How to Get Rid of Gnats on Houseplants and Kill Gnats in Plant Soil

Fungus gnats, sometimes known as soil gnats, are tiny flying insects that plague anyone who owns houseplants. The eggs of the small flying insects develop into larvae when they are placed in potting soil. Gnat larvae grow well in moist soil, and they pose a danger to young plants’ roots. These flies may fly around your plants or you may notice them in your houseplant potting soil. Gnats can quickly infest other plants in your home with fungal diseases as gnat larvae develop into flying insects.

How to get rid of gnats in houseplants: Disrupting the lifecycle of fungus gnats is the best way to get rid of them. Killing gnats, their eggs, and larvae in plant pot soil with neem oil, hydrogen peroxide soil drenches, beneficial nematodes, and pyrethrins is a great idea.

To capture and kill flying gnats, you may utilize yellow sticky traps. Fungus gnats feed on the fungus that grows in the soil and belong to the Sciaroidea superfamily. They are also bothersome pests in your home, apart from fungus gnats infesting your plants. As a result, getting rid of gnats on houseplants keeps your plants happy and the infuriating flies from bothering you.

How to Eliminate Fungus Gnats on Houseplants and In the Soil

You need to act quickly when you see little gnats flying around your plants. You probably don’t want potentially hazardous chemicals in your home, even if some pesticides can kill gnats quickly. As a result, what are some of the best natural ways to get rid of gnats from houseplants?

Here’s a list of natural remedies for fungus gnats and houseplant soil that will help you get rid of them:

Hydrogen peroxide to kill off fungus gnat larvae —To clean the soil and eliminate these bugs from the plant’s root, make a soil drench with 3% hydrogen peroxide. To stop the lifecycle of gnat larvae in the soil, this treatment is used.

Neem oil to eliminate houseplant flies  —The fungus gnats’ hormones are disrupted by this oil, which is a natural insecticide. Both a soil flush and an organic insecticidal homemade spray can be made with neem oil.

Yellow sticky traps to kill flying gnats—Gnats will die when they get stuck to the traps because they are attracted to yellow. Gnat counts are reduced and the breeding cycle is broken using these gnat solutions.

Beneficial nematodes to kill fungus gnat larvae—Since they feed on fungus gnat larvae, certain sorts of nanroundworm (Nematoda) are useful. They don’t harm your plant, but they kill small pests in the houseplant soil, which is a plus.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) fungus gnats trap—ACV attracts tiny flying pests and traps them when combined with some sugar and dish soap.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) to kill plant flies—Another way to get rid of flying gnats is to add DE to your plant pot soil. As these bugs emerge from the potting soil, diatomaceous earth, which is a naturally occurring silica powder, should kill them.

Fungus Gnat Overview

The family Sciaridae includes fungus gnats, which are common houseplant pests. These tiny flying insects are 0.08 to 0.3 inches (2 to 8 mm) long and can be found in the family Syrphidae. Gnat larvae, which may harm young or struggling plants, feed on fungus in potting soil. Fungus gnats may spread fungus to other plants. As a result, getting rid of houseplants’ insects is extremely important.

Fungus Gnat or Fruit Flies?

If you want to get rid of fruit flies and fungus gnats, it’s important to distinguish between them. Gnats are tiny mosquitoes that appear dark gray to black. Fruit flies, on the other hand, have a spherical shape and are more similar to the common housefly.

Fungus gnats, for example, only seem to fly about plants or crawl over the earth or leaves. Fruit flies are most often seen around garbage bins or rotting fruits.

What Are the Symptoms of Fungus Gnats on Plants?

How do you know if fungus gnats are eating your houseplants? It may be tough to detect the presence of houseplant gnats if your plants at home are generally healthy and there are just a few flies. A gnat problem is clearly indicated by seeing small mosquito-like flies.

You may start to notice evidence of gnat egg and larvae activity on your plant if your potting mix is infested with them. Gnats on houseplants are known to cause the following symptoms:

  • It is important for weak plant development to get enough light
  • The first yellow leaves of the season
  • Plants that start to wane

Life Cycle of Fungus Gnats

You need to understand something about the lifecycle of fungus gnats in order to effectively get rid of them for good. Gnats breed quickly and have a short life cycle. Gnats should be eliminated as soon as possible because of their breeding and reproduction patterns.

Fungus Gnat Eggs

During its one-week existence, one adult gnat can lay up to 300 eggs. Females deposit eggs at the base of plants. The immature grubs emerge after around four to six days and begin feeding on organic matter.

Fungus Gnat Larvae

Gnat larvae feed off of decaying plant material and live in the soil. In two weeks, they have grown to around 0.25″ (6 mm) in diameter. The tiny white bugs will begin eating their way through your plant if there is little organic matter in the soil or if your plant roots have a fungal infection. They go through the pupal stage once they reach full size. The egg, larva, and pupa stages all occur in houseplant soil.

