Can Gnats Harm Your Plant Life
Adult gnats are primarily a nuisance they do not damage plants or bite people. In the larva stage, they will feed on the roots of plants and the surrounding soil, but they are unlikely to cause any damage. Because the life cycle of gnats is so short, some wont even eat at all during their adult stage.
Basically, they live to lay eggs, birth a new generation, and annoy people who are just trying to enjoy the nice weather!
In reality, they are beneficial to birds and other insects as part of the food chain, and they can be helpful with pollination. Though pests like gnats can drive everyone crazy, they still do have a purpose and are valuable in keeping the natural environment healthy.
How Do You Get Rid Of Gnats In Your Lawn
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In order to kill the gnats, do a thorough sweep of your backyard to locate all areas where gnats might be laying eggs.
Subsequently, question is, how do you get rid of gnats inside? Pour diluted bleach down the sink or tub drain, if you find gnats hovering near plumbing fixtures. Mash rotten bananas into a bowl, stretch plastic wrap over the top, and poke holes in the plastic. Kill individual gnats by employing a spray bottle filled with water, vinegar, and dish soap.
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Gnats don’t show up around your yard or garden without a reason. Often times it is because they have been drawn to your property via a fungal source or some sort of moisture or rotting organic matter since these are prime places for them to lay their eggs.
How do you get rid of an infestation of gnats?
A half cup of warm water plus two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and about six drops of liquid dish soap just might be able to cure your gnat woes. They’ll be lured in by the sugary mixture, but once they dip in for a drink, the sticky dish soap will trap them.
Why Do Spiders Make Webs Everywhere
Spiders use these webs to catch their prey. Any insect that comes close to it sticks to the threads. The strands of the web are sticky. Later, the spider injects venom into the trapped insect using its fangs. The venom kills the prey, allowing the spider to eat it. However, spiders not only use these webs for food, but also they use them to hide from predators, protect their eggs, or for transport convenience. You have triangular-shaped webs or funnel-shaped ones. These webs help spiders to climb to higher points by releasing silk strands into the air so they can transport easily. This method is known as ballooning or kiting. Some spiders need to disperse after hatching, while adult ones use ballooning too for convenience. They can thus travel on jet streams that take them across oceans.
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Types Of Fungus Gnat Larvae
There are six different families of insects which make up the broader category of fungus gnats. These six families include the Sciaridae, Mycetophilidae, Ditomyiidae, Bolitophilidae, Diadocidiidae, and Keroplatidae.
Most fungus gnat species are not harmful to our gardens, but the dangerous ones are in the Sciaridae family.
While adults dont cause any lasting damage, the fungus gnat larvae of that family will move on to plant roots once their preferred foodstuff is gone. The larvae will chew holes in the roots and can cause yellowing, wilting, and even plant death in large numbers.
Not only do they damage roots, but the Sciaridae can spread disease. Since their preferred food is fungal growth, they can easily pick up spores from infected plants or soil and spread leaf spots, scabs, cankers, rot, and more.
Fungus gnat adults are often confused with mosquitos as they look similar in shape, but are much smaller. These tiny black gnats rarely get any larger than an eighth of an inch long.
The larvae themselves grow a bit larger than the adult gnats. Fungus gnat larvae have a black, shiny head with a white to clear body that can reach almost a quarter inch in length. Theyre hard to locate because they tend to remain under the soils surface, out of view.
Contaminated Soil: Check To Do
Leave the soil open for a few days . If you see flies around, then you are certain that you have fungus gnats . So you know that if you use that soil, you are going through lots of hassle. If you still want to give it a shot, you might consider sterilizing it.
Other actions to reduce the risk of fungus gnats are:
- Choosing a peat-free potting mix. Such as one containing coconut coir, for example, this one on Amazon. This will help make sure you dont accidentally import eggs from elsewhere.
- Eliminating damp and dark spots in your home , which could harbor gnats that could spread to your plants.
- Quarantining plants, you purchase outside for a while, to check they are not harboring gnats that could spread to other plants.
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Environmental Fungus Gnat Control
One particular form of bacteria will destroy fungus gnat larvae. Bacillus thurigiensis var. israelensis. Its not in most commercial BT sprays, but it is available as part of a product called Microbe-Lift BMC Fertilizer.
Use this to fertilize with, and you should see a decline in your fungus gnat problems.
Another way to get this bacteria in your soil is by sprinkling Mosquito Bits over the surface and watering them in. You can use these both indoors and outdoors. They arent just for mosquito killing!
As they break down, they release Bacillus thurigiensis var. israelensis into your soil, where it can get to work killing larvae.
Beneficial nematodes can also play a major part in eradicating the fungus gnat larvae. You wont be able to see these microscopic soil-dwellers, but they will take out the fungus gnat larvae along with hundreds of other soil-dwelling pests.
