What are fungus gnats?
Fungus gnats are little flying insects that lay their eggs in soil. The adult bugs are a pain, and like any creepy-crawlies, a little gross, but not harmful. The problem is the larvae, which love to munch on young roots and tunnel into plants. “Seedlings, rooted cuttings and young plants can be severely damaged or killed by fungus gnat larvae.”
Why do you get fungus gnats?
These insects love damp organic matter, which happens to be great for your plants too. The more “good stuff” in your soil, the more likely that you are to attract fungus gnats. Soils that hold moisture especially well, including those with coconut coir, are more likely to see fungus gnats.
How do we stop fungus gnats?
At GreenTree, we employ integrated pest management, working with our local partners, IPM Labs. We cultivate predatory mites within our soil to create an ecosystem of predators and prey. Mites eat fungus gnat larvae and help us manage a soil's fungus gnat population.
How can you control fungus gnats at home?
The easiest way to interrupt the fungus gnat life cycle is to let soil dry out between waterings. This is not always feasible, depending on what you are growing and how you are growing it. Rodale’s Organic Life suggests catching adult fugus gnats with sticky traps placed on the surface of your soil. You can also transplant your plants into uncontaminated soil, but this is a time-consuming and costly option.
You can also use some of the control techniques we use here at GreenTree, including catching the adult insects in vinegar and attracting larvae with potato slices. Find easy tutorials for both of these options here.
If you have questions about controlling fungus gnats in your home or garden, reach out to our soil experts at GreenTree.