Getting rid of fleas around house plants.

greenzOctober 25, 2007


Is there any trick to prevent "fleas" or any other bugs from partying around your house plant soil??? I think they're fleas because they're not very fast flyers and I can clap my hands and kill some of them. Fleas or gnats.

Our indoor plants seem to have fleas (or like bugs) roaming around in and about the soil, pots, and plants. I would take the plants outside to get rid of the fleas, but somehow, they magically appear again. Our house doesn't have pets and is clean all or most of the time.

Your input is greatly appreciated....

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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

You need to correctly identify your bug first before you can try to eliminate it. Fleas hop, they don't fly, and they don't hang out for long on plants. I'm guessing you have fungus gnats. They are little black flying things that look like fruit flies? Cut back on your watering as much as you can, and do a search here for "fungus gnats", there are many posts with lots of suggested solutions.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 7:33AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Springtails can be a pest in potting medium, too. But the ID is important, absolutely.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Thanks for your replies.

I really don't know what kind of bug it is.

The bug is not that fast. I can easily kill/catch them. Every time I try to catch one, they run for cover (hiding under the pot rim or under soil bark, etc). Their wings are parallel/cover the back to their body and don't stand up. Their wings "flicker." Seems like they prefer to run rather than fly (if they can).

The ones that do fly, I can smack it with my hand and kill them. The bug is around 1 mm and they don't look like house flies.

Sorry if the description sounds funny. Could it be "fungus gnats" then??? I'll stop with the watering.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 3:52PM
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I used to get those too. They just migrated in with the houseplants I left outside for the spring.

The way I solve this is to get a saucer of water and put a couple of drops of dish soap in the water and leave it out where you see them. Once the flying pests get on top of the water, the dish soap prevents them from flying away and they eventually drown and die. After several days, you'll see that the saucer is full of them. I would dump them out and add more water and soap. It's always worked for me. Let us know if it works for you!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 5:54PM
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Hi all,
Sorry to bring back such an old post, but I was doing a google search for these pests on my plant and found this thread. I believe I am having problems with the same pests that the original poster has here.

Can anyone help with IDing these pests? I've seen a few with wings, but mostly they'll just "hop" and crawl around on the ground. I think they are fungus gnats. I'm afraid that they are fleas, but will fleas live in houseplants? I do not have any pets and also have not had any symptoms of itching or flea bites.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 5:25PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

I'm not sure what you have (fungus gnats I've had were all too willing to fly) but I'm pretty sure of what you don't have... fleas. Fleas don't have wings, and I see no reason why they'd want to hang around houseplants instead of you. Also, the original poster said that he could easily catch and kill them. Fleas in my experience have extremely hard exoskeletons. When my sister brought a stowaway back with her from her trip, I was able to pin it down, but couldn't crush it until I found a really tough tool of some sort, hammer maybe? Point being, I had to crush it with something metal against something metal, in this case being the top of a dryer.

Try those sticky yellow cards to see if you can catch any, and then maybe you can ID them. Or you can make your own using a yellow post-it note covered in vaseline. If they look like little flies (kinda like fruit flies, but frailer) then you probably have fungus gnats. They're not super hard to get rid of, just try to limit your watering. Wait until the first inch or so of soil on top is dry before watering again. I seem to recall the larva can only live in that top inch, which has to stay moist. Using mosquito dunks is another way to get rid of them.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:01PM
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bekkilyn(NC: 7b - 8)

I've had this gnat problem before. I was able to get rid of the fungus gnats by getting the soil very dry between waterings, to the point where the plants were nearly wilting, and then watering with water mixed with mosquito dunk. I added a half a dunk to a gallon jug and let it sit overnight before using the water. I just use the same dunk over and over, refilling the jug, until it eventually dissolves entirely (after many, many months).

The gnats won't all disappear overnight though, but eventually they will all die off.

Even though I no longer have the gnats, I still continue to water with my "dunk water".

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 12:21AM
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Things Needed

- Diatomaceous Earth
- Throwaway breathing mask

Buy diatomaceous earth, found at any organic gardening shop and few home improvement stores. It is essential to ensure the bag is not designed labeled for swimming pools. It must be agricultural or food grade. Its price should be about $10. Diatomaceous earth is prepared from fossilized microscopic shells and is found naturally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:08AM
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Whenever I buy new houseplants, I often pour boiling water-or extremely hot water-down into the soil to destroy whatever may be lurking in there. This may kill fungus knat eggs too.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:35PM
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arjadiejai(WNY z6)

greenchic: If you do that with all your new houseplants, then it obviously can't be all that bad, but I would think water that hot wouldn't be good for the roots. Have you ever had any problems from doing this? If not, I may have to try it...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 9:33AM
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I havent had any problems so far with the hot water on the roots. I make sure the plant is in the sink or bathtub so the hot water can run right out the plant.

I wouldnt try this with an orchid or other really delicate plant...but most of my plants are peace lilies, tropicals, yuccas and other hard to kill specimens.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 1:39PM
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A couple years ago I had fungas gnats and after reading on this forum, I did exactly as greenchic did....pour very hot water on my plants. This got rid of the gnats immediately, and did no harm to my plants.

I was hesitant to try this, but after everything else failed, I watered some of my least favourite (if there is such a thing) plants first to see how they fared. I ended up by watering all my plants with hot hot water.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 6:55PM
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Get a small branch or bunch of Eucalyptus leaves. Put them in a bottle with water and let it sit for a day or 2.

Then fill a spray bottle with that water and spray your pots/plants with it twice a day for a while.

It worked for me, should chase away the "fleas" or bugs if not killing them on contact.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:13PM
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