For people with indoor plants, you can add these nematodes to your soil with one of these Nema-Globe Pot Poppers. Larger garden or full yard coverage can be achieved using Dr. Pyes Scanmask, which disperses the nematodes evenly with water.
Be aware that you cannot use beneficial nematodes at the same time as your hydrogen peroxide soil drench, as it will kill the nematodes! Wait for at least a couple weeks after the infestation and then add nematodes back into the soil.
Eye Gnats Or Grass Flies Or Eye Flies:
Eye gnats are known by many different names like Grass Flies, Eye Files, etc. But they all belong to the Chloropidae family of flies.
Eye gnats are very small flies that are attracted to fluids secreted by the eyes, nose, and ears in both humans and animals. And because of this these files are known to transmit eye diseases and conditions such as acute conjunctivitis .
They prefer to live in areas with loose sandy soil but can thrive in many environments.
Lifecycle of an Eye Gnat:
The lifecycle of an eye gnat is also divided into four stages. It takes 3 weeks from the development of an egg to the emergence of an adult during the summer season.
Female eye gnats lay eggs below the surface of loose soil. These eggs are pearlescent white and approximately 0.5 mm long. Eggs hatch into larvae in about 7 10 days. Larvae are 3 mm in length and are whitish in color. They feed on organic matter.
After full development larvae undergo the pupae stage. The pupae are just about 2.25 mm in length and reddish-brown in color. After about 7 days in the pupae stage, adult eye gnats emerge.
- Eye Gnats are known to spread disease-causing organisms like Streptococcal skin infection bacteria, vesicular stomatitis virus .
- As they are attracted by eye fluids and hence they transmit eye diseases like acute conjunctivitis.
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What Are Fungus Gnats
Fungus Gnats make up 6 of the 7 families in the superfamily Sciaroidea. They can be helpful because they aid in the decomposition of organic matter, like in compost. They’re typically just annoying, but there are predator types in the Arachnocampa genus in the Keroplatidae family.
The are also pollinators and even can aid in the spreading of mushroom spores.
The main problem associated with them is they carry diseases that are particularly deadly to plants, such as pythium, which causes a condition called damping-off, as mentioned below.
Unlike other pests, you can find these year-round due to their bodily make-up including antifreeze proteins that makes them exceptionally tolerant of cold weather.
Category 3 Chemical Methods:
12. DEET Insect Repellent:
DEET repellents are the best and most effective means to get rid of gnats. The bad part about them is that they can cause health issues if used in high concentration for a long period of time. But nevertheless, they can protect you from different types of insects like biting flies, gnats, chiggers, ticks, and fleas.
13. DEET Pump Spray:
This is another very effective DEET pump spray from Repel. It has 40% DEET content that helps to deter flies for almost 8 hours. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers, and fleas.
14. NON-DEET Gnat Repellent Spray:
This is a revolutionary anti gnat spray made entirely from natural ingredients. You can use it on your kids and dont have to worry about any itching, rashes, or stinky smell. It repels gnats, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, sand flies, fire ants, and fleas.
As per the claims made by the manufacturer this product has the active ingredient Geraniol which is twice as strong as DEET and completely safe as per the FDA.
15. Ammonia to Kill Gnats in Drains:
If the source of gnats in your kitchen is your kitchen sink drain then this is the method that you should go for. Pour around 200 230 ml of ammonia inside your drain. This will damage the breathing tubes of the larvae and kill the adult ones.
Note: Ammonia has a foul smell and is toxic to humans so use it carefully. Make sure to wear eye and mouth protection while working with Ammonia.
16. Insect Foggers:
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What Are Gnats Attracted To
The consensus surrounding what attracts gnats is that they are drawn to decaying organic matter. This can span a wide range of items including your household garbage, or even dying plants. Heres a list of common items found in and around the home that could attract gnats:
- Fruits and vegetables, especially when overripe.
- Sugary liquids like sweet tea or soda.
- Mild acids like vinegar or wine.
- Dead garden plants.
- Sewage or sewage access pipes.
- Overly watered plants that have developed fungus.
- Dead rodents.
Best Insecticides To Kill Gnats
If you eliminate likely breeding areas and go through your house to get rid of adult gnats, youll likely stop seeing them within a short period.
With that said, there may be some infestations severe enough to require a more aggressive approach. If this is the case in your home, the best method for getting rid of gnats is to use a chemical insect fogger.
Foggers can clear your home of gnats and other pests, but they are also messy and should be handled with care, and have your house completely cleared of people, for the duration recommended. Generally, its best to try less aggressive methods first and only use a fogger if you feel its necessary.
For a less intrusive chemical approach, you may consider using the yellow sticky traps from Gideal also available at Amazon.
