Fungas Gnats Are Taking Over My Apartment - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA
Avatar for hsoobad
Question by hsoobad
December 31, 1999
I have been a "plant person" for many years. Last year was my first experience with fungas gnats. I started using a spray but found when I sprayed the plants, I was gnat-free for a day and a half and then I was overcome once more. The gnats not only fly around the plants, but seem to know when I'm watching tv, eating or reading a book, and they came out to annoy me. My budget just could not handle the amount of money need to keep the plants sprayed. Neith did i have the time to spray down my numerous plants every few hours. I have since moved and was thinking maybe it was just the house I had beenliving in (it was an older home) that was the draw for these annoying little creatures, but lo and behold, after being in my new apartment for several months, I see every day, more and more of these little creatures. I finally heard someone on tv talking about these creatures, and he gave them a name, so that now I know what they are, but his "hint" on how to get rid of them - putting any green minty mouthwash in a container near the plant - pproved a half step in a stair way of incredible proportions. I am pulling out my hair. I do not know what to do! I have containers of green minty mouthwash near all of my plants. My apartment smells like a dentist's office. Every day I clean out the mouthwash-it's usually filled with the little buggers- but still as I sit at my computer, I'm swatting at the gnats. They fly around my face, up my nose, into my glasses. They are in my bathroom, and I don't even have plants in the bathroom. When I have company over, they spent their entire visit swatting at gnats. I very rarely get second visits anymore. If I sit at my dining room table to eat, they fly around my face, sometime lighting on my food.
Can you help me?

Answer from NGA
December 31, 1999
Here are two strategies for controlling fungus gnats. Neither one uses mouthwash! They breed in moist potting soil, so you can break the breeding cycle by allowing the surface of the soil to dry out. If you have plants that need moist soil simply place a quick draining and fast drying layer of gravel or sand on top of the potting soil. You have to be a little patient with this method because you have to wait through the next generation's maturation before they are gone for good. In other words, once the generation now already in the soil become adults and die off without being able to reproduce, there should be no more gnats. Another method is to use a product called Gnatrol as a soil drench, another is to use an insecticidal soap as a soil drench. Of course, always follow the label instructions carefully. I hope this helps!

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