|I PLANT OUTSIDE POINSETTA'S AND AMARYLLIS IN THE SPRING. I AM READY TO BRING THEM IN. HOW DO I MAKE SURE I AM NOT BRINGING IN ANY INSECT/BUG THAT I DO NOT WANT? ALSO, MY CACTUS HAS WHAT LOOKS LIKE FRUIT FLIES THAT COME OUT WHEN I WATER. THEY SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF MY CACTUS. ANY SOLUTIONS? THANKS|
|Simply hosing off your plants should be enough to keep insects from hitching a ride indoors. I usually wash mine off outdoors, allow the excess water to drain, then take them indoors. A week later I give them a shower in the sink (just in case there were insect eggs on the plants and the insects hatched). These two showers should be all your plants need.
As for your cactus, it sounds like you have a population of fungus gnats. Fungus gnats feed and breed in decaying organic matter so the potting soil used for houseplants provides an almost perfect environment for them. They are opportunists and tend to fly in when doors and windows are open. There's really nothing you can spray to keep them from entering your home, but you can eliminate their breeding and feeding sites indoors to keep the population under control. 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 houseplants. Both of these solutions are child and pet-friendly and both work for me and my houseplant collection. Another option is to use Gnatrol as a soil drench Best wishes with your houseplants!