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Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats

Category Gnats
Getting rid of fungus gnats in your potted plants can be a frustrating chore. This is a guide about getting rid of fungus gnats.
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By 1 found this helpful
July 28, 2011

If fungus gnats are a problem with your houseplants here is an easy solution that has worked for me every time. Fungus gnats lay their eggs and develop into adults in the top 1/2 inch of the soil and they need moisture to survive. They have a 2 week life cycle.

The simplest way to break that cycle and get rid of them is to water all your plants from the bottom only and not let the top of the soil get moist. To be doubly certain of results I always keep closer to 1 inch totally dry and extend this routine for closer to 3 weeks, just to make sure.

Also before bringing plants home look around if you see any fungus gnats flying around the plant display area. You can also check the top of the soil for them by gently disturbing the soil with your fingertip. If you see any you will be better off to find another place to buy your plants. I hope this helps.

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By Sylvia from Cobalt, Ontario

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February 19, 20170 found this helpful

Gnats are a nuisance, especially when your house plants are covered in them. Get tips on getting rid of gnats on houseplants in this guide.

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Questions

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February 3, 20090 found this helpful

Does my Spider plant soil have fungus gnats? After watering my indoor potted plants, within about 36 hours, I noticed a soil surface infestation of what looks to be fungus gnat larvae. A large number of the larvae look like whitish thin worms from 1/4 in. to 1/2 in. long. I wasn't able to see the notorious black tip on the end of the body. The rest are about the size of a nail head with 6 legs and antenna.

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Also I am finding a number of what looks like large eggs, about 3/16 in. diameter from God knows what insect species. They are yellowish to amber in color with watery yellowish goo inside and a thin brittle clear shell. What the heck could they be? Aliens? Am I wrong about the fungus gnats? Any suggestions? Help!

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
February 4, 20090 found this helpful

EWW! I would take the spider plant out of the soil, shake the roots gently, wash in warm water carefully. I would use new potting soil that has been microwaved for about 30 seconds or so to kill any critters..let it cool for a few minutes. Then replant the spiderplant in the soil, and spray the spider plant with water with a small amount of dishwashing detergent to keep off bugs. See if that works. Hope this helps. I would also freeze any potting soil overnight in the bag in a trash bag to kill any critters. I do the freezing this with all flour and such to kill any eggs of bugs or anything gross like that. Good Luck, I love spider plants!

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

Absolutely, change out that soil! If you can afford it buy new soil.

Spider plants are really easy to propagate. Cut off some of the runners and root them in other soil just in case it does not take well to the soil-switch!

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

You can also give your plant out of the pot a bleach rinse, 1 TB to 1 gal of water. THEN get new soil. AND bleach your pots to kill any residue. Anytime you bring in plants in the fall from outside, seal them in a large plastic bag, spray some house/plant spray which will kill friends brought it. Must leave the plant in bag a couple days--read instructions.
Yes, those little balls are the egg sacks and hold many new bugs ready to infect other plants too.

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

I am so sorry I have nothing helpful to say...I just had to say, eww

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February 5, 20090 found this helpful

Pour cold tea onto your plants. This acts as an insecticide! Good luck

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

It might be something called scale. If the outside of the pot is sticky and the plant has a sticky residue, then this is the likely culprit. You can save the plant by spraying it with an insectide and then repeating it in a week. Look online for pictures. Make sure to isolate the affected plant from any others in the house until it is cleared. I have saved several plants from this problem Good Luck.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 26, 2010

How do I get rid of household gnats in potting soil?

By Tammy from VT

Answers

January 28, 20100 found this helpful

I have this problem no matter how many times I've changed the soil. I have no solution as of this date.

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January 28, 20100 found this helpful

After you repot in clean soil, you might add a thin layer of sand to help keep them from getting to the potting soil. Best to use a growing sand that will be salt free.. a fast remedy is to mix up any liquid insecticide that is safe for the plant, even diluted down a couple of times and then use this mixture to water the plant, this will kill the larvae in the wet soil. There is also a product called Gnatrol you can use. It is Bt and only effects the larval stage so is slower to gain control.