Fungus Gnat Flies

The tiny adult gnats emerge from the soil after the pupal stage, which lasts three to four days. The cycle then repeats itself. Eliminating each stage of the gnat’s life cycle is the best way to get rid of them for good. You not only need to kill the little flying creatures, but you also need to destroy the larvae and eggs.

How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats

How do you get rid of a fungus gnat problem? Now, let’s see some of the most effective gnat control tactics available. If you want to say goodbye for good to these bugs, you’ll probably need a combination of methods.

Water Houseplants Sparingly to Prevent Gnat Bugs in Soil

Make sure that your houseplants are watered properly and then the first step is to eliminate fungus gnats. Female grasshoppers need moist, wet soil to survive. Therefore, before watering your houseplant, let the top 2″ (5 cm) of soil dry out. As a result, you should avoid watering at set times.

Always make sure to wet the plant’s soil somewhat before watering. The only place fungus gnats thrive is in soggy soil. This is due to two factors:

  • The moisture required by fungus gnats and larvae is important. They perish without water.
  • Female gnats that lay eggs are drawn to soil that is moist. As a result, these troublesome gnats avoid dry plant pot soil.

recall that during the winter, you should water less often than in the summer.

Yellow Sticky Stakes to Trap Gnat Flies

The key to winning your fight against these little flying insects is to keep sticky yellow strips on you. These traps help to prevent adult gnats from producing additional eggs by capturing a vast number of them. At the soil surface, place the yellow fungus gnat traps horizontally.

The more flies you capture, the more trap you employ. Adult gnats are of course killed by yellow sticky traps. You’ll need to take care of the problem of gnat eggs and larvae developing in your homeplant soil, in addition to the traps.

Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Fungus Gnat Bugs in Houseplant Soil

When soil gnats are in the egg, larval, or pupal stage, using 3% hydrogen peroxide is an simple way to kill them. On contact, hydrogen peroxide kills gnat larvae and eggs.

The eggs and larvae of the gnats are removed, and the lifespan cycle is broken. You may make a hydrogen peroxide soil drench to get rid of gnats in houseplants. To eliminate pests in potting soil, do the following:

  • Leave the top two inches (5 cm) of potting soil in your houseplant to dry out.
  • Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with 4% water to make a one-part solution.
  • To kill germs in the soil and allow all the liquid to drain, thoroughly water plants with a hydrogen peroxide solution.

Hydrogen peroxide has an antifungal and sterilizing effect on potting soil, which helps to eliminate gnat larvae.

Other Ways to Sterilize the Potting Soil and Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplant Soil

Sterilizing potting soil takes a number of different approaches, each of which is time-consuming. You should remove the plant from the pot, wash all soil from the roots, and dip the whole pot in washing water before these treatments work.

Rinse your plant and repot after sterilizing the soil. You can sterilize potting soil after you’ve prepared your plant. There are a variety of ways to eliminate bugs in plant soil:

  • Microwave method—To eliminate bugs in plant soil, microwave moistening potting mixture for 90 seconds. To exterminate any soil pests, the temperature should reach between 160°F and 180°F (71°C and 82°).
  • Sun method—You may get rid of little insects in plant soil by removing the potting soil and leaving it exposed to high temperatures for four to six weeks.

These time-consuming methods are not for everyone who owns a houseplant. In many situations, it’s preferable to replace the contaminated soil with a new, sterile potting mixture.

Neem oil for Fungus Gnat Larvae Control

When it comes to natural, organic pest management, neem oil has a variety of uses. For getting rid of a variety of houseplant pests and bugs, including gnats, a neem oil spray is helpful on the leaves. A neem oil soil drench is another option. Gnats and fruit flies are sensitive to neem oil, but you and your plants will be fine.

Neem oil is a effective, safe pesticide alternative, according to scientific study. The development of eggs, larvae, and pupae is disrupted by oil. In addition, neem oil protects female gnats from depositing eggs in the soil by acting as a deterrent. Neem oil ultimately poisons and kills off a wide range of houseplant pests.

Neem oil soil drench to kill off gnats

To get rid of soil bugs, you may make an organic, natural neem oil soil drench. Wait until the top half of your soil is dry before dumping the bug-killing liquid on it. To stop the fungus gnat life cycle, follow these steps:

  • Make one gallon (3.7 liter) of solution by mixing four teaspoons of neem oil and a teaspoon of liquid soap.
  • The oil and water should be thoroughly mixed.
  • Use neem oil to water your plants and drain it after that.
  • Continue applying the neem oil treatment until you no longer detect gnats.

