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How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats in House Plants

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How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats in House Plants

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Overview

House plants can be home to a variety of insects that feed off their leaves, roots and soil, including fungus gnats. Fungus gnats begin as small, white maggots, and mature into black-bodied adults with wings. Vigilance and the help of insecticide can help get rid of fungus gnats in your house plants.

Step 1

Allow the plant's soil to dry to dampness before watering to control a fungus gnat infestation. Never over-water, as fungus gnats tend to congregate when the soil is very wet.

Step 2

Handpick fungus gnats off of your houseplants. Protect yourself with gardening gloves and use tweezers to remove larvae.

Step 3

Trap fungus gnats. According to the Colorado State University Extension, fungus gnats are attracted to yellow. Fashion your trap out of yellow cardboard or card stock. Smear small pieces of card stock with petroleum jelly and place them in your flower pots. The gnats will stick to the jelly.

Step 4

Eliminate fungus gnats by spraying them with water. The force of plain water in a spray bottle may knock the pests off the plants and scare them away.

Step 5

Use chemical means to get rid of fungus gnats. Choose an insecticide at your local gardening center that is safe for house plants and specifically designed for fungus gnats. Spray your plants with the H-14 strain of Bacillus thuringiensis to manage fungus gnat larvae. Bring your house plants outside before you spray, if possible, to reduce the amount of toxic fumes you bring into your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Spray bottle
  • Card stock
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Insecticide

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Houseplant Arthropod Pest Management
  • Colorado State University Extension: Managing Houseplant Pests
Keywords: pest removal, house plant pests, insecticide for house plants

About this Author

Erica Roth was a college reference librarian for 8 years, and has been a freelance writer since 2007. Roth graduated with honors from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature, and earned an Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Roth is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.