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January 29, 20100 found this helpful

Those are fungus gnats, and they are difficult to get rid of completely. Thankfully they seldom really harm the plants, though they are a real nuisance. In addition to the tips below, hanging a sticky fly strip near your plants will trap a lot of them. Another tip I have seen is to put raw potato cubes near your plants and change them every three days. I think they are supposed to lay their eggs there instead of in the soil. (The worst infestation I ever had was when I had a 50 lb bag of potatoes near my plant lights in the basement, and there was a bad potato near the bottom that I didn't find for some time, so I guess they really like potatoes.)

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February 7, 20100 found this helpful

I was looking for a solution to my gnat problem. I opened a brand new bag of potting soil for some seedlings, and gnats came swarming out of the bag. I talked to my Aunt who has worked at a florist for years and said they microwave their soil for a few minutes and let it cool down before planting. It kills the larvae. Be careful, microwaving for too long can cause the soil to catch fire. Also the house will get a woodsy smell to it after doing this, she suggested microwaving some lemon juice to get rid of the smell.

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November 20, 20101 found this helpful

First I soak planters in mild chlorine bleach then rinse. This water is poured over the gravel walk behind house and kills the moss/mold on pavement. We have plants lining walk and this has never bothered plants.
I have problems with soil gnats every year when I bring my household plants back into house after they've lived outside, plus, I have 3 cats. Finally found a solution ~5 yrs ago and works every time.

After repotting, add a thin layer of larger particle activated charcoal (can get at pet/fish shop) just on top of the soil. I then cover this with plastic mulch - some colors like blue or yellow enhance the colors of the plant. My favorite is blue, the green plants and/or pink blooms seem more vibrant.

The charcoal takes care of the gnats (as I've read they like moist soil) and the cats won't disturb the plastic mulch. If you have really large planters, I'd try the volcanic rocks that you might use for landscaping or grills. Had these in some really large planters with taller inside bushes. Cat could get into planter, but, jumped out quickly when she touched the rock.
Happy indoor planting !!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 14, 2015

What are the little gnats in my potting soil?

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November 18, 20120 found this helpful

Does anyone have a solution for getting these pests out of your house plants? I've used every solution posted for eliminating potential breeding grounds (and the flies themselves), but no one has touched on how to do this short of throwing away my plants.

By Allie A.

Answers

November 20, 20120 found this helpful

I have had success with a mix of water, liquid dish soap and vinegar, red wine vinegar seeming the best. In a small jar, such a a spice jar, put a little water and vinegar and just a drop or so of the soap, about an inch or so in the bottom of the jar. Mix well. You should be able to smell the vinegar. Into the mouth of a jar put a funnel of rolled paper, not touching the water mix, but projecting below the mouth of the jar. Set near the infested sight. Depending of the number of fruit flies, you may have to empty it every day or so and start with a fresh mix. I think it is the scent of the vinegar that attracts them.

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August 20, 20130 found this helpful

There's no such thing as a fruit fly. These are drain flies. These flies are just attracted to anything smelling like fruit or wine (grapes). There's been an infestation of them in many States, especially Michigan. The professionals say they can't take them out anymore; the flies are tolerant to everything they use. I do know as a PT lead bartender for 30 years, to catch them or court them out of their haven, put plastic cups around, drop in some vinegar and water and a drop or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Be reminded by the professionals that if you get a male and female that nest in your plants or your house, they multiply 1000 every hour. Believe me, I've seen it in the restaurants I work at.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 8, 2011

I have been having a problem with fungus gnats in and around my potted plants. I was told that if I diluted regular Listerine, 1 to 1 with water and spayed the organic soil mixture, the solution, would kill fungus gnats and their eggs that live in the manure.
If anyone knows this to be true please give feed back. Have tried other solutions, but to no avail.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Lady Belle 13 from Philadelphia, PA

Answers

March 16, 20110 found this helpful

To break the cycle of the fungus gnat you need to get rid of the larvae. It's very simple and easy. A slice of potato is all you need. Simply lay the slice on the soil of infested plants and the little maggots can't resist it. They begin feeding in the slice and now you have them where you want them. Throw the slice away after about 3 or 4 days and replace as needed. Of course there are other ways and this article may help. But making sure it's fungus gnats is key here because this trick won't work on other types. Hope this helps.

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July 21, 20120 found this helpful

These things suck - become an unfortunate 'field of study' for me, haven't found one particular thing that works perfectly for me - but I thought I'd pass on a few things to consider, just in case anyone else missed them!

1. They seem especially drawn to two things first plants in pots that are too big for them (thus they are surrounded by damp soil that the root system isn't using). And fertilizer.

