The Q&A Archives: Amaryllis Flies

Question: My amaryllis plant has many small flying bugs. How can I get rid of them?

Answer: There area number of small flying insects that might be attracted to your amaryllis. Here are two possible pests and what you can do: There are two different flies that cause problems in houseplant soil at various times of the year. Fungus gnats live in moist places and feed on decaying organic matter. They can be a problem all year around, especially if you have many houseplants.

Fruit flies seem to gravitate to houseplant soils when there's nothing else of interest in the house. Fruit flies are a nuisance in late summer and early fall because they hover around overripe fruit (especially on kitchen counters) and can live in drain traps and garbage disposals when the fruit is removed. Try scraping the top half-inch of soil out of the pot and replacing it with fresh potting soil. This should eliminate any eggs that the flies have laid. If this doesn't do the trick, try putting decorative stones on top of the soil in the pot. This will provide a barrier to the moist soil. If neither of these treatments works, make a sticky trap to mount just above soil level. Take an index card, paint it bright yellow, smear it with petroleum jelly, and place it on or in the pot. The yellow color will attract the flies and they'll get stuck when they land on the card. Replace the trap as necessary.

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