Ask a Question forum: Bugs in seedlings

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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 17, 2017 7:58 AM CST
Thumb of 2017-02-17/Philipwonel/c40d2a


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What are they ? Drain flies ? Do larva eat roots ? How do i get rid of them ?
Thank You 😇
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Feb 17, 2017 8:30 AM CST
Philip, I've never seem them. I'm sure someone here has.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 17, 2017 8:46 AM CST
If they're hanging around the plants and maybe landing on the potting mix they're likely fungus gnats. The larvae feed on fungi in the mix but do sometimes damage the roots. The adults don't do any damage other than possibly carry plant diseases. They're usually related to too frequent watering.

Further info from two entomologists:

http://extension.colostate.edu...
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Feb 17, 2017 9:51 AM CST
Fungus gnats, I think. Try using sticky flypaper around the plants to keep the numbers down. They are almost inevitable given the frequency you have to water very young plants, but relatively easy to control.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 17, 2017 9:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Feb 17, 2017 11:35 AM CST
Look like Fungus Gnats to me also and usually occur when soil stays too damp/wet: https://www.google.com/search?...

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 17, 2017 11:43 AM CST
Hi there Sue 😁 I'll check that site out. See if i learn anything.
I checked out fruit flies. Fungus gnats. And Drain flies, picture's. These guys look almost like drain flies. They fly around and do land on potting soil. I been watering with peroxide water. I also watered them with neen oil mix. Ownce a week, three times.
I'm going to put sticky yellow bait trap out. And apply some bug granules on soil. Since these other things arnt working.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Feb 17, 2017 12:04 PM CST
No need for bait or bug granules. You can control those flying insects like that with flypaper. Skip the chemicals before you try it. There are various products out there. I have used orange cylinders and yellow sheets (sometimes called "cards") and both have worked. The evidence is right there on the flypaper.

I have dealt with fungus gnats for quite some time. I grow my plants (even my baby seedlings) on the dry side so it's not a consequence of the soil being too wet, necessarily. Though obviously you should always look at improving your watering practices.

My guess is they come in with the soil (their larvae, presumably). You can eliminate the next generation by treating the soil with a systemic (imidacloprid), which I have tried. Water that in and the place becomes toxic for bugs. It works but you have to treat all the plants in the area for it to be effective (no "safe havens"), and the effects are temporary as it washes out of the soil and new bugs constantly wander in. The sticky paper works better over the long term in my experience.

By the way, I have also tried Bt (biological control) and it worked about as well as the systemic, suffering from the exact same drawbacks.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 17, 2017 2:10 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1372633 (7)
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Feb 17, 2017 1:51 PM CST
Philip, I grow my seedlings, indoors, in soilless potting mix. Perhaps that's why I don't get them.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 17, 2017 3:04 PM CST
Baja : I'll try just regular old fly paper next year. Thank you much 😁
About the BT ! I read that it needed to be BTi to kill larva. A special strain. Shrug!

Mac : They are inside, with soil less potting mix, BRAND new bag.
So !!! I guess, its like Baja said, ...
Eggs were allready in soil.

Thank You . All !!! for your help !!!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
Image
McCannon
Feb 17, 2017 4:01 PM CST
I suppose the larvae could be in the bag, if they didn't sterilize the ingredients. I make my own.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 17, 2017 4:19 PM CST
They can sometimes be in the bag, but they can also come into a house from outdoors. Sometimes when a houseplant is brought in they are in the pot, or come in through an open window or door.

Edited to add, the only time I've had a problem with them here was when I purchased a houseplant from a retail store and it brought the gnats with it.
[Last edited by sooby - Feb 17, 2017 4:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 17, 2017 5:35 PM CST
Yes! Sue !😁!
The little boogers, will find a way ! Wether, its in or out !
Ho ho ! Rolling on the floor laughing

Mac : 👹😡 you were reading my mind. 👹 nodding I was goning to ask you ? What kind and brand of soil you use !!!..........
BRAT 👹#!!!

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
Image
McCannon
Feb 17, 2017 5:52 PM CST
Equal parts perlite, vermiculite, peat moss. Love it.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We could learn much from them!
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
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ZenMan
Feb 17, 2017 11:17 PM CST
sooby said:The adults don't do any damage other than possibly carry plant diseases.


Hi Sue,

And they mate and lay eggs in the growing medium to start a new generation of maggots. Laying those eggs is very damaging. And it turns out that the eggs are resistant to nearly everything. Once Fungus Gnats get established it can be very difficult to get rid of them. The pupae are also resistant to control. Prevention is the best, and easiest, cure for these boogers.

ZM

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 18, 2017 7:04 AM CST
Well yes, good point, up to 200 eggs per female. Apparently the common idea of putting a layer of light coloured sand on top of the medium helps prevent mating. A fan blowing on the seedlings should also help because they're weak fliers (and should also strengthen the seedlings). When I purchased an infestation on a house plant I ended up spraying the adults with a household insect aerosol spray (a pyrethroid) to try and break the reproductive cycle. It worked eventually after several repetitions to cover the freshly emerged ones since the previous spray, but wasn't a quick fix.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Feb 18, 2017 8:43 AM CST
Day one update.
Quite a few fungus gnats on sticky trap.
Mac !😁! Thanks for soil recipe.
I got it wrote down and going into my garden binder.
Thumbs up Hurray!

Sue : Im gonna spray one plant today. Just to make sure the spray dosent damage. Being there so small. 😬

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Feb 18, 2017 8:48 AM CST
Philip, what I did was disturb the flies so that they went into the air around the plants, and then sprayed the aerosol in the area rather than the plants. Depending what you're using, spraying an individual plant won't do anything unless they land on it while the spray is still wet (and then only if it is a contact spray, because they won't be eating the stomach poison type).
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Feb 18, 2017 9:12 AM CST
Thanks 😘Sue 😁
That makes since. Then im not directly spraying little plants. 😁

Wait a minute..... What if i sprayed top of soil ??? Shrug!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Keeper of Poultry Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Dragonflies Garden Photography
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 2
ZenMan
Feb 18, 2017 11:49 AM CST
Hello Philip,

Are you an organic gardener? If so, you probably don't want to use an Imidacloprid drench in your seedlings. If you are an organic gardener, then you probably won't mind drenching your seedlings with Mosquito Dunks.

http://www.summitchemical.com/...

They are a biological control for mosquito larvae (the "wigglers") and Fungus Gnats are related closely enough to mosquitoes to make their larvae (maggots) susceptible to the same stuff. I used to powder a Mosquito Dunk, disperse the powder in water, and water my seedlings with that. Killing the Fungus Gnat maggots breaks their life cycle, and immediately kills the part of their life cycle that is damaging your seedlings by eating their roots. There is a new product ( Mosquito Bits ) based on the same active biological ingredient that might be easier to use, and it is actually labelled for control of Fungus Gnats.

http://www.summitchemical.com/...

As a non-organic gardener, I now use Imidacloprid because it kills and prevents a much wider range of pests, including thrips and aphids. And it is systemic and easier to use.

But for many years I depended on Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (B.t.i.) from Mosquito Dunks to control and prevent Fungus Gnats in my indoor seedlings and plants. B.t.i. is a bacterium that is deadly to mosquito larvae and related larvae in the "fly family" (Diptera) but is harmless to other living things.

Those Mosquito Bits might be the answer to your problem.

ZM (not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Feb 19, 2017 12:28 PM CST
ZM: Howdy 😁 not to be coufused with ZM INC. Rolling on the floor laughing
Is that imidacloprid? Ok to use on veges??? It sounds intreaging, with the other things it controls. Thumbs up Thank You 😇

Well. Day two. Twice as many FGs on sticky trap. Hurray!

I had a thought this morning of. Taking a waterloged pot and putting it inside the sticky trap !!! As a bait.
Humm😕??? Just now, writing about it, it could back-fire on me #
Drats. D'Oh!
As my buddy Steve, told me ownce, when he had me smoke a shark fillet for him !
" DONT .SCREW.WITH.THE.RECIPE ### "
Trap is catching FGs. And hopfully the bug b gone is killing the larvae.
I think i got to wait a few more days.
Thumbs up

Ohhh !!! ZM !!!
Is bug b gone organic ??? Rolling on the floor laughing
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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