Indoor plants are a stunning addition to every home and can even help purify your air. But it’s important to remember that your plants are a kind of indoor garden, even if they’re just pot plants. And plants bring with them a variety of insects. While many of these are beneficial, others are annoying or even unhygienic. Today we are going to discuss what to do if your indoor plants have gnats.
What are Gnats?
A gnat is the common name for a small insect in the fly family. These teeny tiny flying insects are not baby flies, but full grown adults. Some species are excellent pollinators and even feed on garden pests like aphids and scales. However, other gnats, like the Hessian, are crop pests themselves. Depending o the species, they can be biting or non-biting and feed on plants, other insects, or blood. They lay their eggs either on land or water. Adults range in size but are generally no bigger than 33mm.
Why Do My Indoor Plants Have Gnats?
Moisture and organic matter attract gnats. As it gets colder, gnats lay eggs in your potting mix and make it their home. Others might be attracted to garbage disposals or damaged, over-ripe fruit. Any wetness in the home can draw them indoors and, once inside, they will take advantage of your pot plants to lay their eggs and breed.
Are Gnats a Serious Issue?
Thankfully, gnats are only a nuisance and won’t cause any major damage to the home. However, some species of gnat may threaten human health as they can transport pathogens into the home from other unsanitary sites. Fruit flies, for example, might contaminate food, and fungus gnats can harm potted plants. As a result, it is important to deal with gnat infestations, and eliminate potential breeding and development sites.
Further, some female gnats feed on blood. These gnats in particular have been known to carry parasites and spread disease among humans and animals.
How Do I Get Rid of Gnats?
There are plenty of home remedy tips online to get rid of gnats. However, our team has our own special mix that we swear by! To get rid of gnats in your home we recommend the following recipe:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dishwashing liquid
Mix equal parts of your ingredients into a small container. Place a container in every room where you have or suspect gnats.
How Do I Prevent Gnats?
Indoor plants are the best breeding ground for indoor gnats. However, giving up our precious plants is obviously not something we want to do. Instead, we need to monitor and prevent the ways gnats can breed and spread in your home.
Wet soil is one of the breeding grounds for fungus gnats. The best wat to control fungus gnats in this case is to identify any plants that have wet soil and let that soil dry completely before you water again. This will kill the larval stages of the gnats in the soil. Adult gnats can be removed with a vacuum cleaner from windows and around your plants.
Remember to only water plants when they need watering to help prevent fungus gnat infestations.
When it comes to gnat infestations, it is also important to locate their main food source and correct or remove it where possible. Fruit should not be exposed to open air. It is better to keep fresh fruit in the fridge to protect it from gnats. This will also prolong the fruit’s period of ripeness, so you have longer to enjoy it.
Fly and Gnat Traps
Electric fly traps are a great way of killing individual gnats and helping gain control over their populations outside. However, this can also kill a range of beneficial insects. But inside, they can be plugged easily into any power outlet. The trap works by emitting ultraviolet light sources that flying insects are attracted to. They are then either burn by an electric zap or will become stuck on a sticky surface that you can dispose of.
While some people might buy pitcher or Venus flytraps as a more environmentally friendly option, these plants can actually exacerbate your gnat infestation. Adult gnats are a nuisance for a trap but larvae can cause considerable damage to Venus flytraps and pitcher plants. Fungus gnat larvae can burrow into stems and feed on leaves, as well as cause root damage. Further, the best environment for Venus flytraps is moist, peaty soil, which is the perfect home for gnats to breed and grow. So bringing a flytrap into your home might actually make your gnat problem worse not better. use our recipe above to find the most environmentally safe way to get rid of adult gnats in your home.
If all else fails, and the gnats become unbearable, it is best to contact a pest control expert!