By the time you notice the tiny dark gray or black gnats buzzing round, one generation of these common plant pests has already infested the soil of your herb garden.
To find a natural cure for soil gnats in herb gardens you should understand the life cycle of the fungus (soil) gnat or Sciaridae.
The eight-inch long gnat you see is the mature adult and it is in the process of laying approximately 300 eggs on the moist soil surface of your garden for a new generation.
These gnats prefer to lay their eggs on damp soil which is rich in organic matter. During the winter, when overwatering is more common, the soil gnats may become a problem.
The entire life cycle of this garden pest is about four weeks in duration from egg to mature adult. The mature fungus gnat will not harm the herbs in your garden, but the larvae will. From four to six days after the eggs are laid, they hatch.
The fungus gnat larvae are white and about a quarter-inch in length with a black head.
Fungus gnat larvae burrow into the moist soil and feed upon the root system of the herb plants. Adult soil gnats live for only about ten days.
One natural cure for soil gnats in herb gardens is to first rid the soil of the infestation of eggs and larvae. Horticulturists agree that you should allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings.
Dry soil will cause the larvae to dry up. The soil should be dry for up to three inches in depth. Water only until the water comes out through the drainage hole in the bottom of the planter.
Remember that seedlings require smaller amounts of water than mature herb plants and may require watering only once a week during the winter months.
For severe infestations, the herb garden plants may need to be repotted in new soil. The old soil should be discarded. Another natural cure for soil gnats in herb gardens is to fool the gnats into believing the soil is not moist.
Do this by applying about a quarter-inch of sand to the soil surface and then covering the sand with cedar chips. The sand will dry quickly and cedar is a natural insect repellent.
Trap the mature gnats by hanging a sheet of yellow paper that has been coated with petroleum jelly close by the affected herb plant. The yellow paper attracts insects and the petroleum jelly makes them stick to the paper. This coated paper operates much like the flypaper strips you can purchase in hardware stores.
Another method is to place vegetable oil and cider vinegar in a plastic container or jar with the lid perforated with holes. The gnats will find a way to get to the cider vinegar and be trapped by the vegetable oil which floats on the surface.
Even if the gnat finds a way to get out of the jar, it will not be able to reproduce. You can prevent soil gnat infestations in your herb garden by these methods.
Before you try any sort of fruit fly trap or other recommended removal methods, it is highly recommended that you treat the source of the problem otherwise you will just send up fighting a losing battle.
By being proactive in your approach, this will ensure that another infestation will not raise its ugly head after you successfully get rid of the first one.
Let’s have a look at a failsafe, 3 step process that you can follow from the comfort of your own home and that is guaranteed to work:
The First Step: Take out your trash regularly and always try to keep the lid on your bin. Additionally, try your best to keep the bin away from your home, especially if you have discarded old food or other rotten items.
Other obvious steps would be to throw away any old food lying around your kitchen as they will be targets for fruit flies. This is extremely important as you will never actually get rid of fruit flies effectively if you leave them a source of food or nesting place so please ensure that this is not properly and thoroughly before you move on.
The Second Step: Pour bleach down your drain pipes. This will kill off the larvae and make sure that another wave of fruit flies do not come buzzing out to infest your home again. This is an important step so make sure that you do this.
Any bleach will be fine, just make sure that you treat all your drain pipes, even those that are located outside of your home. It has been found that normal household cleaning bleach works very well so you don’t need to go and purchase anything expensive.
Also, make sure to dilute the mixture with a little bit of water, this will make it last longer and allow you to cover a larger area.
The Third Step: Build yourself a decent fruit fly trap. There are many guides on how to do this, some of them offer fairly humane methods of removal while others focus on just getting rid of them, regardless of the process involved.
But, trapping fruit flies and releasing them away from the house can often result in them finding their way back, only to infest your living area once again.
Also, considering the rate in which they reproduce, killing a few hundred of them really isn’t going to hurt their overall population. Basically, putting vinegar in a glass attracts the fruit flies and then the plastic covering prevents them from escaping. Many homeowners have used this method and found it to be very effective, albeit temporarily
Alternatively, you can always purchase a couple but it’s a bit of a waste of money, considering that each fruit fly trap will take you about 5 minutes to build. These little traps are very effective in getting rid of fruit flies in your home.
