Insect Pest Control

Houseplant Gardening – Soil

ontarioshore added on February 21, 2018 | Answered

In the last few years I have purchased potting soil to use to transplant my houseplants, It seems that every time I end up with these teeny tiny black bugs flying around in my home. Can you explain why this happens? And recommend some potting soil please. Thanks, LA LaVanchard

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 21, 2018

These are called fungus gnats. These are extremely beneficial to the soil, and harmless to your plants. Unless you actively seek and destroy these, they will be in any soil you can get. The only reason they come out is if the soil is too wet. They are a good indicator that the plant has been over watered. Otherwise, they prefer to be under the soil, and out of sight. These eat decaying matter in the soil, and help keep your plants from getting infected as easily.

If you still choose to get rid of them, you will have to provide extra fungus control to replace what the gnats are doing. You can use wettable sulfur once every few months to help control fungal infections.

Now to control the fungus gnats, you can mix rosemary oil in water and water into the soil.

Personally, I would just get some fly paper sticky traps and put them near the plants, and water less. But some people find them quite annoying so I could understand wanting to get rid of them.

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