The Q&A Archives: Fleas in Hanging Planters ?

Question: Hi - I believe I have fleas in my petunia hanging basket (which is made of brown coconut shavings). I did try spraying it with a bug repellent, but is there anything else to do? I have a dog and want to avoid fleas. Thank you!

Answer: I don't think there are fleas in your petunia hanging basket. I think you have a population of fungus gnats. Fungus gnats feed and breed in decaying organic matter so the potting soil in your hanging basket provides an almost perfect environment for them. One of the easiest ways to control them is to place a barrier between moist potting soil and the little pests. You can simply cover the soil with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or cover the top of the soil with pea gravel or decorative rock such as those used in aquariums. Whatever you use, make sure there are no tiny entrance holes for the gnats - they're sure to find them. To capture any that are just flying around you can prop yellow sticky traps at foliage level. For some reason the color yellow attracts them and if you smear a piece of bright yellow construction paper or poster board with petroleum jelly the gnats will land on it and get stuck. Replace the sticky traps every few weeks and eventually you'll reduce the population of gnats in and around your plants. Or, you can drench the soil with a product called Gnatrol. Hope this information helps!

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