house plant fruit flies - Knowledgebase Question

Kensington, Ma
Question by annkavi
December 6, 2009
Well I have quite a few houseplants that are thriving indoors, but they are also producing some small fruitflies? What can I do? I was at HD last week, and bought some house plant insect repellent spray, but it hasn't worked. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, should it be sprayed on plant leaves, roots, or soil. HELP! thanks.

Answer from NGA
December 6, 2009


How aggravating! It sounds like a fungus gnat infestation. These little flying insects look a lot like fruit flies. They live in moist soil and breed at the soil surface. The best way to control them is to allow the top layer of the soil to dry completely between waterings. If the plants need a moister soil and thus more frequent watering, you could put a layer of sand or decorative rock on top of the soil -- either one of these will dry out faster than the soil. This should stop the breeding. Or, you could cover the tops of the pots with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to exclude the pests. Be sure to cover all of the soil surfaces in all of your houseplants. Or, you can use Gnatrol or Insecticidal Soap as a soil drench. Good luck with your houseplants!

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