Tiny Fly Monsters From Hades

tima9209September 11, 2010

My house has recently been infested by tiny flies that love to tease people by flitting about their faces and performing endless stupid aerobatics in front of computer monitors. Words cannot express how much I've come to hate these little creeps. It's a good thing my lights aren't clapper-controlled, or it would look like a nightclub in here. Anyway, after several days of catching many dozens in bowls of apple cider vinegar/Dawn solution, it finally occurred to me to drape some Glad wrap over my houseplants between the base of the plants and the tops of the pots. Sure enough, the next day I observed a few flies confined by the wrap and thus identified where they're breeding, which is in a large pot holding a Chinese Evergreen. Is there anything I can do to save this plant? I'm ready to kill it with fire to destroy my tiny tormenters, but I really do like the plant and would prefer to save it. Using insect spray designed for application to plants was no help at all; I tried it three days in a row on all my plants, and I think it acted as a reproductive stimulant. Fortunately, it looks like only one plant is infested. Any ideas?

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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

It sounds like you have fungus gnats. They are super annoying but they can be eliminated. Look for mosquito dunks, put a bit in your watering can, and water it with that water. It kills the larva and then you eventually have no more adults either. It lasts for a while, so you don't have to toss out the dunk for a few months, I think; just add more water to it. You can also sprinkle those mosquito bits (I think that's what they're called) on the soil, but I haven't really been able to find those in the store, only online.

You can also get rid of them by keeping the top inch or so of the soil dry, but that only works if you have a plant that doesn't mind drying out a bit. If it prefers to stay moist, this would do more harm than good.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 2:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If you're trapping some with the vinegar solution, you might also have fruit flies. Fungus gnats are not likely to be attracted to the vinegar.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 1:04AM
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tima9209

Thanks, will look for the dunks. Since moving the offending plant outside a couple of days ago, the last 24 hours have been gnat-free. I've never known such peace.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 5:37PM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

Ive had them lately too and noticed them after I bought miracle grow potting soil from Lowe's. I'm wondering if they came from the soil because the bags have holes and are stored outside.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 9:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You usually have to work pretty hard at keeping a fast draining, well-aerated soil wet enough for your container's gnat populace to be happy and prolific; and when using the heavy soils they prefer, you can easily afford to allow the soil in the top 1/2-3/4 of the pot to become quite dry between waterings - your plant's roots will thank you too. Since the gnats prefer a wet soil environment, a lighter hand on the watering can is often all that's needed to keep them under control.

Al

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 5:05PM
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