How to get rid of fungus gnats with natural & household remedies
Fungus gnats are greatly feared among hobby gardeners. In this article, we will show you which homemade remedies are best suited for getting rid of fungus gnats.
In Europe alone, there are more than 600 known species of fungus gnats (Sciriadae). The small flies can infest ornamental plants and vegetables inside the house as well as outdoors. The larvae of the gnats often migrate in large numbers, forming processions of up to 10 m. If you struggle with fungus gnats in the house, using household remedies to combat the gnats might be worth a try. In the following, we will first explain how to recognise an infestation caused by the gnats. Afterwards, we will show you some natural ways to get rid of fungus gnats in houseplants.
How to recognise a fungus gnat infestation
Fungus gnats can grow to a size of between one and seven millimetres. Their bodies are thin and of a dark colour. The larvae, too, are slender with a white to grey body and a black head. The quickest way to recognise a fungus gnat infestation is seeing the small flies buzzing around a flower pot. They are especially noticeable if you move the pot or water the plants. When infested with fungus gnats, oftentimes the plants don’t grow well and remain rather small. You might also be able to spot the larvae in the potting soil, feeding on the roots of the plants. This can cause severe damage. The larvae can even hollow out the stems of the infested plants that way.
How to prevent gnats in plants with sand
Sand is great as a preventative treatment for fungus gnat infestations. You can apply a thin layer of fine sand onto the potting soil in order to prevent the female gnats from laying eggs. This method is very effective as fungus gnats require the surface of the soil to be wet to lay their eggs. Quartz sand is particularly well-suited for this method. However, you need to make sure not to get the sand wet when watering the plants. Try watering your plants through the underpot. This way, the sand remains dry and the fungus gnats won’t be able to lay their eggs.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with coffee grounds
Unfortunately, coffee grounds often end up in the trash even though they can be used in various ways even after you have enjoyed your hot beverage. They can, for example, help to get rid of gnats in houseplants or in the garden. Before applying the coffee grounds, you should dry them thoroughly to prevent mould from forming. You can then spread the dried coffee grounds onto the potting soil of the infested plants. A thin layer will keep the female gnats from laying their eggs. This way, you can disrupt the reproduction of the gnats. Additionally, the coffee can also act as a fertiliser for your plants.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with baking powder
Baking powder or baking soda is fairly cheap and most people probably have it in their kitchen anyway. The application is very easy. You simply sift some of the powder onto the surface of the soil, which you should then moisten a little bit. When that is done, you should just wait. The larvae will absorb the moist powder and will die as a result.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with tea tree oil
Using tea tree oil is another simple way of getting rid of fungus gnats. Many people use the essential oil for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects in skincare. In order to get rid of gnats in the garden or the house, you should combine 20 drops of tea tree oil with a litre of water and mix the solution thoroughly. You can then water the infested plants with the mixture. With this method, though, you can only get rid of the larvae in the soil. Therefore, you should use some adhesive traps to catch the adult gnats swarming around the plants.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with lavender oil
Lavender oil is not only calming and helps with insomnia but it is also a great way to get rid of fungus gnats naturally. The application and effects are similar to tea tree oil. You simply mix 20 drops of lavender oil with one litre of water and water the infested plants with the solution. If the oil does not mix well with the water, you can add a tablespoon of soapberry powder as an emulsifier.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with neem oil
Neem oil is another oil that is very effective against fungus gnats. It comes from a tropical tree of which many parts are being used for combating various insects. You only need 10 millilitres of neem oil per litre of water. Mix the two components thoroughly and water the infested plants with the mixture. Neem oil is not harmful for humans or pets and can therefore be used without hesitation.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with garlic
There are several ways of using garlic (Allium sativum) to fight fungus gnats. Garlic cloves contain the sulphurous substance allicin, which can kill fungus gnat larvae. You can either cut off the tip of a whole garlic bulb, which you will then stick into the potting soil. Or you can also peel the garlic and dice the cloves into small cubes. Then, you can simply spread the chopped garlic pieces onto the soil of the infested plants.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with parsley
You might find another method for fighting fungus gnats in your own kitchen or garden. You can take a bunch of parsley (Petroselinum crispum), chop it into small bits and spread it evenly onto the soil. Fungus gnats cannot stand some of the substances contained in parsley. They will therefore avoid your plants.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with nutmeg
Another household remedy against fungus gnats comes straight from your spice rack. The myristic acid contained in nutmeg can help get rid of fungus gnat larvae in the soil. You can simply scatter some nutmeg powder onto the substrate. The spice will penetrate the soil further when you water the plant and will help get rid of fungus gnat larvae.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with matches
Using matches is a particularly simple method of fighting fungus gnats and their larvae. Just burn some matches and stick them into the soil with the head of the match in the substrate. The heads of the matches contain sulphur, which helps get rid of the larvae. It also prevents the adult gnats from settling down in the soil.
How to get rid of fungus gnats with tights
It may be somewhat odd-looking, but using tights is a very effective method against fungus gnats. The goal is to prevent the female gnats from laying their eggs in the soil. You can simply pull the tights from the bottom over the flower pot and then tie a knot around the stem of the plant. This way, you can not only prevent the gnats from laying their eggs but the insects won’t be able to leave the pot to mate. However, for this method to be effective, you have to leave the tights on the flower pot for at least six weeks.