What's This Pest?

We all know them, we all hate them: Fungus Gnats. They're constantly buzzing around, they have no sense of personal space, and they're just so unpleasant overall. While fungus gnats are harmless to humans and pets, they are still just SO annoying. If left alone, a fungus gnat infestation can quickly get out of hand. While it does take some time for these insects to completely disappear – about 5-6 weeks – the treatment is ridiculously simple, and we've got the easiest instructions for you!

Identifying Fungus Gnats

Mature fungus gnats are tiny: Their size ranges from about 1/16 - 1/8 of an inch in length! Adult fungus gnats are a grayish-black color and have oblong, translucent wings. Fungus gnat larvae may be up to 1/8 of an inch in length. The larvae have a small, black head with a thin white or transparent body. Compared to a fruit fly, adult fungus gnats have a thinner body with longer legs and antennae.

Where to Find Them

If you see a few tiny insects flying around, you'll want to check your plant's soil. Plants with soil that is too moist are the perfect breeding ground for fungus gnat Adults will live for about a week, dying after they lay their eggs near the surface of the soil. A few days later, the eggs hatch into larvae, which burrow deeper into the soil to feed on fungi and decaying plant material. About two weeks after that, adult gnats will emerge from the soil to repeat the lifecycle.

Preventing Fungus Gnats

Some plants are more likely to be a home for fungus gnats – snake plants, peace lilies, and spider plants to name a few. Regardless of the plant, keep an eye on the soil moisture level for all of your plants. Fungus insects will seek out any moist soil, so letting your houseplants dry out a little can help to slow down or stop an infestation. Gnats may be deterred from laying their eggs if the soil is too dry on the surface.

Treating for Fungus Gnats

Getting rid of fungus gnats is really very easy, but it can be a little time consuming. You need to get rid of the adults you currently have, but then you need to make sure that you're keeping up with the treatment to catch the next few waves of adults that will emerge from the soil. All in all, you want to give yourself five weeks to completely get rid of the insects. This timeline allows for a full lifecycle and then a little extra time to catch the eggs that were laid after you started to get rid of them. You have a few very simple optoins for treatment:

Sticky Tabs

In our opinion, sticky traps are the best way to get rid of adult fungus gnats. These insects are attracted to the color yellow, so those will be much more effective than the clear, white, or blue options. 

Most sticky traps are sold with sticks that you can put into the soil, but they're even more effective if you cut them into small squares and place the traps directly on top of the soil. Adult gnats will fly or crawl onto the card and become trapped in the glue. You can find these traps at any hardware or garden canter, and online.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Find a shallow container – a mason jar lid is perfect – and fill it with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar so that the liquid is at least 1/4-inch deep. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap into the mixture and stir gently.

Place the trap on top of the soil where you found the fungus gnats. Check it every few days to refresh with new vinegar and water.

Mosquito Dunks

Mosquito dunks are used to keep mosquito larvae from populating smaller bodies of water like fountains, troughs, fish ponds, etc. They're a small dry pellet that contains bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis, which infects and kills the larvae of flying insects, including mosquitoes, fruit flies, and fungus gnats. 

To use mosquito dunks: Fill a gallon jug or watering can with water and mix in a broken up mosquito dunk. Let the dunk soak in the water for as long as possible (at least overnight), then remove it from the water (the dunk can be reused!). Use this water for fungus gnat–infested plants. The bacteria-filled water will infect and kill any larvae that it comes into contact with. Repeat this process every time you water your plants for at least a five weeks or a few months.

Still Unsure? Let Us See!

We know you love your plants and just want the best for them! If you want to triple check and make sure that you are, in fact, looking at a fungus gnat infestation, or if you just have a general plant question, send us a photo at info@dahingplants.com or text (609) 968 - 7063. One of our Plant Experts will help confirm which pest you're looking at and the best methods of treatment for you!

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