tiny flies in my plant dirt

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Pattycat, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Pattycat

    Pattycat Member

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    I am so frustrated I can't believe how much. I've been seeing these very tiny flies in my place for the longest time and I can't for the life of me get rid of them. I also do not know how they got in here but most likely in the dirt from the plants. Dah! They also seem to be getting into everything that has nothing to do with plants. I can be relaxing on my couch and all of a sudden one, if not more, fly right into my face. They also congregate at the windows sills as well as on anything that is white or at least bright. On this note I was advised to lay a white piece of paper with petroleum gel or something sticky, onto my kitchen counter. I did this for several weeks, moving the piece of paper to various areas to no avail. I was also advised to spray all the leaves with a mild soap and water which I did and again, to no avail. I’m wondering if I can actually spray the mild soap and water solution right into the plant dirt as I have seen these little #$%^&^’s in the dirt of most of my plants. I do not want to get rid of any of my plants as I’ve worked long and hard to keep them beautiful and green as they are, for now. Will spraying the soapy water into the dirt harm my plants? What are these little bug (gers)? Can anyone help as I think I’ll go nuts if I can’t get rid of them.
    Will these little bug (gers) ever leave now that they've found a home in my home?
    Frustrated in Cranbrook and thanks in advance for any help! Pattycat
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Sounds like fungus gnats. Search these forums and you'll find many similar complaints and suggestions on how to deal with them. The list of remedies includes altering one's watering routine, passive trapping, and spraying.
     
  3. Pattycat

    Pattycat Member

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    Thanks very much Junglekeeper and I have read the other posts however, I just skimmed through them so I may have missed vital info. Or just too darn bugged about this blasted flies.

    Pattycat [:o)]
     
  4. Weedbender

    Weedbender Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Pat, make yerself a fly trap. Get a jar and make a funnel. (can be paper or plastic) Cut your funnel so that when inverted into the jar, the end is about an inch from the bottom of the jar. Mix 1/4 cup apple vinegar, 1 table spoon sugar and add a few small pieces of apple or banana. Mix and pour in jar. Add water (if needed) until mixture is 1/2 1nch from the bottom of funnel. Leave jar set out. Flies will get in but can't get out. Take outside, remove funnel, flies fly away. Reinstall funnel, set out, trap flies, repeat. ;>)
     

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  5. Pattycat

    Pattycat Member

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    Hey that something I would never think of, thanks weedbender. I'll try this just as soon as I can get all the ingredients needed. When I try this I'll post my results.
    Thanks for your help.
    Pattycat [:o)]
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Weedbender, the ingredients of the bait suggests it is targetted more for fruit flies or house flies rather than fungus gnats. The use of decaying compose material may work better for the latter.
     
  7. Weedbender

    Weedbender Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    I'll wait for Pattycats report. I think this will work for fruit flys and fungus gnats.
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it won't work. Just wondering if it could be improved upon. I've used plain water with a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid in an ashtray and that works too. I'd like to know how well this one will work. Please do report back, Pattycat.
     
  9. Pattycat

    Pattycat Member

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    I'm back with some pretty good news I guess. Since I didn't have all the equipment or ingredients that Weedbender suggested I simply used water in a white or light colored dish. I added some sugar to one, some syrup to another, and just had water for the rest. (I have about 6 containers around.) The wee flies were in the sugared water right away and a few were in the other containers. Since it's been a few days since I put these containers around, the sugared water one has a ton of little beasts in it. I think it may depend on where the containers are placed. I stopped watering my plants so they can stop laying their eggs in the moist soil but I'm wondering how long I have to wait to water them again, I don't want my plants to die on me. I think I'll try the dishsoap one too that Junglekeeper suggested and I'll get back to you on that one in a bit. Thanks for all your help everyone and if someone could please let me know when I can water my plants again, I can still see some flies in the dirt so I'm going to assume I shouldn't water them yet but as I said, I don't want my plants to die, they're too nice. And these little blasted bug (gers) are now flying into my food and my face, into my nose for crying out loud and just thinking about it makes me sneeze! :-)
    Pattycat
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Traps and a modified watering regimen will control, not eradicate the pest. So water the plants according to their needs. If your environment can support them, sundews make for very effective traps. The fungus gnats keep them well fed and happy. They're much more interesting to look at than dishes of water and you don't have to change the water.

    To clarify, dishwashing liquid is added to the water to reduce the surface tension so that it will not support the weight of a fungus gnat; it is not the bait. Based on your observations I'll try adding a bit of sugar to my next trap. BTW, I've had more success using a bright yellow ashtray than one that's dark green.
     
  11. lidlekitty

    lidlekitty Member

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    Something you can do to keep the critters from breeding in your flower pots is to:

    put a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of sand on the top of the dirt in your pots. The babies that are in the dirt cannot climb through the sand to become adults thus ending the life cycle of the critters. Then you don't have to worry as much about your watering schedule.

