leaves where the bugs are a problem. Repeat this a few times to make sure you've covered the whole plant, making sure you get under and over all the leaves. You should start to see the fungus gnats coming up to the surface of the soil - they will be attracted to the apple cider vinegar then trapped by the soap until they die.
- Once your plant has been well-sprayed, give it a biiiiiig water and rinse to remove the residual apple cider mixture. Make sure the water is coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of your plant.
- Monitor your plant and keep it away from others for a few days to make sure the gnats are all gone!
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Fungus gnats are a common indoor plant pest, especially where humidity and moisture are high. While they're not usually damaging to your plants, they can get pretty annoying 😫 Today Trent explains how to make an easy, DIY spray to protect your plants! What you'll need: 🌱 A spray bottle 🌱 1 part water 🌱 1 part apple cider vinegar 🌱 A couple of squirts of dish soap Just mix everything together in your spray bottle and spray all over the affected plants (make sure you get under and on top of all the leaves!). When you're done, give your plant a nice BIG watering 🌱 💦
As with all plants, take care when using any treatment and if you have any questions or need advice, please reach out!