Home Improvement

Fungus Gnats: The way to Kill Them Perpetually


I’ve handled fungus gnats in my indoor and out of doors backyard earlier than. Whereas they didn’t do a variety of injury indoors, they decimated my out of doors sprouts throughout a very wet spring season. These dudes might not have the power in numbers that different pests do, however they will do injury shortly.

So controlling fungus gnat populations is essential. They go for potted crops and feed on natural materials – plant roots, and root hairs too. Overly moist soil is likely one of the attractants for these creepers. However there are others.

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Grownup fungus gnats have to be managed to regulate fungus gnat larvae as a result of their feeding isn’t the tip of fungus gnat issues. They’ll additionally create contaminated crops as they unfold fungal illnesses – one more reason it’s essential to regulate them.

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Good Merchandise At Amazon For Controlling Fungus Gnats:

  • Dealmed Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
  • Neem Bliss 100% Chilly Pressed Neem Oil
  • PyGanic Botanical Insecticide (Pyrethrin)
  • NaturesGoodGuys Useful Nematodes
  • Mosquito Bits

Fungus Gnat Overview

Fungus gnats
Fungus gnats are quite common pest bugs. Supply: andybadger
Widespread Title(s)Scientific Title(s)HouseholdOriginCrops AffectedWidespread Treatments

What Are Fungus Gnats?

Mycetophilidae fungus gnat
A Mycetophilidae fungus gnat has a pale coloration in comparison with different species. Supply: treegrow

In case you dwell in a temperate or tropical space, you’ve almost certainly seen insect pests known as fungus gnats earlier than. They’re small flies that infest soil potting soil, any container media, and different organically decomposed sources and supplies. Fungus gnat larvae feed on fungi and plant roots in soil and natural matter. They’re an issue in industrial greenhouses, houseplants indoors, and potted crops. Grownup fungus gnats are likely to emerge from indoor crops when hotter temperatures happen in spring and summer time. I’ve personally handled the indoor model of fungus gnats, generally referred to as fruit flies.

Grownup fungus gnats have an identical look to that of mosquitos as a result of they’re weak fliers. They’ve lengthy legs and lengthy antennae which can be longer than their head. These lengthy antennae distinguish them from considered one of their look-alikes, sturdy quick flies who’re like fungus gnats however are sturdy fliers. There are just a few species that attain as much as ½ inch lengthy, whereas most grownup fungus gnats are 1/16 to ⅛ of an inch lengthy. Their wings are clear and grayish, and the Bradysia species has a attribute y-shaped wing vein.

Kinds of Fungus Gnats

There are six completely different households of bugs that make up the broader class of fungus gnats. These embrace the Sciaridae, Mycetophilidae, Ditomyiidae, Bolitophilidae, Diadocidiidae, and Keroplatidae. Most fungus gnat species usually are not dangerous to our gardens, however the harmful ones are within the Sciaridae household, particularly these within the Orfelia and Bradysia species.

Whereas adults don’t trigger any lasting injury, the fungus gnat larvae of that household will transfer on to plant roots as soon as their most popular foodstuff is gone. The larvae chew holes within the roots and trigger yellowing, wilting, and even plant demise in massive numbers. Not solely do they injury roots, however the Sciaridae can unfold illness. Since their most popular meals is fungal development, they simply choose up spores from contaminated crops or soil and unfold illnesses.

Fungus gnat adults are sometimes confused with mosquitos as they give the impression of being related in form, however are a lot smaller. These tiny black flies hardly ever get any bigger than an eighth of an inch lengthy. The larvae themselves develop a bit bigger than the grownup gnats. Fungus gnat larvae have a black, shiny head with a white to clear physique that may attain virtually 1 / 4 inch in size. They’re exhausting to find as a result of they have a tendency to stay underneath the soil’s floor, out of view. They could, nevertheless, make a shiny path on the soil floor of closely infested crops.

Life Cycle of Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat larva
Fungus gnat larva, probably Keroplatidae household. Supply: Judy Gallagher

The life cycle of the fungus gnat is made up of 4 phases: egg, larvae, pupae, and grownup. Grownup fungus gnats lay about 300 eggs of their quick lifespan. They usually dwell for a few week as adults, in order that they take advantage of their time! Adults lay eggs in wealthy and fertile, moist soil on the base of home crops on the soil floor.

