The Q&A Archives: Natural solutions to problem gnats in houseplants

Question: Gnats seem to love houseplants. Is there a natural solution to get rid of them? I don't want to spray heavy or toxic pesticides and such on my indoor plants.

Also, when bringing houseplants indoors (AZ summers), how can I treat my plants to make sure I am not bringing in little gnats and bugs?

Any help is appreciated!

Answer: Fungus gnats are so annoying, but you shouldn't have to use pesticides to get rid of them. They breed in moist potting soil, so you can break the breeding cycle by allowing the surface of the soil to dry out. If you have plants that need moist soil simply place a quick draining and fast drying layer of gravel or sand on top of the potting soil. This makes an effective barrier and if you use aquarium gravel, you can choose your favorite color. You have to be a little patient with this method because you have to wait through the next generation's maturation before they are gone for good. In other words, once the generation now already in the soil become adults and die off without being able to reproduce, there should be no more gnats. Another method is to remove the top layer of soil and replace it with fresh. As for treating houseplants before bringing them indoors, the best thing to do is examine them very closely, underneath foliage, in the crooks of stems, etc. for any sign of insects. If you don't see anything, you're probably safe, but you can also hose them off with water, wiping them down with a soft cloth. Do this in the shade, and don't let them sit in the sun after hosing, as the foliage can burn from the dissolved salts.

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