The house fly and ant are probably the two insects that never seem to have diminishing populations. You are likely to see them everywhere you go. Haven’t you always wondered how long a housefly lives and whether it has an interesting life before a fly swatter dispatches it to the afterlife?Or whether they die of natural causes? So to help us answer that question, we have mapped out the natural life cycle of the housefly.
Where does the life of a house fly begin?
To know the end, we must start at the very beginning. A female house has the ability to lay more than 150 eggs at a go. The eggs look like single grains of rice. Over the course of several days she will lay from five to six batches of eggs. The preferred egg laying sites by female houseflies are dark, smelly surfaces such as manure, compost and other decomposing organic material.
The egg mark the beginning of life for a housefly. Amazingly after the eggs have been laid, the gestation period of the eggs is a mere 24 hours after which they will hatch into legless maggots. The hatched eggs will then feed from the same laying site for a period of 4 to 5 days within which they molt several times. This feeding serves to stock on protein in preparation for the coming metamorphosis. They then seek a dark place to pupate.
The pupal stage will then take 3 to six days after which, lo and behold! a full grown fly will emerge with fully formed wings, legs and body. The pupal stage of a fly is often compared tothe butterfly’s cocoon stage. The brown hard shell serves to protect the inactive maggot as it metamorphoses into a fully formed housefly.
What is astonishing is the fact, within days of emerging from the pupalstage, the female houseflies are able to reproduce. They can lay up to a thousand eggs in their short life time. And then the cycle begins all over again. I guess that in a sense explains why there is never a shortage of house flies at any given time.
With that life cycle in mind, the life span of a housefly is somewhere in the range of 15-30 days depending on conditions such as temperatures and weather. Out in the wild, houseflies are more susceptible to danger and harsh conditions such as unforgiving heat and extreme cold, both of which can limit their lifespan. Incontrolled environments such as a laboratory, house flies can live much longer.
Although the housefly is short-lived, it is capable of horrendous trouble within the short time that it is alive. Houseflies are known carriers of pathogens and diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis. They carry germs on both their mouths and feet. If you notice an infestation in your area, its best to find some experts on houseflies and pest to help get rid of them completely.
During the summer, flying insects indoors can be a nightmare. Keeping them out can seem impossible, however, without closing all your windows and doors and suffering interminable heat.
These are some tips for keeping flies out of your home or business, without the need for expensive fly traps or noisy fly killers:
The Water Method
Fill a clear plastic bag of water and hang it over the doorway or window. The idea is that as light refracts through the bag, it creates a large reflection of the fly. The fly, seeing a huge creature in its way, won’t go through the opening.
Putting a penny in the bag of water is also meant to be effective. The theory goes that the fly sees the bag and penny as much like a spider and its web, and so is scared away. Putting tin foil in the bag is also said to work.
Bubble wrap is said to be an alternative to this method, as it has the same effect on the fly’s vision. You see variations on this method in houses and businesses all over the world so it must work.
The Basil Method
Put a pot of sweet basil near your door, it’s a natural fly repellent and can also be used in cooking so it’s useful too. Lavender is also meant to repel flies, and it smells great.
If you find that flies congregate on your windowsills, put a glass of water containing a few drops of dishwashing soap on them.
The flies will be attracted to the water and then get stuck. It doesn’t stop the flies coming in, but it’s a good way to make sure you don’t have dead ones lying all around the window frames.
Sticky tape is also great for catching flying insects although it can be unsightly. Hanging it right next to windows and doors will make sure that the flies don’t get very far.
Install An Air Door
Air doors are installed above doorways and work by pushing a curtain of air out of the room. Flies won’t be able to enter, and what’s more, it’s great air conditioning on a hot day. They can be quite costly however and are more appropriate for business premises.
Beaded flyscreens are highly effective at keeping flies outside, and they’re decorative too. You can also get screens for your windows so every entrance is protected. Chain screens perform the same function and are widely used by butchers and other business establishments.
Remember, you might actually be inviting flies into your home without realizing it.
