5 Affordable Solutions to Kill Fungus Gnats
If you are an indoor gardener, it is most likely that you’ve had fungus gnat problems in your garden. It’s those pesky little black insects that are about 1/8 inch in size and looks quite like mosquitoes. Fungus gnats or sciarid flies are often mistaken for fruit flies. They love humid environments and thrive in damp soil of houseplants. They are also likely to be seen in hydroponic systems where instead of growing plants in damp soil, make use of nutrient and water solution to feed the plants.
The adult fungus gnats do not harm the plants. The adults feed on the fungi at the plant’s soil while their larvae that cause the damage by feeding on your plant’s root system. This results to stunted plant growth, root rot, yellowing leaves and wilting. Here are some affordable remedies to help you get rid of your fungus gnat problem.
1. Use strips of sticky yellow cards to trap the gnats. Gnats are easily attracted to yellow objects, so using these sticky yellow cards to trap them should work out just fine. These yellow cards are available at your local garden store. But if you don’t have time to go to a garden store, you can make your own sticky trap. Get pieces of small yellow cardboards and paint them with corn syrup to make them sticky. Then place these boards in the affected areas to catch the gnats.
2. Let the soil dry up. If gnats love damp soil, then drying the soil is enough to make them go away. Although your plants probably won’t like this treatment, it is one of the easiest and most practical ways to kill gnats. Just let the soil to dry up completely and leave it for a couple of days.
3. Replace the soil. If you don’t like making your plants thirsty, your other option is to remove the infested soil and replace it with a new and sterile potting mix. Be very cautious when doing this to make sure that the insects won’t just transfer to neighbouring plants. Cover the affected plant with plastic and keep it outdoors, as far away as possible from the other plants. Remove the plant from its pot and thoroughly wash away the soil from the roots with a strong water sprayer. Then, scrub the container or pot inside and out before replanting the plant in a fresh and sterile batch of potting mix.
4. Use a vinegar trap. Aside from damp soil and yellow cardboards, gnats are also easily attracted to vinegar odour. Get a small jar or a plastic cup and then add ? inch of apple cider vinegar. Then, cover the jar with plastic and poke small holes on it.
5. Use liquid dish washing soap. Mix one teaspoon of lemon dish detergent or ivory liquid soap to a gallon of water. Drench the soil with this mixture. After an hour, spray the leaves with some clean water to wash away soap residues.
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