Containers forum: Bugs in potting mix

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Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 18, 2015 7:12 PM CST
Hubby bought a bag of cheap potting mix a few weeks ago, unfortunately it had a little gnat like insect population in it. Now these bugs are all through all my pots and crawling over all my plants. Horrid little tiny black things with wings. Don't seem to be eating everything just infesting everything.

Does anyone have any remedy for this or a natural type of insecticide I could try that is safe for succulents? Neem oil? I need help, it's getting worse. Thumbs down
Succulent Addict
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Jan 18, 2015 7:29 PM CST
http://garden.org/ideas/view/careyana/311/Be-Rid-of-Fungus-G...

I have never done this but might help.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 18, 2015 7:36 PM CST
Thank you Julia! I will read up on that. I thought it would clear up but this needs a nuclear option now.
Succulent Addict
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Jan 18, 2015 7:40 PM CST
http://garden.org/ideas/view/goldfinch4/796/A-Gnat-Tip-for-H...
another one. Type in nats in the search box.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 18, 2015 7:42 PM CST
I just found this - I could search once you told me the name of the pest Hurray! and hope it may help others. I'm about to try some of these.

http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/controlling-fungus-gnats...
Succulent Addict
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 18, 2015 7:47 PM CST
Windex? Wow that's easy. I wonder if our Windex is different from the Windex in the USA. I will soon find out. These gnats are driving me mad. Grumbling
Succulent Addict
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Jan 18, 2015 8:03 PM CST
Good article!!! Try the Potato slices and get a picture of what is under there in 24 hours.
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 18, 2015 11:42 PM CST
springcolor said:Good article!!! Try the Potato slices and get a picture of what is under there in 24 hours.

Oh ye gods....
Succulent Addict
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Jan 18, 2015 11:50 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Jan 19, 2015 1:18 PM CST

Moderator

Great links Julia and Patti.
I have used both hydrogen peroxide and windex with great success. I treated all my containers this last fall before bringing them indoors for winter. Not a single fungus knat this winter. Hurray!

Patti, you should see results soon if you follow the practice of watering, windex/and or hydrogen peroxide.
Can't wait to see your potato photo. Whistling
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 19, 2015 6:13 PM CST
I am soooooo NOT doing the potato thing. Sticking tongue out Happily doing the Windex (using my cheap Aldi substitute (which I already had in my cupboard) and seems to be less than yesterday in the gnat world. One plant in particular is infested but it's one of my very large Black Princes and a nightmare to take out. Maybe I will do the potato thing on that one and get hubby to remove it **shivers** No...wait, I'd have to look at the picture. so... not happening. Blinking
Succulent Addict
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Jan 19, 2015 7:05 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing You could use rubber gloves!!!
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 19, 2015 7:40 PM CST

Moderator

Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Pattty you are so funny. Do try the hydrogen peroxide drench. That will kill the grub stage that is in the soil.
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Jan 19, 2015 9:20 PM CST
Julia the rubber gloves only work if I can wear them over my eyes!

Lynn I will try the hydrogen peroxide mix this evening. Should I spray it on or pour it on the soil? Does it matter if I get some on the leaves? I hope it will work faster and more completely than the Windex. This morning there were some flying around in my courtyard so I just fogged everything up with fly spray then ran. Hilarious!

Honestly every time I see or even talk about these gnats I get itchy. There's just something about them that makes my skin crawl. If the hydrogen peroxide doesn't get rid of them I'm going to throw everything out (but the plants) and start again. I'll have a word to that nursery who sold that nasty potting mix too. Grumbling
Succulent Addict
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 19, 2015 9:38 PM CST

Moderator

Wait until it is time to water your plants again. Then mix the solution as per instruction, and water the plants as you normally would.

Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with four parts water. Allow the top layer of your soil to dry, and then water your plants with this solution as you normally would. The soil will fizz for a few minutes after application; this is normal. The fungus gnat larvae will die on contact with the hydrogen peroxide. After a few minutes the fizzing stops and the peroxide breaks down into harmless oxygen and water molecules. Repeat as needed.

This really worked for me.

Rednofl
Feb 14, 2015 9:03 AM CST
Top dress with Neem or karanga meal , and mix some in your soil mix.. Not only will it eventually get rid of fungus gnats , it is a great soil amendment
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Sunlover
Feb 14, 2015 5:02 PM CST
Thank you @Rednofl I would like to try your suggestions. I am still battling with these nuisances. I have neem oil but haven't heard of meal or karanga.

The peroxide works but I will have to buy a gallon of it to do all my pots.
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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
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Ecscuba
Feb 26, 2015 8:38 PM CST
I had the same problem this winter. And mine came out of a bag of brand name: potting soil. I bought a bottle of organic pest spray from my local nursery and it has helped a lot. Surprisingly, I thought these were fungus gnats, but I repotted a bunch of the plants, and there was no damage to the roots and there were no littlelarva or anything in there like it talks about on the web. The thing that helped the most was putting up a bunch of those sticky strips.I also found making a mixture of a little bit of sugar and soap in water and pouring it into a yellow dish or lid has worked beautifully. They are attracted to yellow, and they get in there and they drown. I have several dishes of that sitting around and I keep it filled up.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Patti
Australian Alps (Zone 8a)
I will never act my age.
Sempervivums Keeps Horses Cactus and Succulents Region: Australia Sedums Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Sunlover
Feb 27, 2015 1:32 AM CST
Thank you @Escuba -

I have decided not to try the neem as I have heard it can cause problems with succulent plants. What I have done now is put about a half inch of sand on top of all the pots and it has dramatically reduced the numbers I see flying around. It also smothers the ones trying to emerge from the soil. I will get the sticky traps too, to try and eradicate them completely before I have to pack the plants into the greenhouse for winter. Do you put the soapy water in a cap in the plant pots or just on the tables?

Interestingly I have grown lots of vegetable seeds this spring and 99% have survived, even with those nasty gnats around so maybe mine are also a less destructive type of gnat too.
Succulent Addict
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Feb 27, 2015 9:48 AM CST
@sunlover I used some larger yellow lids that I took off some food containers. I'd say they are about 3 or 4 inches across. I just put the solution in them and sat it on the shelf. Interesting that I also tried a blue one. They didn't even touch the blue one. The web said they are only attracted to the yellow.
It can be a yellow dish if that's what you have. I put several around on the shelves between plants and was surprised at how many were drowned in there each day. I understand it also attracts aphids. I used Murphys Oil soap (a drop) - but I think any good liquid soap would work.

I have one of those long sticky things hanging up in there, but am also going to get the yellow sticky strips which people say they lay flat between plants.

I bought peroxide at Costco and hauled all the plants out and I did the peroxide treatment - and it was after that when I repotted some of them. I didn't see any larvae (and didn't see any when I did the potato thing either) - but even after all that, I still have some buzzing around the plants. The population is dramatically reduced though. My understanding is the peroxide only kills the larvae so you need something for the ones still flying around.

Then I've been spraying with Ferti-Lome Quik Kill. That is working well too (but not 100%). Still got a few in there.

Mostly I think I have to quit watering so much - but I started buying the Lady Bug Vortex soil from my local nursery. It wasn't wet when I bought it like the Miracle Grow was. I think the Miracle Grow had the gnats in it as it was very wet when I bought it. Also started making sure I let plenty of fresh air in there daily.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.

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