To remedy these things:

1. Stay away from miracle-gro potting soil (the cheaper potting mix seems to have a lot less problems.

2. Bake all potting soil - new or used - for an hour on 250-300 degrees F before using it. also when transplanting rinse the roots outside well and either dispose of the old soil or bake it.

3. Skip gravel/rocks in the bottom of the pot, and only water from the bottom using a saucer, after a few minutes toss any water left that the plant hasn't absorbed. Sometimes it takes a few waterings for the root system to figure out where the water is coming from but they will adjust, and skipping the gravel in the bottom of a pot speeds this up.

Note - Certain plants like philodendrons get them repeatedly, and I have had better luck putting them in a tall narrow vase of water instead permanently. Sometimes I just move outside.

4. Very important (as I too have a 'Charlie Brown Christmas tree' sort of tendency to feel sorry for sickly plants and try to nurse them back to health)

If you discover a plant that has these gross gnats (usu. in a bath or bedroom that you don't pay much attention to - you will recognize them by the fact that they 'run around' the edges of the pot more so than they "fly" and on the surface around it) bag the whole thing and throw it away, or like I do - toss it off of the balcony onto the lawn then later go with a garbage bag, wrap it up and throw it away! You will save yourself many headaches.

Then go around and check all of the plants inside and out, and even if you don't immediately notice any gnats, take the first couple of inches of soil off of the top of all of them and throw it away! : ) Replace it with new baked soil. Don't fertilize so often, and let the plants dry out between watering.

P.S. to the person who wrote about the 'decline' of plants after; this seems to be a direct result of these gnats. Either that the gnat larvae eating the roots of the plants, or because as a result of the infestation, predator nematodes (which feed on the larvae) themselves become a parasite to the plant. In my experience the plants almost never recover after this, even after changing the soil etc. Save the grief and toss the plant in the first place. They're not that expensive, and you probably have too many anyway.

Oh also - open up your windows more often more sunlight and fresh air is their enemy and you'll feel better (and your house will be a healthier environment). Do it now! Good luck!

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By 0 found this helpful
December 31, 2008

I have a fungus on my grass. I had a commercial service which I gave up on it and after that is when I got this fungus. It seems the grass is very weak do to all the chemicals this company laid on it and the fungus just took over. Any suggestion on a natural product, I'm afraid to use any more chemicals. Thank you.

Hardiness Zone: 10b


Carlos from Florida

Answers

December 31, 20080 found this helpful

You might want to change your pH. I'd call or go in to a local plant Nursery. Look in your yellow pages or Google "Plant Nursery & your City & State" & I bet they'll have lots of natural products. They may even be able to help you over the phone. You'll need someone who knows about Florida specific soil. If I remember (from when I was young & lived there) Florida has sand & not dirt for soil. Also, because it's "Tropical" I bet there's a lot of people with fungus in their grass. Call a local Plant Nursery & ask when the horticulturist that works there will be in.

* Don't use Vinegar, because it will kill your grass. You'd have to dilute it a WHOLE lot!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 5, 20090 found this helpful

Beer on a day when its not going rain for a few days. The yeast in the beer will eat the fungus.

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September 11, 20040 found this helpful

How do I get rid of little flying black bugs that seem to be in my potting soil? Where are they coming from?

Bigeyecat

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March 28, 20110 found this helpful

Actually spoke to miracle grow and they said it is common with the potting soil and they are harmless. I've never seen them before this winter. The rep I spoke to said that I could put a layer of sand and that will kill the larvae. I also had to put the UPC code in an envelope to mail it back to them for a refund.

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February 25, 20130 found this helpful

If we could still get any systemic spray we could get rid of any bug very quickly and forever, one tiny drop or less on the stem of a plant would kill them all. Those among us who banned these products will be guilty of us losing a lot of money when our plants die. Good luck with getting rid of these soil pests!

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February 22, 20150 found this helpful

I have had my fiddle leaf plant for several years. How do I get rid of the tiny bugs everywhere?

By Geraldine

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December 30, 20140 found this helpful

What can we use to rid ourselves of these gnats? I sprayed throughout the house with HotShot and it worked a little. I don't know if they were all asleep or just hiding away. They're everywhere. Thanks for your help. God bless.