    I hope this helps
     
  12. beginnerb

    beginnerb Member

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    I have also had some problems with fungus knats...so frustrating!

    Thank you for the recommendation of sand on the top. I was first told to replace the top inch or two of soil in my pots to get rid of the babies...but they were still coming back. So I am definitely now going to the sand method!
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    I keep the top layer fairly dry, and suspect they're breeding in the bottom of my pots, with the adults exiting via the drainage holes.

    Any suggestions to how to deal with this?
     
  14. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Just in the off-chance that these 'lil fly guys are NOT being soil originated, you might try the cure for DRAIN flies. (Tiny, tiny flies like you are speaking of, and able to re-locate throughout the house). Boil a couple of quarts of water on the stove. (Faucet water will never be hot enough). When the water is at a rolling boil, carefully remove from the stove and in one continuous motion ,pour it down the drain. Particularly with disposal sinks, fungus is generated in the disposal chamber, and that attracts the 'drain flies'. The boiling water will completely fill the chamber and cook those rascals. This is a Univ. of Florida rec. for these guys. It does work.
     
  15. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    You can all shoot me for being pedantic but PLEASE call it soil NOT dirt. Its a lesson I learned years ago from a gardener/ horticulturist (sp) when I happened to mention to him "Good dirt you have here.. ..What???? came the reply....good dirt this.... followed by a frown and a reprimand "this is not dirt but good soil...dirt is what you sweep out of the house, soil is what plants grow in"..... My father

    Re the flies could they be Drosophila. I get a lot in my compost bin.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosophila

    Liz
     
  16. LindaS56

    LindaS56 Member

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    I've found that yellow sticky flags work well. Apparently they are attracted to bright yellow and get stuck.

    Earlier this year all of my container plants in my greenhouse had fungus gnats. To save money I made my own sticky traps. I purchased bright yellow plastic plates from a party store, bamboo skewers and Tanglefoot - a clear gel similiar to petroleum jelly, but stickier. I cut the plates into 1 x 3 inch strips, taped them to a skewer, then coated them on both sides with Tanglefoot. I stuck one or two in each pot, placing the yellow strip an inch or so above the soil. As the traps filled up with gnats, I replaced them with clean ones. Within two weeks, nearly all were gone.
     
  17. Bugged2death

    Bugged2death Member

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    No one has mentioned to replace the soil as a solution. Has anyone tried replacing the soil and is this effective?

    I will try the soap/sugar solution in dishes to see if this catches them. I use this for red ants in the summer and it is AMAZING! I keep a dish soap container full of about 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup dish soap, and the rest water. I fill small lids ( like kraft peanut butter) with the solution and the ants climb right in, not being able to get out. Very effective, hope it works for these flies.
     
  18. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    replacing the top layer of the soil is something that will help - you'll pull up any eggs that haven't hatched yet. you still need to eliminate the adults, though, so they don't lay more eggs.
     
  19. Bugged2death

    Bugged2death Member

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    If you add a wee bit of dish soap to this recipe, the flies will drown instead.
     
  20. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    I hang a Vapona pest strip (available at my local Home Hardware) until they are gone and the next generation has gone. Dead flies don't breed. The propaganda says its OK for kitchens, but use your own judgement.
    Carl
     
  21. 4ager

    4ager Member

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    Sorry for the very late reply or re-opening this topic.
    Have you tried sprinkling cinnamon on the dirt or using cooled chamomile or peppermint tea to spray the dirt? I have the same problem and the vinegar traps are useless. I have made many variations of the vinegar and soap traps for months, but to no avail.
    Cinnamon & cooled chamomile or peppermint tea! I haven't seen a fly since sprinkling the cinnamon and it was almost instantaneous. I will water with the tea to ensure all eggs are destroyed.
    Report back on this if you have tried cinnamon and tea.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  22. ejnxyz

    ejnxyz New Member

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    I agree this little pests are very annoying. It's WAR! I'm going to see if the commercial wasp catches will work, if not build then funnels it is, and the fly tape too. But before seeing this thread I had alredy gone to an old tried and true approach which might be just the ticket.

    I've used Beneficial Nematodes for years to control fleas and outdoor soil pests. The Hydro farmers are using them now for indoor pest management as well. (Thank you commercial Marajuana growers) I bought some Beneficial Nematodes through a reputable firm on the Internet specifically targetting these pests. They were delivered live, overnight mail, and after diluting these microsopic worms in water you simply pour them into the dirt and keep the plants moist. These babies eat everything in the soil!

    I'll let you know if it works!

    As a side note - my sister tried repotting her plants and it didn't work. Then she resorted to "some rather nasty" chemicals which were also ineffective.
     

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