Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are Gnats in Your House Plants Driving You Crazy? Learn how to deal with them without nasty chemicals!

 Hi Friends,

Moringa trees are growing everyday by the windows.


With warm weather and lots of plants in the house, you end up with a gnat problem. I do not use harmful pesticides on any of my plants. So then how do you get rid of them?  Here are some suggestions on how to deal with the problem:

You need to kill both the adult gnats and their eggs laid in the soil. They are really annoying and can really damage the health of your house plants.

One of the main problems is over-watering. Let the plants dry out between watering.  Wait until the top few inches of soil are dry. This will kill the eggs in the soil. Don't let water sit in the saucers underneath either. It is also helpful to replace the top 1/4 inch of topsoil with sand.  This gets rid of the moisture and organic matter on the top that the bugs like to lay their eggs in.

One of the recipes that I have found successful it to mix one tablespoon of dish soap and a tsp of white vinegar in the water you put on your plants. This also works with Aphids.  This idea is not mine but came from one of Jerry Baker's books. Leaving a dish nearby with wine or apple cider vinegar will draw the gnats to the fermentation but they will drown in the liquid. You can get some really cheap wine that is not worth drinking but sure will help with the gnats.

Another solution is to buy a product called Gnatrol that is a natural bacillus thuringiensis
toxin that you add to water. Its used as a drench on the soil around the plant.  This drench kills the larvae.  You must treat the plants for 6 weeks.  

Neem is another solution to kill bugs on your plants. You add it to water and spray your plants.

One of my customers wrote me that she puts 1 to 2 moth balls in the dirt around the plant. I have not tried this one, but I know it works on a number of pests. I worry about the chemicals contained in the moth balls and the problem of a cat or dog eating them. I would not use this method until other things did not work.

One method I employ to get rid of any flying gnats is the yellow gnat traps. Their yellow color and the bait on them draws them to the trap and soon they are gone.  Some people object because they don't look pretty with the bugs stuck to them but I use them any way. If we are going to have company, I take them down temporarily.

In my trash cans with the growing young Moringa trees, I only water around  the roots, and let the rest of the area stay dry. When we first brought the cans into the house, they were wet and we did have a huge gnat problem until I employed the soap-water-vinegar method and the sticky traps. I had also mulched them with straw because of the rough winter. Straw mulch really is a great medium for gnats. It also keeps the top of the soil wet and moist. One of the first things I did before bringing the cans in the house, was to remove all that mulch. This is not good for the Moringa roots.  That is one of the mistakes I made the winter with the Moringa trees. In trying to keep the roots from freezing, the roots stayed too wet and that caused root rot. In climates, like ours they must be kept in a heated green house or in the house on a warm, sunny porch or living room. That is just the reality.

Some people spray around the pots with Raid but that is nasty stuff for your health, your lungs and your pets. EcoSmart makes insecticides that are made from essential oils. One of their products is called EcoSMART Garden Insect Killer. Even this product will  burn sensitive plants and leaves. Do not spray on new plants, new cuttings, plants stressed by drought, or when it is really hot. It should be used around the pot not on the plants them selves. It is a much healthier and less dangerous alternative to Raid. We used to live in a house with a horrible ant problem. We used that on the ants and it was effective. We sprayed it around window sills and door frames to keep the black ants out. We found this product in Pet Smart and Home Depot. 

I hope this all helps in your war with the gnats. Let me know if you use any of these suggestions, and how they worked for you. Please leave that feed back at the end of this article in comments. It will benefit others.

Again, I do have seeds for sale again at the below link:



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