Flies in Plants? It’s a Fungus Gnat

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Fungus gnats, are small, mosquito-like insects often found in homes and offices, usually in the vicinity of houseplants. They are considered a nuisance when present in noticeable numbers, but the adults are harmless insects that do not bite.Fungus gnat larvae develop in the growing medium of houseplants and are considered minor pests of houseplants.

Adults are 1/8-inch long, delicate, black flies with long legs and antennae. There is a distinct "Y-shaped" pattern on the forewings. The larvae are wormlike and translucent, with a black head capsule, and live in the growing medium of houseplants.

How to get rid of fungus gnats:

The most important strategy to minimize fungus gnat problems associated with houseplants is to allow the growing medium to dry between watering, especially the top 1 to 2 inches. The dry growing medium will decrease survival of any eggs laid and/or larvae that hatch from the eggs as well as reduce the attractiveness of the growing medium to egg-laying adult females. In addition, it is recommended to re-pot every so often, particularly when the growing medium has "broken down" and is retaining too much moisture. Furthermore, be sure to remove any containers with an abundance of decaying plant matter such as decayed bulbs and roots, which provide an excellent food source for fungus gnat larvae.

An effective means of detecting the presence of fungus gnat larvae is to insert 1/4-inch slices or wedges of potato into the growing medium. Larvae will migrate to the potato and start feeding within a few days. The potato slices should be turned over to look for larvae present on the underside.

If your office or home are experiencing a pest problem, contact your Colonie pest professional to remedy your pest problem. Over the counter products are risky, if instructions are not followed properly they can harm you, your family, co-workers, pets and/or plants. Pests are common in the Capital Region, but if they become a nuisance, your Albany pest professional can help! Begin by contacting us for a no charge consultation today!


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