When it comes to pests in the home, few are as annoying as gnats in plants. These tiny flying insects are attracted to dampness and organic matter, which makes fungus gnats fond of houseplant potting soils.
While they don’t typically cause extensive damage to plants, gnats can be a nuisance to both you and your plants. You can do a few things to eliminate gnats in your indoor garden.
One is to make sure that the soil is moist but not wet. You can also spray the soil with a mixture of water and vinegar.
Another option is to use a pesticide specifically made for gnats.
Read on for more information on how exactly to resolve your gnat problem and stop it from happening again.
What Draws In Gnats?
Your first question should be, what is attracting the gnats in the first place?
Well, there are a few things.
First, they’re attracted to dampness. This is why you’ll often see them near sinks, in bathrooms, or near other sources of water.
They’re also attracted to organic matter, such as decomposing leaves or overripe fruit.
If you have plants in your home, they’re likely the source of your gnat problem.
The insects are attracted to the damp soil and organic matter in the potting mix.
Signs Of A Gnat Infestation
One or two gnats are generally not caused for alarm. However, if you start to see large numbers of gnats, it could be a sign of an infestation.
Here are a few signs that you have a gnat problem:
- You see large numbers of gnats flying around your plants or near the soil surface.
- The leaves of your plant are wilting or yellowing.
- The plant’s growth is stunted.
- You see small whiteflies on the leaves of your plant. These are gnat larvae.
If you see any warning signs, it’s time to take action.
Getting Rid Of Gnats In Plants
Now that you know what’s attracting the gnats, it’s time to learn how to get rid of them.
Here are a few options you can try:
Ensure The Soil Is Moist But Not Wet
Gnats are attracted to damp soil, so it’s important to make sure the potting mix is moist but not soaked.
To do this, water your plants in the morning and allow the excess water to drain away.
Then, let the top layer of soil dry out before watering again.
Spray Plants With A Mixture Of Water And Vinegar
Vinegar is considered nature’s insecticide, and it will kill gnats on contact.
To make a vinegar spray, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water. Then, transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your plant’s leaves. But I am not a fan of doing that. Learn how to use vinegar to get rid of fungus gnats on indoor plants.
Use A Pesticide Specifically Made For Gnats
If the vinegar spray doesn’t work, you can try a store-bought pesticide. Look for one that’s specifically labeled for use against gnats or whiteflies. Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully to avoid damaging your plants.
Go natural: Check out this article on Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats using Cinnamon.
Introduce Predators Into Your Home
A few insects feed on gnats, including ladybugs, green lacewings, and parasitic wasps. You can purchase these predators online or at a garden center.
Then, release them into your home according to the package directions.
Take Measures To Prevent Gnats From Coming Back
Once you’ve gotten rid of the gnats, you’ll need to take steps to prevent them from returning.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Keep your plants healthy. Healthy plants are less likely to be attractive to pests.
- Remove decaying leaves and other organic matter from your plant’s potting mix.
- Be sure to water your plants in the morning, so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.
- Do not overwater your plants. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out between watering.
- Inspect your plants regularly. Check the leaves and stems for signs of pests.
- Use a potting mix that drains well.
- Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pots to improve drainage.
- Keep the area around your plants clean. Remove any dead leaves or debris that could attract pests.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to get rid of gnats in your plants and keep them from coming back.
In addition to the methods above, there are a few other things you can do to prevent gnats in your plants:
1. Move Your Plants Away From Doors And Windows
Gnats are often brought into homes on clothing or shoes.
To prevent them from getting into your house in the first place, keep your plants away from doors and windows.
2. Keep Your House Clean
Gnats are attracted to dirt and debris, so keeping your house clean is important. Vacuum regularly and wipe down surfaces to remove any potential attractants.
3. Use Traps
There are a few different types of traps you can use to catch gnats. Sticky traps are the most common, but you can also use light traps or bait traps.
4. Practice Good Hygiene
Be sure to wash your hands after handling plants or potting mix. This will help prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
5. Dispose Of Infested Plants
If your plants are severely infested with gnats, the best course of action is to dispose of them. This will help prevent the pests from spreading to other plants.
Overall, gnats are a nuisance, but they don’t seriously threaten your plants. However, if left unchecked, they can become a severe problem.
If you think you may have gnats in your plants, it’s important to take action immediately.
Use the methods described above to eliminate them and prevent them from returning.
With a little effort, you can get rid of gnats in your plants and keep them from coming back.
You can enjoy your plants without gnats by taking preventive measures and being diligent about inspection.