By Sam

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December 31, 20140 found this helpful

If you do have fungus gnats in your home, the management method you used, spraying in the air, is not effective. The main problem is that fungus gnats spend most of their lives as larvae buried in indoor plant soil and the ones you see are a few very short lived adults. The immature gnats live in plant soil for months so you must improve the soil to kill the immature gnats before they fly.

Please see the suggestions below to try to control your problem.

Management
Fungus gnats are typically harmless to healthy plants - and humans - but can inflict extensive damage to seedlings; their presence can be indicative of more serious problems. In houseplants, the presence of fungus gnats may indicate overwatering; they may be feeding on roots that have sat in drain water too long and are thus rotting, or the gnats may be attracted to fungus growing in saturated topsoil. Consequently, allowing the soil to dry may reduce their numbers. They are sometimes also managed by placing a layer of sterile sand or indoor mulch on top of the soil around plants; by introducing Hypoaspis miles mites or applying the biological larvicide Bacillus thuringiensis (subspecies israelensis) to kill gnat larve; by drenching the soil annually in an insecticidal soap; or by applying detergents and nicotine from tobacco brewed into a toxic tea.
Insecticides are considered an important control option in some commercial plant production but generally aren't recommended for fungus gnat management in and around the home.
University of California Davis
http://www.ipm.  OTES/pn7448.html

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July 20, 20130 found this helpful

Fungus gnats are in my closed top terrariums. I have tried every method that I have found on line (yellow paper with fly strips, and I have killed a lot, but not all). I found out that plants brought inside can have them so I took them all out on the front porch and put sand in the top. I discontinued watering on top and put a tray under them to water. (Someone suggested vinegar and that works.) I also put my potting soil in the freezer. I haven't put it in bake yet but will try. I have reworked four, washing the soil completely off roots, and cleansing the jars and rocks. After reworking two recently, one of them I discovered has a few gnats. I haven't tried insecticides because I had planned to sell them, but until I solve the problem completely, that's out. Help! I am working hard and everything works but not completely. If insecticides are used, do I spray the soil or all the plants?

By Barbara

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May 23, 20120 found this helpful

Is there any way to get rid of gnats and larva in my new terrarium or do I have to dump all of the soil, rinse the plant roots and start over?

By Patsy A

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March 26, 20110 found this helpful

How do I get rid of little flying black bugs that seem to be in my potting soil? Where are they coming from?

Bigeyecat

Answers:

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Something that has worked for me is to put a bit of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle, diluted with water and spray the plants and the soil that has the bugs. I had to do it several times over the course of a few months, but I no longer have any bugs from the soil in my house. They seem to just die when they are sprayed, and the soap doesn't harm the plants. Mine are all thriving, so I've had no problem with that. (09/11/2004)

By Melodie

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I agree with Melodie, and I have to add ... put 1/4 inch of sand on top of the potting soil. the bugs are laying eggs in the wet soil. so adding sand confuses them, as sand dries quickly, not enough moisture to hatch eggs. water gently but thoroughly. (09/13/2004)

By Diamondee

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

You are probably buying the cheap potting soil that comes in the cheap plastic bags. This soil is not sterilized so all the bugs and eggs and stuff have not been killed in it. It is more expensive, yet it saves you a lot of grief in the long run, but buying the more expensive brand-name dirt in the nice bags will not have any bugs or eggs. It is also better for your plants in that it has peat moss and other fillers mixed into it already (and sometimes fertilizers as well) and the cheap dirt does not.

So you should add peat moss and perlite or vermiculite to lighten the soil. If you do not, the soil compacts around the roots, cutting off their air supply (roots need to breathe, too), causing your plants to die. So, better soil prevents pesky bugs and successful plants. That cheap soil is mostly meant for adding to a flower bed or using in outdoor planters. I have worked in a greenhouse and been a houseplant enthusiast for many, many years. And I have never seen a pesticide that can kill those bugs off.

Good luck! Heather (09/14/2004)

By Heather H.

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Melodie's suggestion about the liquid dish soap and water in a spray bottle always works for me. Try it. (09/25/2004)

By pats/az

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Being a thrifty person I will try the dish soap diluted with water. I'll put a good layer of sand on top of the soil as well. Thank you for this info!
Kelly (05/08/2005)

By Kelly

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Bye the way the bugs are in my apartment and biting me making me itch. I can't get rid of the flower pot because it was given to me by my daughter for a mothers day gift. (although, I have considered throwing the pot into the dumpster several times!) (05/08/2005)

By Kelly

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I am having the exact same problem, and will not consider tossing either the plant nor the container.
I will however try the soap trick and the sand [maybe I can kill em twice as fast huh?] I hope so, I am sick of yawning and having to pick little bug's from my tongue after, I do however get a bit of exercise while watching T.V. by swatting at these darn pest's.

