In reality, this is actually a fairly common problem. However the thought of having small, mosquito like flies buzzing around your house isn't to appealing. Like any pest, these harmless looking flies can begin to effect your plant and could spread to others near by if left alone. A little work now to control the problem will prevent it from becoming out of hand later.
Know your enemy!
|Fungus Gnat Larvae|
The reason you see a peak in the population of fungus gnat during the late fall and winter period is due to several factors:
- Firstly, house plants that have enjoyed growing outdoors for the summer months, more often than not have already been colonized by fungus gnats. When the plants are brought into the home for the winter season, the population subsequently increases due to temperatures inside a home being optimal for continued reproduction.
- Secondly, fungus gnats are attracted to moist conditions to lay their eggs and for the larvae to develop. The reduction of day length during the winter season causes the plant to slow its growth rate and reduce its water consumption, leaving the growing media wetter for longer. Coupled with this, if the growing media is old it tends to break down or degrade, holding more moisture for longer.
- Lastly, we tend to notice an increase in fungus gnats only because the colder weather keeps us inside where we notice the problem more. The chances are high that the plant already had fungus gnats over the summer but we didn't notice it until we started to spend more time inside with the plant.
What can be done?
Trapping is a great, organic way to remove the adult population before they lay more eggs back into the growing media. Yellow sticky traps, as mentioned above work well, but shallow containers with either Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine also do well. As the vinegar or wine ferment, the adults are drawn to the sweet smell and fall into the liquid and drown. An added bonus is that vinegar is a natural deodorizer and will rid the air of gnats and smells alike. As for the wine, gnats aren't fussy, so a cheap bottle is recommended unless you want to enjoy a glass yourself. Just make sure you use containers that can't be confused with some you might drink from.
|The Apple Cider Vinegar shots, works every time.|
|Steinernema feltiae attacking a fungus gnat larvae|