Fungal Gnats/Mosquito Bits Application?

bosewichte(7a/8b)July 3, 2011

I've got a pretty heavy infestation of fungal gnats in my houseplants right now. I read on here (and other websites) that an all-natural 'biological, microbial weapon' called Mosquito Bits/Dunks was good for killing them. I wanted something to put in my bird bath, too, for mosquitoes. I got the Mosquito Bits in the mail yesterday and I'm a little confused about the application. The bottle says something like "apply one teaspoon per twenty-five square feet". Um...??? My husband and I weren't sure whether we just drizzled the little bits over our bird bath and our houseplants (with lots of water), or whether or not we need to dissolve the little pellets in water before applying to house plants. Has anyone tried this?

Oh...and just wondering why there are so many warning labels (don't inhale...keep away from human water sources...etc.) on something like this? I don't doubt that something 'all natural and safe for birds' can still be harmful to people, but just wondering.

Thanks so much!

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amccour

If you have fungus gnats, change your plants to a potting media with less/no peat -- something that dries out faster and is more inorganic. Also, fungus gnats can be a general sign of overwatering.

The gnats themselves are actually harmless so I wouldn't mess with chemicals over it, and the real problem is that the overly organic, overly moist environment that attracts them tends to be non-optimal for the vast majority of plants.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 10:52AM
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bosewichte(7a/8b)

Thanks for the advice! It's not a chemical, though. From the site: "Mosquito Dunks are a form of Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis in a solid form." I believe it's considered an organic/natural way to combat insects. The bacteria is eaten by the gnats and keeps them from laying eggs, somehow. Anyway, I've tried to dry out the soil, no luck. The mosquito treatment should work, just need to figure out the proper application!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:01PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Heavy infestations of fungus gnat larvae can truly cause problems for containerized plants. They feed on the tender roots. Bt is eaten by the LARVAE, not the gnats. The larvae subsequently develop a diseased (by the bacterium) intestinal system and die. No larvae means no adults flitting around laying eggs and annoying you.

I've not used the pelletized Bt, but don't see why it couldn't be used the same way as the round mosquito dunks. Put a small amount in your watering containers and allow to soak over night in water. Use THAT water on watering day for the next several times that you water. Don't water more than you usually would.

As far as the bird bath goes, it can be simply rinsed out every other day or so and no mosquito niaids will have time to emerge as adults.

Warning labels like that are on just about anything you use. Look at your shampoo bottle. If the labels were not present, and someone took it upon himself to drink or eat something not intended for drinking or eating, then the lawsuits would be never ending.

Besides, just because a product is considered 'safe' and 'natural', does NOT mean that doesn't have hazards when used improperly.

You should consider the underlying cause of the fungus gnat infestation at some point in the future. Switching to a coarse, fast draining potting medium will be a huge step in halting further problems without Bt, as will making sure you aren't watering excessively.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:23PM
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bosewichte(7a/8b)

Thanks so much! That's exactly what I needed. I've got the bits soaking right now!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 8:30PM
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