What Can You Spray on Indoor Plants to Kill Gnats or Ants?


House plants help make a home relaxing and inviting. Keeping them lush, green and blooming requires the care of a dedicated owner. Seeing that little black bugs have taken over your indoor house plants can be discouraging and frustrating. Fortunately, ants and fungus gnats are easy to get rid of and not often incredibly damaging to the plant.

About Ants

Ants that have infested house plants may be attracted by sweet-smelling flowers or overly wet soil. There are literally hundreds of species of ants that invade our homes. If it seems there is a never-ending trail of ants leading to your house plants, it is because there is a never-ending supply of ants. Each species tends to have a preference for sweets or protein. Those on house plants tend to like sweet foods.

About Gnats

Fungus gnats are well named, as they like to eat rotting plant matter and fungus. Exceptionally moist potting soil will attract and breed gnats. They cause little to no harm to the plant but certainly do not add to its beauty.


You can purchase insecticide to spray on your plant and kill both ants and gnats in one shot. However, these are highly toxic substances and should not be sprayed where children or pets roam. Read the ingredient lists before making your purchase. Pyrethrum-based insecticides are less toxic than others. Insecticides that state they have an insect-growth inhibitor can be sprayed on the potting soil to prevent gnat larvae from developing.

Less-Toxic Sprays

There are several choices for using less-toxic sprays to kill ants and gnats, some of which can be used around pets and kids without worry. You can make your own spray solution with tea and/or soap that can work on both pests. Soap sprays can be made by filling a spray bottle with water and adding a few drops of dish soap. Tea sprays are made by boiling water and tea leaves. The tea is poured into a spray bottle with some drops of soap added. Other options that take less work to prepare include using window cleaner to spray on your plant or purchasing a premade natural bug spray that is safe for plants. Get OFF Me Natural Orchid Bug Spray, Pure Neem Oil and Victor Poison-Free Ant Killer are just a few of the safer products on the market.

Keywords: house-plant pests, house-plant ants, house-plant gnats

About this Author

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working with animals as a zookeeper and wildlife educator, and in pet rescue. Freelance writing since 2007, her work has appeared on websites such as Modern Mom and Trails, and includes pet-related topics, environmental issues and parenting matters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Cal State University-Sacramento, and minored in biology.

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