Having house plants has been an excellent improvement for urban home as it brings fresh air and greenery in our living environment. However, it might become a great place for nature insects to infest on and contaminate as well.
Fungus gnats are one of the problems that indoor plant owners often come across as they love plants. A few might be okay, but large quantities of them in the house could be annoying for family members and your houseplants. Therefore, it is necessary to remove them from your house as soon as possible.
Many people tend to use vinegar to remove gnats. It might work for some people and might not for others. Therefore, let’s start finding out how to get rid of gnats without vinegar and how to prevent gnats in your house.
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How Gnats Grow In Your Home
Before getting to know ways to remove gnats, we should know why they appear in your home first.
How Fungus Gnats Form
Fungus gnats (also known as dark-winged fungus gnats) are small flies with a dark and mosquito-like look. A grown fungus gnat size is around 1/16 to 1/8 inches long, which is smaller than a fly. Their notable features are slender legs, long antennae with Y-shaped wings.
Their favorite habitats are potted plants, foliage, moist mulch piles, and compost. That’s why you are likely to see them in greenhouses, nurseries, and interior plantscapes. They can grow extremely fast in number as their life cycle only consists of 17 days in a warm temperature. However, here’s an interesting fact for you:
Adult fungus gnats are not harmful to plants or people. Nevertheless, they can become a nuisance if they fly all over the house, which disturbs your life activities. The real problem is when they are in larvae form. This stage happens after female gnats lay eggs in moist or potting soils, the larvae’s nutrient home.
How Gnats Damage Your Plants
Larvae possess a form of legless body and a black head. Their food is grass clipping, root hairs, fungi, and leaf mold. It takes them 14 days to develop into a grown gnat, so they need all the nutrition they need for the transformation. And your house plants happen to be the perfect home.
One larva won’t be noticeable for you, but if thousands of them live in your house plants, it will turn out to be a real disaster.
People have recorded severe damages taking place with a high population of gnats. They can lead to root damage and even plant death if they continue to grow. This is particularly bad for seeds and young plants as they only have few roots.
So, is there a sign for you to know whether gnats invade your plants?
Yes, there is. However, gnat infestation signs would be similar to other root-related issues such as improper water, root decay fungi, poor drainage, etc. Yellow lower leaves, falling leaves, and slow plant growth are common signs during gnat infestation.
How To Get Rid Of Gnats Without Vinegar
Although gnats are not dangerous to our health, they can be a potential killer to our precious indoor plants. If there is no preventing action, gnats can grow uncontrollably, destroy our plants, and disrupt people’s lives. That’s why it is necessary to get rid of gnats to return to a healthy and controlled environment.
As we all have learned, adult gnats are more notable to our eyes and are harmless to our plants. The real issue is the larvae, which live under the deep moist potting soil and organic debris. Therefore, if we start with the real problem first, we will get rid of them for a long time.
One of the most effective ways to control larvae growth might exist in your house right now. Hydrogen Peroxide is a popular product that stays in most household’s medicine cabinets for anti-infection of minor cuts, burns, and scrapes. So, how can it help get rid of the larvae?
Hydrogen peroxide works as an antiseptic, which helps remove debris from the wounds and kill a wide range of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and pores to disinfect the wound. Therefore, this chemical product can undoubtedly kill the cells of larvae easily. Most people use the product to drench the soil so it can go through the soil thoroughly.
What you need to prepare for are:
- Hydrogen peroxide (3% topical variety)
- Your house plants
Now, follow these steps:
1. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water at a ratio of 1:4.
2. Pour it all over the soil at the root part until the water comes out of the pot’s base.
3. After three weeks, make another patch if there are still some larvae left.
You can also use Neem oil and hydroponics Azamax as a substitute for hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you follow the manual instruction, and your house plants will be clean of gnat larvae in no time!
As we have learned to eliminate the main problem here, there is still one problem left: the nuisance from the adult gnats. As they will be hanging out around and laying more eggs, it is vital to remove them. What you can do for these small flies is trapping them with these tricks below.
Fly Trapping Paper
If you can use the fly trapping paper for fly, it can certainly be used for gnats. This is a traditional way of killing bugs as it is easy to buy and set up. You can start by putting the sticky paper on the place gnats tend to hang out. And wait until there is a good number of gnats on the paper.
Close the paper and dump it. Replace it with a new sticky paper until all the gnats are completely removed from the air.
If you love a natural yet effective way to get rid of gnats without actually killing them, you should try a wine trap. It is similar to the vinegar trick with a different decoy. You can prepare an empty jar or make use of your old bottle of wine for this trick.
Just do the followings:
1. Pour wine in the jar about 1/3 of the bottle size.
2. Add a few drops of cleaning dish soap in the wine
3. Leave these bottles in a high population of gnats.
4. Wait until they are entirely trapped and seal the bottle.
Tips To Prevent Gnats In Your House
Having gnats in a home is not a desirable event. Controlling gnats takes a lot of effort as well. Thus, it is best if we can prevent them from entering our house in the first place. So, how can we prevent them from infesting our plants?
What draws the attention of gnats is a moist environment. Therefore, if we cut out their ideal habitat, we can avoid having them in our house.
Avoiding overwatering the plants is one way to prevent gnats from inhabiting the soil. We tend to water the plants many times a day so that it can grow faster and healthier.
However, it is unnecessary to give your plants too much water. Too much water can wash away all the soil nutrients and create a perfect environment for gnats, molds, and fungi.
You can find out how often you can water your plant at this guidance of 15 common house plants below:
Another way you can use to prevent gnats is mosquito dunk. This product is greatly effective for keeping mosquito larvae from growing in fountains, ponds, or animal troughs. The product can kill the larvae of flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, fruit flies, and gnats.
1. dilute the product with water in a gallon jug.
2. Leave the dunk to soak in the water overnight.
3. Then remove the dunk from the water.
4. Use the water on the fungus gnat infested plants.
5. Keep the dunk for future usage and repeat this act when watering your plants once every few months.
Indoor plants are a great decoration and beneficial to our urban home condition. However, having them can attract insects, particularly fungus gnats, to infest and damage our plant roots. That’s why removing gnats is an important step to take care of your plants thoroughly.
As there are many ways to get rid of gnats, you can try different ways with the same result as using vinegar. After our how to get rid of gnats without vinegar, we hope you can fix your gnats problems and prevent them from coming near your precious house plants again.