How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats In Soil Naturally.
Fungus gnats are completely harmless to plants but detrimental to our sanity. The only way to contain this issue is via nematodes. A biological pesticide that is healthier for your soil, plants and the environment.
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The best way to combat these critters is to first understand their life cycle. Fruit fly’s start in the soil. Once the soil is hydrated the fruit fly eggs will hatch.
Gnat Free Potting Soil
That means step one to fruit fly prevention is choosing a good quality potting soil or going with a soilless approach. A good quality potting soil will not be void of fruit fly eggs but it will have less. In fact we don’t want a “sterile” soil because this means we will not have the microbes needed to do basic processes, such as nutrient cycling. Try reusing potting soil that you have inoculated with nematodes or beneficial microbes.
Go Soilless– LECA
The other option is to go soil less. This would involve trying a semi hydroponic setup with LECA or something such as sphagnum Moss with bark. Many tropical indoor plants actually thrive off of this set up. The reason for this is because many tropical plants are epiphytes. Meaning they naturally grow on the bark and moss of large trees.
A soilless set up will help bring them more inline with their natural habitat. The perfect mix of air, moisture and nutrients for their unique roots. This is the perfect solutions for anyone who dislikes fruit flys and is a notorious over watering plant parent.
Kill The Adult Fungus Gnats
Once the fruit flys have decided to setup shop in the house the first step is sticky traps. The goal is to catch all the adult bugs that could potentially lay eggs. Regardless of what you treatment you choose this is an absolute must.
Take Out The Fungus Gnat Eggs
The second and ultimately the only solution you should use after that is something called nematodes. It’s less scary then it sounds I promise. Nematodes are microscopic critters that have been doing the heavy lifting in soils for millions of years.
Nematodes will simply eat all the fungus gnats eggs while you sleep. Within a few days you will have no more fungus gnats and nematodes with a belly full of food. This method is considered a biological control method and is going to be the way of the future.
Why Pesticides & Mosquito Dunks Should Be A Last Resort
When we use things such as mosquito dunks (which work) or we try homemade soap and alcohol mixtures we do more harm then good. While on the surface everything seems fine one a microscopic level it looks like an extinction.
Homemade pesticides organic or otherwise are unbiased when it comes to taking out the problem. Things such as beneficial soil microbes involved in nutrient cycling, mites that keep leaves pest free & even tiny structures on the plants itself such as the stomata can be harmed.
When we damage any portion of the natural organic systems within the soil, surrounding area of the plant we are setting back our progress. To avoid this try nematodes and sticky traps.
In summary ensure you are taking care of your soil and plants with the use of biologic deterrents such as nematodes. These are friendly for both children and pets. They have no smell and you will hardly know they exist.