How to get rid of fungus gnats

How to get rid of those annoying flying bugs in indoor plants

Do you have a problem with little flies hovering around your indoor plants or even your kitchen compost caddy?

Often people refer to these little monsters as fruit flies, but they are actually fungus gnats or vinegar flies. They don’t bite or spread disease they are just incredibly annoying.

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How did they get there?

Fungus gnats are notoriously bad for hitch hiking in on potting mix. They thrive in warm, humid and damp conditions - which is often what you’ve got if you’ve got a collection of indoor plants. They will lay eggs in the soil in the right conditions and before too long you’ve got an epidemic on your hands.

Vinegar flies will be present in most fruit and veggies if you purchase from shops. They will generally hatch out and then it feels like you can never get rid of them.

But you can!

How to get rid of fungus gnats from your indoor plants

Ease up on the watering, let the surface of the plant dry out between waterings.

You can purchase yellow sticky traps to catch the mothers to stop the breeding process. Just be cautious of using these especially if you have geckos as you’ll catch them too!

If they are really bad, get some eco-neem and apply it to the soil. Reapply regularly to keep it under control.

Edited: Thanks for the tip Kathryn - Also try adding a layer of sand to your plants to stop the breeding cycle.

How to get rid of vinegar flies near your compost caddy

The most common reason why you have vinegar flies is you’ve likely got some fermenting food lying around.

Upgrade your kitchen compost caddy (the container you use to store scraps until you get out to the compost bin) to be air tight - this will stop them getting in and out. And make sure you snap it tight, they can get into the smallest gaps.

If you’re currently experiencing an epidemic, move all fruit and veggies into the fridge until they are under control. Sorry tomato purists but it needs to be done. And that goes for potatoes too.

Double check your sink, we’ve found it can be a breeding ground if there is a piece of food trapped in the drain. Regularly flush it out with some boiling water.

You can also catch them with a vinegar trap. Essentially you just put out a shallow dish of vinegar and the flies come into drink and drown. It doesn't catch them all, but if you've got a lot it will make a small dent in the population. The sticky yellow trap will also help with these guys as well.

So I hope that helps with the annoying little flies that pester you in your house. What strategies have you used that have worked?

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1 comment

Putting a lamp with an incandescent bulb near your indoor plant may be good for the plant, but the heat helps the insect larvae in the soil to hatch.

John O

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