Overwatering Encourages Fungus Gnats
In general, overwatering for plants is what brings on the fungus and gnats. This pest is usually found first when they are seen as adults who are grouped by a window or flying around the house plants.
One common type of pest is called the fungus gnats. These are more common of plants that are grown indoors. This is especially for where humidity and moisture are common. The adult pest is a greyish black and is mosquito-like flies. They have long legs and clear wings. These types of the pest are not strong fliers. Larvae and maggots have a black head and are elongated with a white body. They are most ample within damp and rich soils. They will also feed on root hairs and most other organic materials. Most of the time you will find that you cannot fight with these pests, even if you use insecticidal soap and even if you treat the soil.
Overwatering is the main problem with most pest issues. Damp soils are what fungus gnats need. You should always take care not to over water your plants. This is especially in the winter months. This is when plants use less water. If you happen to see pest around the plants all you need to do is let the soil dry until it is at a depth of 2.5 – 5 centimeters. This kills the larvae and whatever eggs are left behind. Also, by doing this you are allowing the soil to look less attractive to females.
One thing that you can do to help get rid of any flying pests that like to hang around your plant, you can use some yellow colored sticky tape to help capture the egg-laying adults. Gnats are attracted to yellow and they are very easy to remove from the trap. If you wish to make your own traps, you will need to use yellow paper and add Vaseline to the paper. This is an easy no chemical way to help get rid of gnats. When done with the paper toss in the trash.
Fungus Gnats Ecology and Behaviors
Gnats imitate in rotting organic matter that has been moist and shaded for some time. The larvae will feed on the fungus that grows in the soil and organic substance. The larvae also feed on living plant flesh, this is especially for root hairs and small roots.
Harm from these Gnats happens most often in greenhouses or plant beds. The life cycle of a gnat is about four weeks, with nonstop imitation in homes or greenhouses that have warm temperatures. The adult gnats can live for about 7 to 10 days and lay eggs on the soggy soil exterior or in the soil cracks. Females can lay up to 100 to 300 eggs in lots of 2 to 30 each in rotten organic material. The eggs usually will hatch in 4 to 6 days; larvae feed for 12 to 14 days. The pupal step is about 5 to 6 days. There are many overlying groups during the year.
The Life Cycle of a Gnat
Adult gnats live for just about 10 days and almost never strays from the plant. Within that time, the females lay up to 200 tiny eggs in the budding average. The eggs will usually hatch a week later. In two or three weeks, they will become a pupa. A week after that, they are adults. In this way, the cycle of gnats preserves itself constantly if the home gardener does nothing to stop it.
Effects of Gnats
The insects are considered minor indoor plant annoyances. They even have a useful worth; they help decay rotting plant materials in the soil, this is according to Oregon State University.
Although, they will cause damage the roots of various of the less robust indoor plants such as African violets. Affected plants will start to wilt, this root damage can lead to a more serious problem like root rot.
The Solution to Gnats
By making sure that you are not overwatering your indoor plant, you are already taking the first step to preventing gnats. You should always let the top 2 inches of the soil dry out before watering it another time. This is particularly important in the fall and winter. This is when most plants are inactive and need less water anyway. It is during these eras that most home gardeners overwater their plants, this is according to Colorado State University. If you happen to see gnats, the adults should be trapped with yellow sticky paper.