Also I did purchase the cheap soil this time as I was planning to only use it outdoor's, but I needed to transplant this one plant, I have several bags of it, anyone want it? lol
Thank you all
Rich (09/24/2005)

By Richard

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

The best solution is to buy premium soil. If it's too late, soapy water in a spray bottle works but sometimes not permanently. Sand works well for the eggs in the soil. I heard Cinnamon works if sprinkled on the soil, for you Homeopaths. Also, Spanish moss or other decorative mulches deters gnats from finding new plants to lay eggs on. (03/12/2007)

By Jeff

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I have them too! all over outside in my potted plants. I am trying the soapy water. I guess I got the one bad bag of miracle grow potting soil. Will anything else work? (06/16/2007)

By Judy

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I just sprayed my plants at work with dish soap and water and it must have worked. I tried it once before but it did not work. This time I added a lot of dish soap and I have found a lot of those little flies dead within a minute or two. Now I won't have to get rid of my plants. Thanks everyone for your great advice. Have a fantastic day! (08/09/2007)

By Riki

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I just read to pour rubbing alcohol in the soil, has anyone tried this? I hope it doesn't hurt the plant but I am desperate.

Editor's Note: I'm afraid it would kill the plant. The best thing to do is scrape off the top of the soil and throw it away. Then put some new soil on top. That should help get rid of the bugs. (08/21/2007)

By joslyn

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I also am over run by the little buggers and they bite. Soap spray hasn't worked, chemicals haven't worked. I got these bugs from a huge expensive bag of Miracle Grow. I have been down this bug road before which is why I bought the good dirt- or so I thought.

This is what I'm going to do this time. I'm going to the store and insist that the bag be opened and checked for bugs prior to purchase. If no bugs I'm going to take all my plants out side in the back yard and remove all the dirt and gently rinse them roots and all clean with the hose. I'll then take them to the front yard where I'll have the fresh dirt and new pots and re-plant them. I'm then going to take them to my mom's house for a couple weeks till I'm sure all the left over flying bugs in my house are dead. When I see no more sign of bugs I'll bring them home. This is how desperate I have become to go to such lengths.

Three of my plants belonged to my great aunt who is no longer with us they are very old and very large, and one was purchased for our daughters funeral which means so very much to us. I just can't toss them out. Wish me luck. If this works I'll re-post and share my happiness.

My husband loved the post about the person who was picking the bugs from their teeth as he choked on one at dinner the other night.

Jody (11/11/2007)

By Jody

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I have these little guys to. I bought the most expensive Miracle Grow potting Soil, twice, and they have come from both batches. Doesn't seem to matter if you buy the good stuff or not. (01/05/2008)

By Ray

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Hello Ladies: I bought my first ficus indoor plant at Lowells Hardware Store, in the Garden Dept. Since I was strapped for money, the store worker provided me with a cheap bag of soil. Not knowing anything about plants, or flowers I had no idea what I was in for. I was worried about killing my new indoor tree and got instructions on watering and over watering, no one told me about bugs.

Three weeks after having my tree which was doing great, these little pest showed up. I refuse to get rid of my tree. I sprayed house and garden bug killer around the tree and find hundreds of tiny, tiny little black specks behind my love seat and couch and around the window seal. They also follow me upstairs and dive around my hair, or clothing.

I find them in my coffee, or food, only because I see little wings on them so I knew it was a flying insect of sort. They are so small they can virtually get into anything and be anywhere. I read about the soap and water thing tonight and immediately sprayed my tree and soil, please god let this be the answer. I also read about soap, water and cooking oil, what do you think about that? Help! Cheryl Phx, AZ (02/03/2008)

By Cheryl

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

When you buy a new bag of potting soil, wrap a big bag around it and throw it in the freezer over night! Should kill em! I have done the water and dish soap thing too!! Worked for me, took a few months though! (02/26/2008)

By Karen

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I put sand on the top of the soil. They were fungus gnats, black little bugs around my new seedlings. I checked into it turns out if you are over watering they love to lay their eggs in the soil and eat the roots of your plants. Anyway let the soil get dry and try some sand or make sure to water from the bottom! (03/15/2008)

By Nicole B.