Make sure that you clean up all pet mess from your outside areas, empty your bins regularly and don’t leave food lying around on counters or surfaces.
Don’t have standing water near your entryways, such as a water butt. All of these things are great attractors of flies and other pests.
Also, make sure to turn off unnecessary lights as light attracts flying insects. If you keep a clean home with nothing for pests to feed on, you should find that you have less of a problem.
The common misconception among many people is that a fly lives for only 24 hours. But the truth is that the average lifespan of a fly is roughly 28 days. But then again there are many species of flies and each of them has a different life span. For example, the fruit fly lifespan is between 40 and 50 days, black flies live for 21 days, cluster flies live for 27 to 40 days, crane flies have a lifespan of 15 days and sand flies live up to three months. Clearly flies have a longer life span that a majority of us assume.
All type of flies love warm and moist environments with plenty of moist food to provide nourishment for the larvae. Fleas are the most common species of insects in the world. They occur everywhere in all types of climates. Most flies are filthy, disease carrying insects that love decaying organic matter, fecal matter and blood. To combat any type of fly infestation it is crucial to keep your environment sanitary. They can spread diseases like dysentery, cholera, and typhoid and cause food poisoning.
How to get rid of flies
First you need to identify the cause of the infestation. It could be unsanitary conditions in your environment, an animal carcass in the vicinity, dirty dishes or toilet. Once the area of infestation is identified you can go ahead to remove it. A thorough inspection of the area is required but this should be done by a professional who can spot breeding areas that you can’t.
Fix the structural issues that allow flies to enter your home uninhibited. For example, a broken window, damaged weather stripping and screen doors. It is recommended that these be taken care of before fighting the infestation to prevent the flies the issue once and for all.
Now go ahead and eliminate the adults by using insecticide. You can also use traps and fly bait as well to get rid of the flies. The larvae can be killed by pouring boiling water over the breeding area.
Signs of a fly infestation
You can see the larvae as they crawl about. Outdoors the larvae will be on the leaves, the garbage can, fence, and even the ground. Indoors they are in the corners, ceiling and walls where the adult flies tend to rest all day and breed there.
The female fly lays five to six batches of 100 eggs which hatch in 12 to 24 hours. Within no time you will begin to notice flies in your compound, garbage can, on the kitchen counter and the generally everywhere. Flies are indiscriminate in where they take refuge in your house. They will even hover on your dinner table as you eat. However, keep in mind that these flies are most active during the day at the most humid and warm times of the day.
Some people use safe home spray to kill the flies in their homes but that cannot deter an full on infestation as it only takes care of single flies at time.
If you have fruit flies in your drain, it’s probably because there are food particles stuck to the sides of it. The more flies you see means the possibility of more fly eggs around.
This is a favorite place for fruit flies to breed, but why?
When people start seeing fruit flies in their homes, the quickly get rid of any aging fruit around and give their kitchen a thorough cleaning. But because the inside of your sink in hard to see, it usually gets missed.
The fruit flies love this spot for this reason, as they can keep breeding there over and over again, without having to find a new spot.
Each time a female fruit fly lays her eggs, she can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. Within a few hours, these eggs will turn into larva, and then eventually, adult flies. And this is how a fruit fly infestation begins.
So, what do you do about it?
Something as simple as pouring hot water down your drain, a few times a day, will prevent the eggs from transitioning.
And, each time you do this, you will be washing more and more of the sludge away that has been accumulating in your drain. Eventually, all the food particles will be gone, and there will be nothing left for the fruit flies to breed on.
They travel up to 6 -1/2 miles in a 24 hour period with the keen ability to smell food from great distances while swarming towards moisture and fermentation of about any kind. You won’t get rid of them by brushing them out of the house.
Here is the problem with flies:
- They lay eggs everywhere invisible to the naked eye.
- They reproduce in masses in an extremely short amount of time.
- They hatch almost instantly.
And yes, they can make you really sick. It is important to get rid of the foods that they have infected. The cases of sickness from fruit flies have been severe but not life-threatening cases have happened as far as we know.
Fruit flies breed bacteria. Any food item that’s left out long enough will become quickly infected. If you are having a dinner party outside for instance and you leave out a bowl of chips for a couple of hours, these chips can easily become infected with bacteria and who knows what else.
