Fungus Gants: Any more that I could do?

MrBlubs(3a)December 28, 2013

Latlet ive been seeing little black flies zig zaggin about near my plants and all over my home. I smashed a ton of them and looked at one dead one under a microscope to Identifiy it. And yes they were fungus gnats

If anyone can recall a while ago I poste about my Neanthebella palm trees and how supposley they had bugs in them.. We'll i never saw any my mom did but I didnt think so. So I did the soap in water thing and did that for a while. Then I potted them in a new pot and all was well.
Now Come today the soil was just crawly with these gnats!
I quickly scowered the internet on how rid these things but you know theres never enough info

This is what I did
I covered the soil of My Neanthebella palm trees and my Majesty palm (Only.other plant were the soil stays wet enough) with cinnamon. (I read some where this kills the fungus.on which the larvae feed upon)

I also bought those sticky trap and put two in with the palms and some in my other plants. Ive caught 3 so far!

I also have barley waterd anything (Except my Majesty.palm but I dont water it as much)

I also let my Little batch of Neanthebella palms trees sit outside for a while as it was 10 degrees and was pretty windy so I though it could get rid of some of the adults that were in the soil (There were tons when I put it outside)

Anyway, Do you giys think this is enough to get rid of these things?
Should I do anything more?
Ill make sure not to overwater my palms next time!

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paul_(z5 MI)

Your potting media and its water retaining ability may be the big issue.

Meanwhile ....... got to HD or Lowes and buy a package of mosquito dunks. Throw a 1/4 of a doughnut dunk in a gallon jug and fill with the water you use to water your plants. Let sit overnight or a bit longer in a dark area (no reason to give algae a chance to grow). Shake well and water your plants with it. Refill jug and put away until the next watering. The dunk chunk in the jug will eventually completely disintegrate. Until then, leave it in the jug and keep reusing it. The bacteria in the dunk will kill off the gnat larvae.

NOTE: This is NOT and instant fix. It will take a week or two to wipe out the larvae.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 2:27PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It doesn't look like your research resulted in anything useful. Fungus gnat larvae, in potting soil, feed on peat moss particles, the slough from roots, and even tiny healthy roots. Using cinnamon or barley water would be useless.

The adults seek out moist (usually overly so), mucky potting mixes in which to lay their eggs. The larvae will thrive in those conditions. Providing a very porous medium is really all that is needed to prevent population from building up. My preferred mix consists mostly of pine bark fines....very little peat.....and I haven't seen a fungus gnat in many, many years.

Sometimes, just easing up on the watering frequency can help but that's not a sure thing unless something has been done to improve the consistency of the potting mix....from too fine and mucky to coarse and porous.

The other useful tool in fending off these little pests is a naturally occurring bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which kills the larvae once ingested. We are able to apply Bt as a product called Gnatrol or by dissolving ordinary mosquito dunks in your watering can.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 2:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Paul....your most excellent comments weren't there when I posted mine. :-)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 2:55PM
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I'll need to go on a quest for supplies now. I have almost wiped mine out (and almost changed completely to good soil, or Al's gritty mix), but every now and then one will find its way in front of the computer monitor.

Thanks for the help I wasn't really looking for!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:54AM
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Go buy a package of "Mosquito dunks" at the garden center. Put one quarter of one in your watering can. This will kill the larvae in the soil and stop future generations. Use sticky traps and manually kill the adults.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Thanks for all the help!
Ill be heading th store later today to get some of those dunks.
I cant however repot any my.plants untill spring as I have no where to do it and I cant do it outside.
Also I was looking at old threads about putting hot water in the soil.
Does this actually
If so could I Put a mosquito dunk in with the hot water and double whammy them?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 1:08PM
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DON'T use hot water. Room temperature of SLIGHTLY warm.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 1:44PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

If you can't repot, at least reduce watering and stir up the surface of the medium with a table fork or stick. This will help it dry out and disturb the flies. Keep the surface scuffed up regularly.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:10PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

â¢Posted by rhizo_1
Paul....your most excellent comments weren't there when I posted mine. :-)

I'm sneaky that way. heh

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 4:52PM
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