Fungus and pests - Knowledgebase Question

Alta Loma, CA
Avatar for carar2
Question by carar2
January 6, 1998
How do I get rid of the little gnat-like flies that hang around my houseplants? I also have mold that develops on the dirt after I water my plants. None of the plants seem to be affected by it nor do they have it growing on their leaves or stalks. How can I treat it?

Answer from NGA
January 6, 1998
The little fungus gnats are attracted by the moist soil conditions around your plants. You can try to remove the mat of fungus from the top of the soil by peeling it up. If your plants are the kind that require really moist conditions, you can add a layer of gravel on the top of the soil to discourage the growth of fungus. Once you get rid of the fungus, that should eliminate the fungus gnats. The adults feed on decaying organic material, but the larvae feast on tiny roots of your plants. You can also fashion some yellow sticky traps to catch the gnats. Take bright yellow paper, smear it with petroleum jelly, and place it at the soil surface height. The gnats will be attracted by the yellow color, will fly onto the paper and get stuck on the sticky surface. Just dispose of the traps and make more as needed. If the gnats have been around for a while and you suspect there may be larvae in the pots, there's a natural pest control called Knock-Out Gnats sold by Gardens Alive (5100 Schenely Place, Larenceburg, IN 47025; ph# 812-537-8650).

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