By Rosa from Glastonbury, CT
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the answer to this and most other insect pest problems, including fleas and ticks on pets. This stuff is natural and non-toxic. You must use "Food Grade" DE though, as the type used for pool filters is heated treated and made poisonous in the process. A web search will return some good sources and more info on diatomaceous earth.
DE is a microscopic skeleton from a plant known as a Diatom, a single-celled alga that has a cell wall of silica. These tiny shells are very hard and sharp and when they come in contact with the body of an insect they cut like sandpaper. Because an insect depends on it's outer coating to seal in moisture, they dry out and die after being dusted with DE.
This abrasion will affect the insect in all stages of development so it is effective on adults as well as larvae.
Because the bugs you see flying around your houseplants are little flies, they can be completely eliminated in about a month, as it takes this long to kill the adults and all the maggots that are under the soil. Be sure to dig up the surface of the soil to get to these maggots. You can put some DE in the toe of an old sock to make a pounce bag for easy distribution. Use a dust mask to avoid breathing the dust while doing this.
Diatomaceous Earth is very inexpensive (about $15 for 10 pounds) for the many benefits it can have including health benefits for humans and pets as well as eliminating the need to use poison in many pest control situations.
Do not use the solution that is given for flying bugs on houseplants on this site because it killed all my plants. The solution I am talking about is the 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 1 tsp baking soda.
Whoever came up with this recipe killed my beautiful plants. I am so upset so don't do anything this person suggest. I am devasted because I spent a lot of money on my plants. I had 38 plants and now I am down to two plants. How dare you put a recipe on this site that kills plants. Shame on you. Who are you and where did you get this recipe to kill plants?
Every winter my houseplants get little bugs on them that really fly around if I disturb the plant. What do I do about it?
MB in WY
by Patricia J.
How can I enjoy my house plants without those pesky little flies? I don't want to spray anything on the plants, because I'm afraid it may harm them, but the bugs are driving me crazy. Any suggestions? Please help.
Serena from Austin, TX
Place in a hand held sprayer and spray pests away.
Place mixture in a hand held sprayer and spray. You'll feed your plants while sending pests packing.
Word of caution, fuzzy leaf house plants like the African Violet don't like their leaves wet, so don't spray them. Dip a Q-tip in your solutions and touch any pest on the leaves carefully. Results then in undamaged leaf and a pest running for its life. (01/16/2009)
This year I did not use a "soiless potting mix", just the regular, and had a fiesta of bugs after a few weeks. Overly wet soil seemed to boost populations, but then I sprayed with a Rose Pesticide with Pyrethrin, saturating the soil. Then I placed a thick layer of sand on top of the soil. The bugs are gone. Give it a day or two. It may take a second application of spray. I think that the sand prevents the fungus gnats from having a place to lay their eggs. You may not even need the spray. Try the sand alone first. Why use dangerous chemicals? (02/09/2009)
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