The Q&A Archives: Fruit Flies on Seedlings

Question: I have a number of seedlings growing under a light indoors. There are what look like fruit flies milling around them. What can I do to control them? I would prefer a non-chemical method.

Answer: Based on your description it sounds like fungus gnats are breeding in the potting soil. Often, this is a sign that the soil is being kept too wet -- your goal should be moist like a wrung out sponge rather than saturated and dripping. Luckily, these are fairly easy to control. To eliminate their breeding ground, place a layer of grit or sand on the soil surface to create a dry barrier. Water deeply and allow the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings. Also, do not let the pots stand in water after each watering. You should see results in a week or two as their life cycle is completed.

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