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FEBRUARY 16 2022 /
Have you ever wondered what those little bugs are that hang around your houseplants? They may not seem like anything to ponder.
If you look closely they may even resemble a fruit fly. So what are they? These are fungus gnats.
Gnats are difficult to see, but their damage can make you toss out every plant you own. Even if gnats are something you may have heard of before, you may never have thought of them as something to cause damage or a nuisance to your household.
Gnats can also resemble a mosquito and dwell in both offices and homes, mostly being found around houseplants that collect moisture. Gnats are very small black insects with long antennae and legs.
Their whole body is only 1/8th of an inch long and there is a distinct “y” shaped pattern on their forewings.
The larvae of a gnat are small, wormlike, and translucent with a blackhead capsule. They feed on fungus, algae, and plant roots as they grow.
If you have a tendency to overwater your houseplants, this may become a huge attraction to gnats and may even become a breeding area. Female fungus gnats lay approximately 200 eggs during their 7-10 day life cycle and are active all year long.
Fungus gnats are not dangerous and do not pose a threat to humans.
However, the larvae from a gnat can damage houseplants and seedlings as they feed on the roots. On occasion, they will also burrow into stems and leaves.
Plants will become damaged from gnats and show signs of wilting and are more susceptible to root rot.
Let’s say you recognize you have a plant that has been affected by gnats, and they’re causing damage to other plants as well.
Trying to eradicate gnats on your own is difficult and most often ineffective unless you eliminate all sources of moist organic material.
There are a few different things you can do to try and reduce their numbers.
For example, try not to overwater your houseplants. The top 1-2 inches of the plant pot needs to remain dry that way there is less attraction for a gnat to stick around.
Doing so will also decrease the survival rate of any former eggs that have been laid.
Contacting American Pest is the best way to effectively get rid of fungus gnats and keep them from coming back. Since 1925 we have been serving the communities of Maryland with top-notch pest services.
Screens: As with any gnat, it is important to have good screens on your windows and doors, and to refrain from leaving doors open.
Store fruit: When you bring fruit home from the store, put it in the refrigerator instead of the counter or table.
Seal your trash: If you have an open trash, consider purchasing a can with a sealable cover, or remove the trash daily so that foods can't ferment.
Clean: Good sanitation is key for controlling a number of fly species.
When gnats, or any type of flies, appear in your home, it may be time to call a professional. Flies are food for spiders, and spiders are food for other pests.
A professional pest control company can help you deal with the problem at a systemic level and return your home to a pest-resistant state. For more information, or to schedule service, contact American Pest. We'll help you get those pests under control.