Finally, you will need to trap and kill the adult flies quickly, before they keep reproducing.
Once you have done this, you can move on to the other places fruit flies can breed, and make sure you have gotten them all.
Here are the simple things you can do to avoid fruit flies:
- Keep all foods covered at all times.
- Keep windows sealed when food is out.
- Discard Foods that are just beginning to spoil.
- Do not eat foods where fruit flies have landed.
Clean out anything that attracts moisture such as sinks, juice containers, trash cans, etc.
They look for anything moist including foods that shows potential signs of fermentation. It is important to keep foods covered as much as possible.
Sealing windows and doors is recommended too though this will likely not be enough to get rid of these pests.
Cluster flies are usually outdoor flies, however, if the weather becomes much cooler, in late autumn and winter, for example, they’ll often choose to transfer inside, at times in their thousands, and may be found hibernating in structures or attics. This is the reason they are generally called “attic flies”.
They look very similar to the regular housefly though they are somewhat more substantial in proportions and will be identified by bodily markings like the yellowy golden-colored hairs around the thorax and also the different shades of grey throughout the abdomen.
In addition, they move more lethargically than the common housefly. They give preference to inaccessible places such as within the walls, inside cracks and cavities near to the ceiling or close to windows, or in basements, lofts or any other rooms that are not used very often.
When the weather warms up a little, they may start flying around and anyone who has ever experienced an invasion will tell you this isn’t an enjoyable experience. Though they are often associated with bad hygiene in a certain place, they tend not to carry around diseases and therefore tend not to signify a danger to people.
This is particularly since they will not lay their eggs within the food of human beings. Rather they much choose to turn their curiosity to earthworms and look to lay their eggs near their burrows.
They will likely either do that in soil or on leaves which are decaying. When their eggs have finally hatched, their larvae will appear to locate earthworms and will look to prey on them so as to obtain their nutrients through the body of the earthworm.
This leads to a lot of damage to the earthworm and will finally kill them. When their larvae have grown into a full-grown adult, they will depart the earthworm as they are now fully able to support themselves.
Nonetheless, while they won’t cause any real inconvenience to people they can still be a great pain to us whenever they happen to be in our environment. Houses and structures that are in the country can be more vulnerable to luring them due to the fact that there are fewer places for the adult flies to find shelter.
You’re also going to find them in structures that are situated in close proximity to where earthworms are present, for instance, areas of turf or grass, gardens.
Houseflies will spend the daylight hours resting inside if possible; however, they will also rest outside if they cannot find a building that they can access. You are likely to find them hanging on ceilings and walls, and on dangling light cords and cables.
Outside, they can be found on plants, bins, edges of buildings and plants. They prefer to be on corners or curved edges so that they can take advantage of their wide peripheral vision.
To control any infestations, cleaning and removing all potential breeding areas is fundamental.
Regular removal and covering household waste is the most obvious of all of the breeding grounds, as it is something that you have control over.
Cleaning away all spillages of meat, vegetables or pet food will also provide less opportunity for flies to breed. Further to this, refrain from putting meat or manure on compost heaps as this would make them perfect breeding grounds.
Fruit flies are harmless but they are nuisance. That may in fact be their only crime but that dooms them to death. It may sound callous and cold but if you have experienced the irritation of these little flies your empathy may be short lived.
They breed and live in the garbage cans, damp rags and mops and can even be found in drains. They are yellow in color with distinct red eyes. These flies lay their eggs near the surface of food that is fermenting. They love ripened fruits and moist vegetables so you will find them mostly in your kitchen. Fruit flies reproduce quickly and can soon become a full on infestation if not dealt with. Each female fruit fly lays hundreds of eggs on your fruit and other surfaces.
Seeing fruit flies in your bathroom, bedroom and even living room should not come as a surprise. Anywhere they find a damp, conducive environment for reproducing fruit flies will indiscriminately breed.
The Fruit Fly Trap
A fruit fly trap is the ultimate solution to getting rid of these pesky bugs. It traps the flies preventing them from flying and eventually they die in the trap. You can buy fruit fly traps from Amazon and the local pesticide store but before going commercial try out these home-made traps and save some money. Keep in mind that commercial fruit fly traps use the same ingredients you will use in your home-made trap.
