Houseplants forum: Houseplant Pests

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Name: Jenn Capestany
Trenton, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
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Jenn
Nov 27, 2011 11:13 AM CST
Any tips on getting rid of houseplant pests? I tend to bring mine out in the warm months, and use homegrown compost to enrich the soil. Consequently I get fungus gnat issues every stinking year! Their larvae are killing some of my herb pots. Letting the soil dry out between waterings doesn't work for me, and also doesn't strike me as the sagest advice. If anyone has had success getting rid of them, please help!
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Nov 27, 2011 8:26 PM CST
Jenn, one woman (Critterologist - not sure if she's here or not) suggests using Hydrogen Peroxide when watering, she has said that it will kill the fungus gnats dead.
Someone else recommended using a layer of fine gravel (or some gravel-like substance like perlite) on the top layer of your soil.

I've also used bT dunks, crumbled and left in my watering can for a day or so - I just didn't use them in my houseplants.

For me, what worked best was "bottom watering" - putting water in a dish and letting the plants soak for a few hours so that the top layer of soil is never wet-wet. Now, these were my seed starting projects.

If your plants are not the type to be happy with letting them dry, you might want to lighten your compost mix with perlite, sand or perhaps some bark.

HTH!
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Jenn Capestany
Trenton, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
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Jenn
Nov 27, 2011 10:56 PM CST
Thanks for the suggestions, Sheryl! Much appreciated.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Nov 28, 2011 2:48 AM CST
I agree with Sheryl. It sounds to me like your compost mix may be way too heavy and is retaining too much moisture. Fungus Gnats are usually present when the soil stays wet. I've been growing house plants for 45 years and for the past ten or twelve years I've been using a fast draining potting medium that consists of orchid bark mix and potting soil which doesn't allow the soil to stay drenched. I've never had a problem with fungus gnats so I can't attest to any remedy, but I've also heard of folks mixing hydrogen peroxide with water or putting a layer of some sort of grit on top of the soil to prevent the eggs that hatch from reaching adulthood and the flying stage.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Nov 28, 2011 7:34 AM CST
You are so welcome!

In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Alan
Chandler, AZ; 85225 (Zone 9b)
Sunset Zone 13
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Plumerias Plant and/or Seed Trader Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Bulbs Container Gardener
GardenGuyAZ
Nov 28, 2011 11:35 AM CST
A remedy I just read and am trying is to put a bowl of vinegar by the plants. It seems to be working, the gnats are attracted to it and drown in the vinegar. I have also cut back on watering, since it is cooler now, hopefully this will help. I'm finding the regular vinegar works better than the white vinegar.

Alan

























Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Nov 28, 2011 7:35 PM CST
Ugh, yeah - they love vinegar!
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Jenn Capestany
Trenton, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
Image
Jenn
Nov 29, 2011 7:31 PM CST
But now what do y'all mean by "regular vinegar?" If you say regular vinegar to me, white is exactly what I think of, LOL! Apple cider? Red wine? Which do you find the most successful for catching gnats?
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Nov 29, 2011 7:37 PM CST
I think of regular vinegar as white distilled vinegar too ... maybe cider vinegar is what everyone else thinks is the regular kind? White distilled vinegar has a lot of uses:

http://www.vinegartips.com/Scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=6
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Jenn Capestany
Trenton, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
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Jenn
Nov 29, 2011 10:33 PM CST
So true. I don't generally use white vinegar for cooking, but I do use it to clean a lot of things, including countertops and laundry! Love the stuff. Thanks for the link! There are quite a few items listed that I haven't used vinegar for. Now I know. As for the gnats, heck, I'll just try a bowl of white one week, and apple cider the next by way of an experiment. I'd give the little stinkers fancy balsamic if that's what it took! :D
Name: June or Nancy-June o
Dover AFB, Delaware (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I sent a postcard to Randy! Garden Art Roses Region: United States of America Container Gardener
Tropicals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Birds Orchids Region: Texas
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JuneBug
Nov 30, 2011 12:27 AM CST
(Smacks head! Why didn't I think of that!!uh, Now they tell me!) I had to resort chemical warfare to get rid of my gnat problem. I was surrounded by clouds of them outside in Missouri and they liked my pots enough that they came inside every winter☺ ugh! I ended up diluting Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub down for my houseplants and turning them into poisonous 'final meals' for the gnats and the woolly aphids that were on the roots of some of them. I was already using vinegar to mop the floors and clean the house with...maybe I should have let my mop bucket sit out for a few days... Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Alan
Chandler, AZ; 85225 (Zone 9b)
Sunset Zone 13
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Plumerias Plant and/or Seed Trader Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Bulbs Container Gardener
GardenGuyAZ
Nov 30, 2011 9:02 AM CST
Regular vinegar in our family, the one my Mom always used, was the apple cider vinegar. I do tend to use the white vinegar more often as well though.

Found this link interesting on the various vinegars, and what they are used for.

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/how-vinegar-works1.htm

























[Last edited by GardenGuyAZ - Nov 30, 2011 9:10 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #183711 (12)
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Nov 30, 2011 12:40 PM CST
I add a few splashes of white vinegar to my dishwasher .. no soap residue left on anything .. but glad to know about setting a cup out for gnats!!.. thanks!!!
Name: Jenn Capestany
Trenton, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas
Image
Jenn
Nov 30, 2011 10:34 PM CST
Definitely lots of great tips here. Thanks for all the suggestions!
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Dec 1, 2011 10:00 AM CST
Yeah, someone should probably do a 'tip of the day' on vinegar, and/or peroxide... lots of people know about them, but I'm betting lots of people don't.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: June or Nancy-June o
Dover AFB, Delaware (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I sent a postcard to Randy! Garden Art Roses Region: United States of America Container Gardener
Tropicals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Birds Orchids Region: Texas
Image
JuneBug
Dec 8, 2011 4:58 PM CST
Peroxide? (off to google that, too) Thumbs up
Name: June or Nancy-June o
Dover AFB, Delaware (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I sent a postcard to Randy! Garden Art Roses Region: United States of America Container Gardener
Tropicals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Birds Orchids Region: Texas
Image
JuneBug
Dec 8, 2011 5:04 PM CST
Bwaahaaha! I start typing into google and the list of things that start with "Uses for" is: Vinegar, Tee Tree Oil, Peroxide! The three things that I really seem to need to know more about!
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Dec 10, 2011 7:06 AM CST
have to love that
Name: 'CareBear'

Sempervivums Hostas Dog Lover Irises Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents
Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Dec 10, 2011 12:41 PM CST
Just thought I should tell all that Clorox bleach is a no no for mixing. Some items could release the chorine trapped in the water into gas and WILL DAMAGE YOUR LUNGS.
Love you all too much not to give a warning out.
Stush
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
Image
sheryl
Dec 10, 2011 2:35 PM CST
Stan, honey, darling, boo-boo face - Clorox *is* chlorine, as in chlorine bleach.

I bet you're thinking about Ammonia, maybe?
http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicchemicals/a/Mixing-Bleach...

Thumbs up
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


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