Neem oil natural insecticidal spray for gnats

This is how to make a neem oil-based homemade gnat spray:

  • Fill a quart (1-liter) spray bottle with one tablespoon neem oil and a teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
  • Shake well before filling with water.
  • Every week, spray your plant leaves and stems with a drying agent.
  • Flying gnats should be killed by the residual effect of neem oil.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) To Kill Gnats

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic pesticide that is mineralized fossil dust. When plant flies emerge from the soil, you may dust a layer of DE on top of potting soil to kill them. When gnats come into touch with microscopic silica, it cuts through their outer skin. DE has no effect on houseplants, animals, or people, which is fortunate.

How to use diatomaceous earth to kill gnats:

  • To avoid inhaling the dust, wear a mask.
  • Leave two weeks in your planter with a dusting of DE on top of a dry potting soil.
  • Until the little black flying bugs are gone, apply DE after watering the plant.

The soil must be dry at all times while using DE. Before applying, make sure the top layer of the soil has dried out.

Pyrethrin Sprays to Get Rid Off the Small Flying Bugs

Using pyrethrin sprays, you can eliminate gnats, their eggs, and larvae. Natural organic compounds with insecticidal properties are known as pyrethrins. sprays can be bought at garden shops or online.

Gnat flies will be repelled simply by lightly misting the leaves. Spray the top two inches (5 cm) of soil with water if you have soil pests.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) For Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats

To exterminate flying gnats, you might try setting up a vinegar trap. Vinegar can help reduce the number of fungus gnats, but it will not get rid of them. Nonetheless, in addition to natural fungus gnat control tactics, you’ll want to utilize vinegar traps.

How to make an apple cider vinegar trap for gnats:

  • 2 tbsp. of whatever you want 1 tbsp of ACV 1 tsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of salt 5 fl. oz. liquid dish soap warm water (150 ml)
  • Until all of the components are dissolved, mix thoroughly.
  • Place tiny containers of ACV solution around where gnats are flying.
  • The gnats will be drawn to the trap by the sugar and vinegar, and they’ll be unable to fly away thanks to the dish soap.

Cinnamon Trap for Fungus Gnats

Cinnamon powder, according to some reports, can be used to exterminate gnats and larvae. Cinnamomum Cassia is supposed to have antifungal properties and eliminate pathogens that larvae feed on. The little grubs will die off over time, and the flies will go away.

Cinnamon fungus gnat traps have never been proven to be effective. If you’re curious, sprinkle cinnamon on the soil of an infected pot plant to see if it works. Your room will have a pleasant aroma even if the cinnamon gnat trap does not help to get rid of larvae and flies.

Environmental Fungus Gnat Control

Biological controls are one method for controlling fungus gnats on the offensive. Gnat eggs and tiny soil grubs can be wiped out by adding bacteria or microscopic worms to the soil. Let’s take a look at the two most common environmental gnat control tactics.

Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis

Bti, or Bacillus thuringiensis, is a bacteria that is effective against mosquito and gnat larvae. It’s also known as Bacillus thuringiensis. It’s essential to utilize the proper bacterial strain when combating gnats with Bti. The Bt serotype israelensis can be used to eliminate gnat larvae.

Bacillus thuringiensis var. is used to kill the larvae. Mix the liquid as instructed by the manufacturer for use against gnats. So that the bacteria may kill the fungus gnat larvae, apply the solution to your soil. After two weeks, reapply the product.

Beneficial nematodes

Another effective way to get rid of gnats in houseplants is to use beneficial nematodes. Nematodes are tinyworms that prey on soil larvae and help to control them. If you’re fighting other soil-dwelling pests, you can also introduce nematodes to the ground.

It’s vital to make sure that the various approaches you’re combining to eliminate gnats for good work well together. Nematodes can be killed by a hydrogen peroxide drench, for example. Therefore, before putting nematodes in the soil, wait two weeks following a neem oil or hydrogen peroxide flush.

How to Prevent Fungus Gnats

It is crucial to keep your annoying fungus gnats from returning once you have gotten rid of them. How can you keep fungus gnats from returning to your houseplants? Here are a few things to remember:

Control soil moisture—It’s always a good idea to water houseplants properly. When watering, this usually means waiting until the top layer of soil is dry. Also, make sure that the container is completely filled with water before watering plants in pots. Shallow watering encourages gnats and starves roots of moisture.

Inspect new plants—Inspect new houseplants for signs of pests before bringing them home. You should also quarantine new houseplants for two to three weeks to protect other plants in your home from possible infestation.

Mulching—Females may be prevented from laying eggs by using a layer of mulch on plant pot soil. Always check the soil moisture levels before watering, because mulch locks in moisture.

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