About 4 to 6 days after the eggs are laid, the gnat larvae emerge. These larvae are extraordinarily tiny at first. Through the roughly two-week interval through which fungus gnat larvae develop, they quickly improve in dimension by consuming their approach via natural matter within the soil. As soon as they’ve achieved most larval development, there will probably be a 3-4 day pupal part. The pupae will probably be hidden underneath the soil’s floor, and when the fungus gnat grownup emerges, they begin laying eggs once more.

Due to this fast life cycle, a number of generations of fungus gnat are sometimes born in fast succession as larvae feed. Subsequently, overlapping generations of adults emerge from the soil floor. Subsequently, many phases of the life cycle could also be current at any given time. Not solely do you have to do away with the annoying gnats themselves, however you have to take care of the larvae and discover a approach to sterilize the eggs earlier than the eggs hatch.

Figuring out Fungus Gnat Harm

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Fungus gnat adults don’t do a lot direct injury to crops. It’s the fungus gnat larvae which can be most damaging. A fungus gnat infestation includes broken roots that stunt plant development, particularly in younger crops. In houseplants which have an excessive amount of moisture of their potting soil, excessive populations of fungus gnat adults and larvae are related to the demise of plant matter. Earlier than that, it’s tough to inform whether or not or not the problem is feeding larvae or overwatering infections by fungi, or usually unhealthy roots.

Fruit flies don’t trigger a lot injury open air – although they did for me in that one freak spring that wouldn’t cease raining. Extra typically they infest houseplants or potted crops which can be saved indoors or in a greenhouse. Mixes that include a variety of coco coir or peat moss are prime environments. Sod farms are one other space the place fungus gnat adults can do their factor and proliferate.

Fungus Gnats as Illness Vectors

Sure, fungus gnats injury crops, but it surely’s essential to kill fungus gnat larvae and adults as a result of they will carry illnesses. These recovering from fungus gnat issues nonetheless face the chance of infections. Fungus gnat larvae can unfold fungus spores which can be dropped by grownup gnats to your plant’s roots, presumably inflicting various widespread plant illnesses. Probably the most generally transferred illnesses embrace black root rot, Pythium blight, Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight, and Fusarium wilt.

As a precaution, deal with any affected plant and people within the space with a copper fungicide a day or two after pesticide software. This ensures that in case your plant had contact with probably harmful illness fungi spores, they gained’t contract the illness. A root drench is more practical than spraying the plant’s foliage, as that’s the place injury can be performed.

Controlling Fungus Gnats

Sciaridae fungus gnat
A Sciaridae fungus gnat on a blade of grass. Supply: servitude

So, fungus gnats have attacked your African violets? Effectively, let’s discuss modes of controlling grownup flies and larvae too. Right here, we advocate you employ an built-in pest administration technique to cowl all of your bases and defend your houseplants and greenhouse occupants for good.

Natural Fungus Gnat Management

Curiously sufficient, a standard family merchandise is likely one of the prime suggestions that I’ve for controlling these pests. Hydrogen peroxide (the usual 3% topical selection) can be utilized as a soil drench.

Combine one half peroxide with 4 components water, and pour it via the soil on the root zone till it begins to return out of the bottom of the pot. The peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact.

Neem oil can also be an efficient soil soak to fight fungus gnat larvae. Dilute the oil with water per the producer’s instructions and immediately drench the soil on the roots of the plant. You may also spray the higher portion of the plant to maintain grownup gnats at bay.

Concentrated azadirachtin naturally happens in neem oil. It’s secure in hydroponic use in addition to in greenhouses, gardens, and indoors. Use it per the producer’s instructions in the identical approach you’d use neem oil.

Pyrethrin sprays are additionally efficient towards fungus gnats and their larvae. To make use of pyrethrins, flippantly mist all plant surfaces and the highest of the soil. You don’t need the crops dripping moist, a skinny mist will probably be sufficient. If there are fungus gnat larvae within the soil, spray the soil immediately the place adults usually relaxation to totally moisten the highest, then keep away from overwatering. Let the soil dry to a minimum of a 2″ depth. Reapply these in three to 4 weeks till the issue has subsided and the bugs are gone.