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Drench The Soil In Potted Plants
Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacterium that occurs naturally in the soil. Bt var. israelensis kills the larvae of fungus gnats. Follow the directions on your product to make a Bti drench and use it to saturate the soil in your potted plants. It will coat the plant roots without harming them and kill fungus gnat larvae that try to feed on them. You can find Bti formulated for houseplants and outdoor plants.
Once the gnats are gone, let your houseplants or outdoor plants dry out slightly between waterings to discourage the adults from returning and laying more eggs. If you see gnats around the drainage holes of your pots, put small pieces of fabric over the holes but make sure excess water can still drain out.
Also, remember to refrigerate fruits and vegetables, when possible, and throw away decaying or bruised foods in outdoor trash containers.
Are Gnats And Fruit Flies The Same Thing
No, they are not the same thing. While fruit flies may sometimes be mistaken for gnats they are from different parts of the fly family.
If you need to know how to kill fruit flies, here is a way to kill fruit flies quickly.
- Remove any ripe fruit from the house, which has attracted fruit flies indoors.
- Use a drinking glass or jar, and pour 2-3 of Apple Cider Vinegar into the glass, which will attract fruit flies. Then, add 2-3 drops of dish soap to the vinegar. The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar where they eventually drown.
- Wrap the top of the glass with clear plastic wrap, and place a rubber band around it,
- poke several small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick, to allow fruit flies to access the vinegar solution.
- The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar where they eventually drown.
- When the fruit fly problem is gone, simply dispose of the contents of the jar.
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Why Am I Getting So Many Gnats In My House
The leading causes of having many gnats in your house are moist breeding grounds for gnats. It includes food spillage, wet potting soil, overwatered grass or plants, garbage cans, potted plants, puddles in the kitchen or outside your house, leaky pipes under the sink, condensation around windows, and vents.
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Enjoy Your Spring And Summer Pest
If youve completed the previous steps of environmentally and biologically creating a healthy and safe atmosphere that successfully controls the number of pests swarming your yard you are on your way to enjoying the warmer months!
Additionally, by preventing unnecessary damage to your home and yard, you will avoid the potential for a home insurance claim.
You decided to be responsible for safeguarding the environment and reducing unnecessary pollution for that you should and will be rewarded by a beautiful, pest-free yard and garden this spring/summer.
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Overwatering: A Classic Mistake
Overwatering is the cause number two, after infested soil, for fungus gnats in potted plants .
This is particularly true in autumn/winter. Indeed, what I noticed chatting with gardeners, is that overwatering is caused by lack of any seasonality in the watering pattern. Indeed, in cold and cloudy weather, when not much photosynthesis is going on, not much water is needed. Moreover, the low temperature also reduces the water that naturally evaporates from the growing medium. Hence, during winter, you should water way less your plants.
People forget that, and they end up constantly dumping the plant-soil in the cold season. This is the perfect environment for fungus gnats to lay their eggs.
How to avoid overwatering?
First, to avoid overwatering, it is important to test the soil before applying water. Just stick your finger in the potting mix Is the soil moist? If so, then its enough, no more water is needed. This simple truth is applicable to the vast majority of houseplants and especially herbs. Remember, it is quite often easier to recover a plant from lack of water than too much water.
Second, avoid letting stagnant water sit for too long in trays and saucer beneath pots. Indeed, that water might be closer than you think to the plant roots. Moreover, if dry, the soil will suck water from the bottom, making the situation worse .
Eliminate Potential Reproduction Sites
The first step in getting rid of gnats is to deny them the opportunity to reproduce. Like most flies, gnats have very short lifespans. If they are not allowed to lay eggs, the gnats that are already in your house will die relatively quickly without being replaced by a new generation.
Many species of gnats can lay their eggs in fruit or vegetable matter left in your trash cans, which is why its important to keep trash covered and get it out quickly if you have a gnat infestation.
Fungus gnats can also lay their eggs on or next to houseplants that have developed mold, so its a good idea to check all of your indoor plants for signs of fungus.
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Kill The Babies And The Adults To Prevent Multiplying
Search for their breeding ground in order to kill the larvae and stop the cycle of procreation.
- For fungus gnats: The best method I’ve found is using a combination of steel wool and yellow sticky traps in my potted plants. I cover the top of the soil with coarse steel wool to shred emerging baby gnats flying out of the soil and adult gnats that fly in to the soil to breed. I recommend getting medium coarseness or higher, and don’t get the steel wool sponges because those have big holes that are easy for flies to get through. I also hang these Trapro Sticky Fly Traps on the plant to catch flying gnats loitering nearby. This combination ensures that I kill every single gnat possible.
- For fruit flies: Fruit fly larvae live in fruits, so just dispose of infested fruits in your kitchen and refrigerator. Hang up those sticky fly traps to catch existing ones.
- For phorid flies: Drain-fly larvae live in the sludge and film within your drain, but they may also breed inside the dirt that covers the outside of the pipes. Wipe down the outside with soap and water, and then do another wipe down with distilled white vinegar.