Fungus gnats, Bradysia spp., are not only a cause for concern in nurseries and greenhouses, but also for homeowners who enjoy having houseplants. These tiny creatures have dark wings, measure about 1/8-inch long, and resemble flies. Colorado State University Extension points out that fungus gnats have a unique Y-shaped pattern on their wings. Although the insects are harmless to humans, they feast on plant roots. This can lead to the stunted growth of your favorite flower, herb, or vegetable. It is best to follow a few pest control steps to properly eradicate the infestation.
Use Yellow Sticky Traps to Confirm a Problem
Place a yellow sticky trap near the soil of each houseplant. If fungus gnats are indeed the source of your problem, you'll discover them on the trap. The adult gnats are drawn to the yellow color, however, when they land on the trap, they won't be able to fly back off. Within a day or two you'll be able to see if you have an infestation, and about how big it is. If the amount of adults is small, you can simply get rid of them by replacing the yellow traps every few days until you no longer notice any gnats.
Apply Bti to the Soil
Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis , or Bti for short, is a biological agent that can be used to get rid of the fungus gnats in your soil. This form of pest control is not harmful to humans or pets, and is therefore safe to use in your home. The University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program reports that Bti works on fungus gnat larvae and should be mixed with water at the rate provided on the product label and then sprayed directly on the soil of the plant you wish to treat.
The University of Connecticut's Integrated Pest Management Program recommends the use of entomopathogenic nematodes to get rid of the fungus gnats. Just like Bti, nematodes attack the gnats at the larvae stage. These microscopic worms feed on the larvae from the inside out. Follow the instructions to mix the nematodes with water before introducing them to the plant's soil.
Prevent Future Infestations
Another important part of pest control is to prevent future infestations from occurring. Since fungus gnats are drawn to moist conditions, it is essential that you keep from over watering your houseplants. Additionally, it is helpful to use only pasteurized potting mix when planting your flowers, as this soil has been treated to kill any harmful pests that could cause damage to your vegetation.
Talk with a pest control company, like Ram Pest Management, LLC, for more help.