tiny flies - Knowledgebase Question

New Berlin, Wi
Avatar for dahilgendorf
Question by dahilgendorf
February 7, 2011
I planted some onion seed in fresh potting soil. Not all germinated but I've have tiny flies, smaller than a fruit fly on the soil. I've tried insecticidal soap and rubbing alcohol and nothing is helping. I think it may be a gnat but I don't know how to get rid of it. Can you help?

Answer from NGA
February 7, 2011
I suspect what you are seeing is a fungus gnat infestation. These pests will breed in moist soil so there are several things you can do to discourage them. First, avoid overwatering the plants. Allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings -- many plants actually do better with this type of watering regime. To facilitate this, (or if you have some plants that require an evenly moist or wet soil), simply layer about a half inch of coarse sand or fine gravel on the soil surface. This will drain quickly and dry out and make it impossible for the gnats to breed. In several weeks, as their life cycle progresses and the adults die off without reproducing, they should disappear. You can also use a soil drench for fungus gnats such as Gnatrol.

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