How To Remove Fungus Gnats from Your Houseplants
The small flying adult forms of fungus gnats hovering around your houseplants are just the symptom of an actual problem. It’s the gnat larvae found in the soil that do the real damage! Gnat baby larvae feed on algae, fungus and the roots of your houseplants. If present in small numbers, they will feast on an organic portion of the soil, but they can seriously damage the plant root system if present in large numbers.
Let see how you can remove fungus gnats from your houseplants!
Overwatering can be the cause of fungus gnat infestations around your houseplants. Only water your plant when the soil seems dry to prevent these tiny creatures from causing any damage. Baby larvae love to be in damp and warm environments, and your overwatered plants are the best place for them to thrive. Topsoil should be dry to a finger length before you water your indoor plant again to help slow the infestation. If fungus gnats are already present in your home, you need to take some additional steps to get rid of these tiny pests. You need to target the flying adults and baby larvae present under the potting mix. It will take some time to remove them from your houseplant thoroughly, but eventually, they will disappear with the proper treatment.
Move your houseplant
The infected houseplant needs a particular place until it is healthy enough to go back to its original location. It is better to keep your infected plant away from other plants, especially pot plants, as they can damage them as well if they lay eggs in the soil of all your other plants. Move your infected plant to a sheltered place in your home.
Pick sticky traps or carnivorous plants that can stick
Sticky traps or some carnivorous plants can trap and kill flying gnats. One flying adult can lay around 200 eggs, so trapping can help slow their growth. Sticky traps are available at any nursery or hardware store, and you can buy them at a reasonable cost. Alternatively, you can have sundews (Drosera sp.) in your home. These are the type of carnivorous plants with sticky leaves which can trap tiny pests like fungus gnats.
This is the best option for catching adult fungus gnats and stopping them from laying more eggs:
Neem oil spray
Neem oil is made from neem tree seeds and is an organic insecticide for plant pests. You can purchase it as a concentrate where you need to dilute it first in a spray bottle or pick the pre-diluted one that is ready-made. Spray the soil of the houseplant with diluted neem oil to take down the baby gnat larvae. Wet the top 5-10cm of potting mix using neem oil every week for two months or until the flying adults disappear. Make sure you don't overwater your plant while applying neem oil spray to your houseplants. Neem oil spray is harmless to pets or beneficial creatures such as earthworms.
Using a pest spray is also highly effective. Just be careful not to overdo it when you spray and to keep away from pets and children.
Create a soil barrier
Adding horticulture sand or small pebbles onto the plant’s potting mix has proved a successful way to get rid of gnats. Due to this, adult female fungus gnats can't lay eggs in the plant's potting mix and will eventually disappear as the reproductive cycle is broken.
Try all methods
Weekly checks on your houseplant, regular neem oil spraying and continued placing of sticky traps can help remove fungus gnats. Consistency is key.
If nothing goes well after applying every tactic to remove gnats from your plant, consider repotting it. A new potting mix will help decrease the egg count in the plant's soil but think of it as the last option as the unique potting mix can also carry eggs or baby larvae.