A predatory mite of the Hypoaspis miles species preys upon adults and larvae. It additionally assaults different bugs like thrips and springtails, which is usually a nuisance within the backyard or greenhouse. These are greatest employed open air or in greenhouses as single specimens are more durable to deal with.

In order you may see, there are a lot of organic management brokers to select from relating to eliminating fungus gnats. Apply pesticides along with good cultural practices and prevention strategies and also you’re set!

Cultural Management of Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat on table
Evaluating the gnat to the wooden grain, you may see how tiny it’s. Supply: davidshort

Don’t overwater your rising media. Waterlogged rising medium in houseplants is a first-rate breeding floor for these bugs. Don’t enable standing water to stay in saucers beneath houseplants or close to rising media for lengthy. Restore any irrigation system leaks that crop up, and preserve your rising medium away out of your potted greenhouse dwellers. Pasteurize the compost in your rising medium to remove any larvae that could be feeding on the natural supplies there. Use industrial rising medium blends which have been handled with warmth when you’re not into the concept of doing it your self. Transfer any contaminated plant matter and rising medium away from others when you deal with the issue.

Organic Elimination of Fungus Gnats

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One explicit type of micro organism will destroy fungus gnat larvae: Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis. These micro organism usually are not in most industrial BT sprays however can be found as energetic substances in industrial merchandise as effectively. Use them to fertilize your rising media, and it is best to see a decline in your fungus gnat issues.

One other approach to get this micro organism in your soil is by sprinkling Mosquito Bits or Mosquito Dunks over the floor and watering them in. You should utilize these each indoors and open air. They aren’t only for mosquito killing! As they break down, they launch Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis into your soil the place it may well get to work killing larvae. Mosquito dunks are bigger and take longer to take impact.

Useful nematode species can even play a significant half in eradicating the fungus gnat larvae. You gained’t be capable to see these microscopic soil-dwellers, however they may take out the fungus gnat larvae together with tons of of different soil-dwelling pests. For individuals treating an indoor plant, add these nematodes to your soil with a pot popper. Bigger backyard or full yard protection might be achieved utilizing industrial formulations, which disperse the nematodes evenly with water.

Remember that you just can not use useful nematodes similtaneously your hydrogen peroxide soil drench, as it would kill the nematodes! Look forward to a minimum of a few weeks after the infestation after which add nematodes again into the soil. In case you’re working open air, apply nematodes in cooler temperatures as sizzling climate will kill them earlier than they will do their job. Keep in mind repeated purposes are crucial, twice per yr yearly.

Stopping Fungus Gnats

Examine every plant your buy earlier than shopping for it. Examine their base, gently wanting via the rising medium to search out indicators of the clear or whitish fungus gnat larvae with a shiny black head. Keep away from these with seen adults round them. To be doubly certain that they’re pest-free, preserve them quarantined from different crops for a minimum of three to 4 weeks. This provides you loads of time to identify newly-emerged weak fliers, in addition to set up non permanent management strategies earlier than they will unfold.

Use yellow sticky traps to search out grownup gnats or uncooked potato slices. Because it solely takes one gnat to put probably tons of of eggs, you need to preserve the adults at bay! For an indoor plant, yellow sticky playing cards (or sticky traps) work effectively. Open air, you need to use double-sided yellow sticky playing cards or sticky traps. Entice them with a shallow container stuffed with apple cider vinegar as effectively. Lastly, mulching has an excellent impact towards fungus gnat infestation, because the mulch retains the adults away from the rising medium. This prevents them from laying their eggs. Use a thick layer of a stone chip mulch over your potting combine.

Often Requested Questions

Gnat under magnifying glass
A fungus gnat underneath a magnifying glass. Supply: fonten2012

Q: How do you do away with fungus gnats?

A: Use one of many three pesticides talked about above or a mix of all. For particulars, take a look at the Organic Management part of this piece.

Q: Are fungus gnats dangerous?

A: The larvae are particularly dangerous as a result of they feed on roots.

Q: How do you do away with fungus gnats in houseplants?

A: Use the Management part to find out the very best plan of action right here.

Q: What causes fungus gnats in the home?

A: They’re often interested in the sunshine in your own home, and make approach to your houseplants after they sneak indoors.

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