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Fungus Gnats

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by barleychown on January 09, 2004 06:01 AM
Are there and non-chemical ways to treat plants for fungus gnats? [dunno]

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We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.
by Jiffymouse on January 09, 2004 05:07 PM
barley, i remember a discussion about it before, something about putting rocks on top of your potting soil to keep them from being able to land in the soil to lay their eggs. do a forum search and see what you come up with.
by Phil and Laura on January 10, 2004 01:34 AM
Water Less Often [grin]
by catlover on January 10, 2004 02:15 AM
Ohhhhh those things are a pain in the b*tt! I had to use Diazanon (sp?) powder rubbed into the first inch of soil for several weeks to get rid of them....not good around animals though! After that process I watered less (now ya tell me Phil [Big Grin] )and put pea sized rocks on top! [thumb]
It started from some soil I had purchased....cheap brand! I'll never do that again. Went from plant to plant....and I have bunches of plants! Finally got rid of the problem....I was about ready to chuck every plant I had!!!! Those little things usually stick around the plants and die but some of the pots were in my garden window above the sink.Ewwwwwe! Put them all outside and powdered away!

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by Will Creed on January 10, 2004 04:27 AM
Adult fungus gnats fly around and are an annoyance, but they are not harmful to people. Each gnat lives for about 5 days. The trick is to get rid of the next generation - the gnat larvae that live in the top layer of the soil. The larvae feed on decaying organic matter. Decaying pine bark in potting mixes and decaying plants roots feed the larvae. Try to keep the soil as dry as possible. Remove all loose soil from the surface and put a light layer of coarse coir (coconut husk) or sand or diatomaceous earth on the soil surface. These substances have sharp edges that carve up the larvae. (Recent studies indicate that fine-textured peat moss also deters gnat larvae.)

Another safe technique is to place inch slices of raw potato on the surface of the soil. After a day or so, discard the slices along with the larvae inside. Repeat this until there are no more larvae in the potato.

For more serious infestations try Knock-Out Gnats to treat fungus gnats available from Gardens Alive for about $20. See http://www.gardensalive.com/item_display.asp?ProductNumber=1962.

Detection trick: Add a little water to the soil and then look very closely for tiny fungus gnat larvae swimming in the water as it pools on the surface. You need good light and good eyes to see them. If you don't, then your plant is probably gnat free.

Prevention is often the best remedy. Use sterile potting mixes that are free of bark chips. The potting mix should have ample drainage material, such as perlite so that it drains well and allows the soil to dry out frequently. Fungus gnats can nearly always be traced back to overwatering and/or poor soil quality.
by catlover on January 10, 2004 05:15 AM
Will.... is that diatomaceous earth bad for animals if they inhale/ingest it? For birds/cats/dogs???

And while I have you here same question concerning vermiculite on animals inhaling/ingesting?
[kitty]

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by lizheaemma on January 10, 2004 05:24 AM
Vermiculite I'm not to sure about, not something I would want to eat!
But I'm not up on it's toxicology?

diatomaceous earth is food grade and is used in grain, it's a dehydrator so it sucks the moisture out or insect and kills them! It's used on dogs as a flea powder! I don't think that I'd want to inhale it as anything inhaled into lungs is bad expecially something that sucks up moisture!
Hope that is of help untill Will returns!
by catlover on January 10, 2004 05:57 AM
So if it's not good for us to inhale....do you put the dog in a gas mask?

My cats like to dig and SOMETIMES if a houseplant happens to be the pick of the day.... [scaredy]

I know this diamtom. stuff has been recommended for solving snail problems but people have dogs and cats running outside... they would step right in the stuff! And if it's on their paws it is going to be licked up! [dunno]

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by lizheaemma on January 10, 2004 03:37 PM
here's a link to diatomaceous earth

More info
by Will Creed on January 11, 2004 04:29 AM
I suggest that you check with a vet. That is more of an animal than plant question.

Will

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