Fungus Gnats are those little black flying bastards that hang around your indoor plants. Although they are not harmful to people or pets they will start to feed on your plants root system when they run out of decaying organic matter in the soil. Left untreated they can stunt the growth of your plants and cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop, they can also spread diseases and fungi from plant to plant.
Fungus Gnats have 4 distinct life stages that you must address differently to actually get rid of them and prevent them coming back. Luckily it’s actually really easy to treat them.
The 4 stages are as follows:
Adult- The little flying black pests are the adult stage of the cycle. Adult Gnats live for 8-10 days and the females can lay up to 200 eggs.
Eggs- Adult Gnats lay eggs in the potting mix. The eggs incubate in the moist, warm soil for 4-6 days.
Larvae-From the eggs emerge Larvae. Larvae feed on the decomposing organic matter in the potting mix for 12- 14 days.
Pupa-The larvae pupate themselves like a cocoon where they stay for about 4- 6 days, then eventually emerge from the soil as little ‘Flying Bastards’.
The indoor environment provides nice moist, humid conditions perfect for laying and incubating eggs. Fungus Gnats rarely hang around outdoor plants because the conditions aren’t as conducive for their life cycle.
Treating an Infestation :
- Spray the ‘Adult’ flying Gnats with ordinary old fly spray, 30cm from the plant. Or if your a bit of a hippy try spraying with apple cider vinegar in water, both work fine. Spray every couple of days as new adults can emerge at different times. Keep this up until the flying bugs cease.
- Put the plant outside in filtered light for at least 3 weeks and let the soil dry out a bit between watering so when the eggs hatch and new ‘Adults’ emerge they are not encouraged to lay eggs in the soil.
- Check your plant regularly and when you are sure there are no more flying bugs then take it back inside.
Avoiding an Infestation:
- Fungas Gnats thrive in warm, damp soil. The best way to avoid an infestation is to allow your plants to dry out a bit between waterings. Stick your finger into the plants soil up to the second knuckle on your finger, if you detect moisture leave it a few days and try again. If it feels dry, time for a water.
- As soon as you detect Fungus Gnats remove and treat all plants affected so as not to spread them to other plants.
Subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed using: