Gnats are a well-known type of fly that can cause many problems for any houseplant or garden. This is mainly due to gnats nesting in these plants where they lay eggs, around 300 fungus gnat larvae simultaneously. These gnat eggs can cause significant issues for the plant, as a gnat swarm is extremely dangerous.
The main questions to ask about gnats would be: why are they a problem for the plants? What natural ways can I use to get rid of these creatures, and what causes them to go after plants in the first place? How do you know you have a gnat problem, and how do you prevent them from coming after your plants in the future? These are essential to ensure your plants grow in the healthiest state possible.
Getting rid of these pests is vital to the survival of your plant. We’ll tell you everything about getting rid of gnats in plants.
What are Gnats, and What Problems Do They Create?
Gnats are small, fly-Esque insects usually found in people’s houses through open doors or windows. There are three types of gnats: Fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. Although other gnats can affect plants, the ones that affect plants the most are fungus gnats.
As harmless as they seem, it becomes a nightmare if not treated right away when they nest inside indoor plants or gardens. Gnats are most dangerous when they are still in the early stage of their life cycle. However, if you treat your plant right, these will not be issues.
However, a fungus gnat infestation can eat the roots of plants and can cause significant problems for the plant’s health. This major issue can be seen as the most significant reason they can be considered a threat. With this considered, it’s essential to know how to eliminate them.
What are Natural Ways to Eliminate Gnats?
There are various ways to get rid of gnats. However, if you want your plant, whether a potted plant or a garden plant, to live well, using insecticidal spray will not help. Instead, one method to get rid of them is to use gnat traps. Examples of some types of traps include vinegar mixtures, sticky fly traps, and neem oil mixture.
Vinegar mixtures are made from 2-3 drops of liquid dish soap and 1 cup of white vinegar. Vinegar mixtures trap the gnats in the solution after becoming attracted to it. Put the vinegar trap next to the plant, and it will work. Fly Traps can be bought at stores and can easily attract gnats due to the bright color of the paper. This paper is sticky, and the gnats will be unable to move.
As for Neem Oil, you can use this as another way to get rid of the insects, especially fungus gnats. Neem Oil is used in two ways: spray bottle and apply it directly to the plant. The primary way neem oil works is by repelling any fungus gnats around. Weekly apply the neem oil to the plant, you should ensure that it is used to the plant leaves, and it should be done after water, not before.
What Causes Gnats to Populate a Plant?
One reason gnats appear is due to overwatering the plant. If you have constantly been watering your plants, then the likelihood of you dealing with Gnats increases due to moist soil. However, overwatering also leads to root rot, so it’s a good idea to let your soil dry so your plant will have a better chance of surviving. If you are having issues with a potted plant, repot the plant with new potting soil and a new pot with drainage holes. If your dealing with a garden plant, plant a new one instead of repotting.
Another reason gnats can appear on the plant is due to the plant previously being in an outdoor setting. For example, if a plant is put in a pot indoors after being outside, sometimes it has eggs of gnats already growing inside it. These gnat eggs will then hatch inside, so it’s best to search thoroughly for these eggs and get rid of them.
Finally, another reason gnats can find plants attractive is if you are growing a fruit or vegetable, and the fruit is now rotten. So, again, the best solution is to get rid of this food as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will be swarmed by fruit flies.
What Are the Signs That you Have Gnats?
Gnats can leave signs that they are affecting your plants. These signs can help you determine whether or not you are dealing with gnats. Some of these signs include larvae of these flying insects, withering leaves, and yellow leaves. The fungus gnat larvae are usually a white transparent color that looks almost like tiny specs.
Another sign is the plant starts to wither or wilt. If the plant is wilting, then in all likelihood, the plant is being munched on by fungus gnats. Yellow leaves are another sign you are dealing with gnats. Usually, leaves are shed during a particular time or when the plant reaches a certain age. However, if the leaves are shedding too quickly, it’s time to start checking.
What are the Ways to Prevent Gnats in your Plants in the Future?
Some ways to prevent gnats in the future include adding beneficial nematodes to your garden or houseplant, adding some hydrogen peroxide, and removing any weeds near your houseplant. Adding beneficial nematodes will help to control the gnat population around a plant. Nematodes are helpful because they hunt down and kill any larvae and gnat eggs they find.
Another solution to this issue is bottom watering, where you put water in the bottom of the soil instead of the top. This process can help the topsoil no longer take so much water, which will cause the plant to heal a lot more.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Gnats in Plants Naturally
In summary, gnats are tiny pests that cause many plant issues. There are three types: fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats, but fungus gnats are the ones that affect plants the most. They can eat the roots of plants as larvae and cause root rot, and will appear at times when you overwater your plants. Signs of Gnats include the wilting of the plant.
The best ways to eliminate these gnats are sticky traps, vinegar mixtures, and neem oil mixtures. Gnats can become attracted to plants through rotten fruit, overwatered plants, and the transfer of outdoor plants to potted plants.
If you want to prevent gnats in the future, you can use beneficial nematodes, remove weeds from around the plant, and do bottom watering.