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I too have had those annoying black bugs. I purchased a cheap bag of "potting soil" at my do it yourself center and low and behold, they started appearing. To stop the kill the little buggards, I also watered with the a solution of lots of dish soap and water in a cup and proceeded to drown the plant. I haven't seen any more yet.

Then I remembered you can also kill the little buggards and anything lurking in your potting soil by baking it in the oven at around 200 degrees for a half hour. Let cool and proceed to replant with your sterile soil. Both work well. Good luck to all of you. (03/15/2008)

By Nancy

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I live in the Arctic, so we have lots of indoor plants. Over the years my friends and I have tried the soapy water, scrapping the top of the soil off, and a host of other things. The only thing that has worked on a consistent basis has been baking the dirt. It doesn't matter if expensive or inexpensive potting soils were purchased, the little flying bugs appear. It doesn't matter how much or how little water has been used, the little pests appear. All sorts of sprays and other concoctions have been tried...the flying horrors appear. Forget the sand, they arise as if it is Easter! Bake the dirt. Make sure you bake it long enough to kill off the eggs. Good Luck (03/22/2008)

By Dallas-Lee

got rid of gnats

I started noticing gnats in my house about a month ago. I killed some of them with a fly swatter. Then I started seeing smaller ones and suspected babies. It wasn't until I went on the internet that I discovered that they could com from plants. I thought they only came from fruits. I followed the info about vinegar and dish liquid. It worked! I also threw away the newest plant in my house, and replaced it with a newly potted one. So far no gnats. (04/04/2008)

By Gwen

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I just started my own garden on my balcony in my new apartment and I have the same problem. They are in my new morning glory seedlings that just began to sprout. I'm afraid that they will eat my poor babies. I will try the soapy water but I still need to purchase the sand. Thank you all for this information. I hope it works for me as well :) (04/05/2008)

By sarah

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Found the best cure for black flies/gnats that come in potting soil. Son of a fly do these kill a hobbie! Anyway my mother had a tomato dust of 5% insecticide. I dusted the soil top heavily and watered. Results: hundreds of dead bugs! I tried the low % insecticide spray, but this powder of 5% did the trick. (05/27/2008)

By Ed

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I just opened a new bag of Organic Choice Miracle Grow and have tons of flying black bugs, too. If I didn't have to put the bag and bugs in my car, I'd return it. What a waste. (07/06/2008)

By Alanna

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Does anyone know if (baking the soil in the oven) would help get rid of the little bugs? (09/12/2008)

By Jamie

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

That's all very interesting, I have had my plants for 3 years and now all of a sudden I have these little pest. All my plants are inside plants. Thanks for all the tips I will start on some of these suggestions right away. (11/17/2008)

By Ladyakita

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I bought the best Miracle Grow potting soil with plant food already added. These little flying black bugs are driving us crazy. I will try the dish soap. Will it hurt the plant if it gets to the root? (11/24/2008)

By JLK

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Can anyone tell me what the ratio of soap/vinegar/water is for watering/soaking the plant? I want to kill the eggs too, not just the bugs. My husband is also very annoyed at these bugs, and wants them gone. (Although my 4 year old thinks they are cute and is totally against killing them. LOL) I want to be careful not to put too much of one ingredient in and kill the plant too. Thanks! (01/02/2009)

By Tania

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

Also, will any dish soap work? I use an antibacterial dish soap but would that be too harsh? (01/04/2009)

By Tania

Black Flying Bugs in Pot Soil?

I hope the sand works,those little bugs are driving me nuts. (01/11/2009)

By Mona

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

I used the dish soap idea but to no avail! I'm so scared that if I put to much soap I might kill the plant. Can anyone give me a good ratio of soap to water that would work on a small plant? (02/25/2009)

By Ryan

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

Hi, I have this problem too and just found out through wiki answers.com that these are fungus gnats.You get rid of them by setting trays of vinegar out near your pots. Need to get rid of all the bugs, including their eggs that hatch and become adults - so could take time. Also,you can buy those yellow sticky traps. At least this is something to try. I hate those things, they try to fly into my eyes. Good luck. (11/29/2009)

By seaf

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

I saw a link that someone said to use hairspray. Today I took out the can and sprayed the top of the soil and turned the soil over and a zillion little flies were hopping all over. I sprayed the top of the soil again and now the little black flying bugs are down to about 2 every 5 hours. I also sprayed the little white "worms" that we coming to the top and it worked on them also.

