You know them as those pesky little black flying bugs that set up house in your potted plants. Very annoying. Why do you have them?? How can you get rid of them?? Fungus gnats can find you, or lay dormant in soil until the conditions are just right. Over watering, or continually moist soil, leads to organic matter within the soil to grow fungus – the perfect food source for gnats. Specifically they are not feeding on the plant roots but if fungus happens to be growing on the roots (especially young, tender ones that are more susceptible) then root damage can occur. If you have them, I promice you will be much more annoyed by the bugs before the plant dies.
The first step to victory is to let the plant soil dry out. If you want to speed this up take the plant gently out of the pot and place on newspaper, exposing all the soil but retaining the pot shape. Leave it to dry out thoroughly. In extreme cases of infestation, or if the soil is very old to begin with, knock off all the soil, discard, rinse the roots well and repot with new soil.
The next step is to treat the plant and the soil either chemically or organically. We carry two products that work well. Both require drenching the soil – spraying the plant entirely and repeating applications every 7-10 days. Repeat applications are important because remaining eggs (which sprays can’t kill) will hatch and you want to catch them right away before they can lay more eggs.
These bugs can set up house in your other plants as well, so use the treatment on them preventatively. It’s always a good idea to isolate any infected plants too. Other preventative measures can be used on a regular basis like applying a systemic product to the soil. The best remedy is to know your plants well, keep them very healthy and robust and be diligent on detecting a problem at the first sign so you can treat immediately. Funny, sounds like what we do for our own good health.