How to Get Rid of Soil Gnats
There may be a time when you think that you are doing a pretty good job at taking care of plants then you see it slowly dying right before your eyes. You attempt to revive the plant but you aren’t able to comprehend what happened. At times, poor maintenance can cause plants to wilt but there are instances that other forces are at play.
Soil gnats are small insects that look and moves like mosquitoes during their adult stage. Soil gnats can be annoying but they are rather harmless. Gnats start out as a larvae and this is the stage when they are considered to be dangerous to plants. A female soil gnat can lay up to 200 eggs and each is capable of destroying the roots of the plants.
The larvae feed on decaying organic matter and plant roots. And we all know that plants need their roots to survive. This is the reason why you need to get rid of soil gnats to ensure that your tree lives through another day. Fortunately, unlike cockroaches, flies and other insects, the procedures that is required to get rid of soil gnats is not that hard:
Allow the soil to dry up
Soil gnats do not thrive well in dry soil. So with this knowledge, you should allow the soil to completely dry out before you water it again. When you start seeing cracks on the surface of the soil and the moisture on the surface has gone, this is a clear indication that the soil has dried up and would be a perfect time to re water. Just be sure to keep a close eye on this procedure since plants need water to survive.
Kill the adults
Soil gnats wouldn’t be able to multiply without the adults laying eggs. Remember that a female soil gnat can unleash 300 offspring that can create chaos in the pot. You can use fly traps and avoid using insect killing chemicals since they can harm the plant as well. Adult soil gnats usually fly around decomposing organic matters and they resemble either a fly or a mosquito. Another way to get rid of adult soil gnats is by disposing of trash properly.
Trace soil gnats
Before you do anything drastic, make sure that you have a purpose first. Check your soil if it is infested with soil gnat larvae. You can use potatoes to do the trick. Cut thin slices of potato and place it on the surface of the soil. Since potatoes are root crops, the larvae will be attracted to it and it would stick on the potato. After about 24 hours, look for traces of larvae by checking the potato for small, threadlike larvae.
Improve soil drainage
If you look under the pot, there are tiny holes that act as drainage. Most of the time, the roots do not extend all the way to the bottom of the pot. If this is the case, water goes down the pot and stays there, effectively moisturizing the soil. As previously mentioned, soil gnats love moisture and you wouldn’t be able to allow the soil to dry if the drainage is poor.
If the current pot does not offer appropriate drainage, transfer the plant into another pot that has improved soil drainage. Choose dry loose soil and a container that would offer improved drainage.