How do I get rid of fungus gnats?
Angelina from Raceland, KY
Inspect plants carefully before purchase for signs of insect infestation. Always use sterile potting soil to prevent introduction of fungus gnats. Overwatering, water leaks and poor drainage may result in buildup of fungus gnats. Allowing the soil to dry as much as possible, without injury to the plants, is effective in killing many maggots. Houseplants taken outside during warm weather may become infested with insects before being brought back indoors. Inspect plants carefully and discard if heavily infested and unable to save. Remove all old plant material and debris in and around the home. Practice good sanitation. Electrocutor-light fly traps will attract and kill many adults at night.
Use yellow sticky cards (traps) for adult fungus gnat detection. Place traps just above the plants at a frequency of one per 500 to 1,000 square feet. Replace when covered with insects. Check traps 2 to 3 times each week.
Adult fungus gnats are killed easily with Pyrethrin spray or aerosols labeled for "gnats" or "flying insects". Repeat applications several times if necessary. Commercial mushroom growers may get control with Diazinon, Methoxychlor or Naled (Dibrom), whereas commercial greenhouse growers can use Bacillus Thuringiensis Berliner var. israelensis (Gnatrol, Vectobac). Licensed pesticide applicators can apply a restricted use pesticide, namely Oxamyl (Vydate). Always read the label and follow directions and safety precautions.
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