The hair spray stops them from flying and they die. Sure was glad I had a new can of hair spray on hand. Good luck (02/07/2010)

By vjhall

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

BT has been highly recommended to get rid of maggots of fungus gnats in the potting medium thus preventing plants specially seedlings from being attacked by these worms. It is not toxic to plants or animals and is commonly found in mosquito dunk products and in granular form as well. Follow the directions and save your plants! (05/24/2010)

By Thedocta

RE: Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

Here is a pic of the larvae. (05/24/2010)

By Thedocta

RE: Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

My mom suggested making a sort of tea from a couple cigarette's worth of tobacco and spraying that on the soil. She's had good luck with it, I guess.

I have some outlandishly expensive Miracle Gro potting soil. Didn't help. I expect that these wretched bugs live just about everywhere so it doesn't matter what soil you buy, they find their way into the house through a window or door and voila! They're all yours.

I carefully pulled my amaryllis out of the pot and rinsed it in the sink. Then I took ALL the dirt out of the pot, put in in cake/pie/cookie/bread/any other pan I could find (be careful, the gnats will fly in your face while you do this. Yuck), and baked it in my oven for 30-45 minutes at 325 degrees. If that doesn't kill the little buggers nothing will.

In the meantime I put a small amount of wine in a pan and warmed it gently on the stove for about 90 seconds. It should still be comfortable to put your fingers in it, but just warm enough to smell. That should attract the bugs and drown them (and hey, they'll die happy drinking cheap sangria! A very humane way to take care of them).

Repot the plant, leave a dish of wine or vinegar next to the pot for a week (you might want to change it every couple days), and water with dilute dish soap for a couple weeks to make sure they're all out of your house.

I think I just combined all the previous methods. I hope my amaryllis survives the repotting. (05/30/2010)

By bethes

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

Argh!

So I've had these little super annoying bugs flying around for a week. My one little plant has sentimental value to me and is out on the deck. I wanted to get good soil for it and bought the premium Miracle Grow organic potting soil that was the most expensive that Wal-Mart had.

Finally started googling today about little flying bugs because no matter how many I killed more would come and saw some people mention it could be potting soil.. went back to the opened bag I used for my plant and bam, bunch of the evil little things. I've read like 7 or 8 other posters mention Miracle Grow too, buyer beware. God do I hate those bugs. Going to need to transplant my plant to new dirt now, but how likely is it that I'll get another bad batch of soil? (08/20/2010)

By cybermud

Black Flying Bugs in Potting Soil?

I have a huge problem with these nasty little critters; I agree they have invaded our home via potting soil we have purchased.

I have tried numerous chemical bug sprays, even granular insect control to no avail. After visiting this forum a little over a week ago, I thought I'd give the "tobacco juice" formula a try. I found various formulas on line. Most of the recipes include a brew of tobacco, with a measure of liquid dish soap and mouthwash added. I used the cigar butts from my ashtray and trash can to make the tobacco brew in very hot tap water (overnight steep), added the other ingredients and strained through a fine mesh screen.

Less than a week ago, I sprayed one of my large planted pots (on the soil to wet thoroughly) which had literally thousands of these minute beasts in it, and it looks like the juice is working! It isn't a "kill on contact" solution, but I have to say I am extremely encouraged by the results after just less than a week. We'll see... (03/24/2011)

By RochaM

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January 26, 20100 found this helpful

I have at least 50 houseplants. I re-potted many over the years and have never had a problem with gnats, now I do. I try to let the soil dry out as much as I can without harming the plants.

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July 14, 20090 found this helpful

Has anyone ever had problems with gnats in their potting soil?

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March 8, 20110 found this helpful

I put a layer of sand on top of my potted plants to get rid of gnats, but have been seeing a decline in the health of my plants. Could it be from the sand?

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

I have gnats in my home, I think they are coming from my plants in the house. How can I get rid of them?

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

How do I get rid of gnats living in the soil of my houseplant?

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September 27, 20100 found this helpful

How do I get rid of gnats in house plants?

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April 25, 20100 found this helpful

I have to do my herbal garden in my apartment. I have fungus gnats, ugh. I got the little yellow flags that are sticky traps.

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June 8, 20090 found this helpful

How do I get rid of fungus gnats?

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