The Q&A Archives: little bugs in house plants

Question: I bought a house plant from the home depot and a few months after I bought the plant I started seeing little black like gnats, flying around the kitchen and I saw they were coming from the plant we bought. They come from the soil, I was told to buy houseplant & garden insect spray from garden safe. It kills on the surface but does not get rid of the problem, they are taking over my house, help what can I do Im ready to throw out all of my plants.

Answer: How aggravating! It sounds like a fungus gnat infestation. These little flying insects look a lot like fruit flies. They live in moist soil and breed at the soil surface. The best way to control them is to allow the top layer of the soil to dry completely between waterings. If the plants need a moister soil and thus more frequent watering, you could put a layer of sand or decorative rock on top of the soil -- either one of these will dry out faster than the soil. This should stop the breeding. Or, you could cover the tops of the pots with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to exclude the pests. Be sure to cover all of the soil surfaces in all of your houseplants. If it's any comfort, the adults don't live very long. In the meantime, yellow sticky traps will also help to control the adults.

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