Old farmer almanac trap
Boil a half a glass of milk with a half cup of sugar and quarter cup of raw pepper. The combination gives off a semi fermented scent that will attract fruit flies to it. Let the mixture cool and pour into a bowl. The fruit flies will settle into it for a drink but the strong scent and flavor of pepper will choke them to death.
White vinegar trap
Vinegar attracts fruit flies because of its fermentation. They can’t resist the scent of naturally acidic smell of broken down material. The little flies will fly right into a jar of open vinegar and drown s they ry to consume it.
Pour a quarter cup full of vinegar in a jar and cover with clear plastic wrap. Poke a few holes into the plastic cover to let the scent waft out. Then poke another larger hole on the wrap that the flies will enter through to get to the vinegar.
As the flies start to flock to the vinegar, add some dish washing soap to the vinegar that will keep the flies stuck to the solution. They will dip into the vinegar for a drink but won’t be able to leave eventually dying inside the jar.
Apple cider vinegar trap
Apple cider vinegar has two favorite components of a fruit fly meal: the scent of fruit and the scent of acidity. You can follow the same process as the white vinegar solution above just interchange the white vinegar for apple cider. You may find apple cider to be even more effective than white vinegar.
Fruit peel jar
Fruit flies love fruits right? Then give them some in vary controlled environment one which they cannot leave once they fly in. A, jar or plastic container will work. So put the peels in the jar and close the hole using a plastic wrap with holes poked into it and a small opening. The flies will enter and never leave.
The gnat closely resembles a mosquito and loves to travel in groups. There is nothing they love more than moisture which is the primary reason you would have a full-on gnat attack. But my house is as dry as the Arizona deserts or so you may think. But do you have moist potting soil, leaky pipes in your yard, under the sink or in the bathroom?
What about water puddles outside your house, moist garbage cans, and even overwatered gardens? Even the condensation around the vents in your house can attract and become breeding grounds for gnats.
Remove the moisture
Like mosquitoes these little insects love damp environments that are within and around the house. They can bite and can be pesky but most importantly, if you have an infestation of eye gnats you and your pets or livestock are at risk of conjunctivitis.
Keeping the environment around the home dry and airy discourages the breeding of these little terrors. Try not to over water the plants and keep potted plants with moist soil outside. Within the home keep all areas dry and have no puddles in the bathroom. Make sure you call the plumber to fix leaky pipes that will attract gnats.
This is an age old way of getting rid of gnats. Place the candle in a bowl of clear water and light it up. Switch off the electricity in the rest of the house and let the candle burn as the only source of light. The burning flame will kill the gnats and the water in the bowl will drown off those that fall into it.
Have a bottle of cider vinegar and an infestation of gnats? That is your solution right there! Add two table spoons of cider vinegar into seven drops of dish washing soap and quarter cup of lukewarm water. Mix this and then a teaspoon of sugar into the mixture. Stir it until everything dissolves and place this honey trap close to the gnat traffic. They will be attracted by the scent of sugar but the dish washing soap will make it impossible for them to fly.
Sticky fly paper
This option never fails. It is not only effective in trapping but it also traps a lot of the gnats. Remember when we said gnats love to travel in groups. Apparently, they also die in groups. Hang the paper where the infestation is most prevalent and wait. It is only a matter of time before they are attracted to the bright adhesive on the paper and soon enough they get stuck on it in hordes.
Window fly traps work best and are highly recommended. The clear plastic sheets resemble clear water which makes them attract gnats in droves. When stuck to the window pane they are discreet and no one can even tell they are working until you check.
Gnats are not typically associated with human diseases except the eye gnat mentioned above. But they are biters and can make life very uncomfortable. So choose any of the above ways to get rid of them and go back to enjoying your space like before.
The Fungus Gnat is a garden pest that can become a real headache. This usually happens when the adult gnats materialize in large numbers from indoor potted plants containing wet soil loaded with hummus. They are attracted to light so they are often seen around windows.
The larvae of the gnats feed in soil that contains high amounts of organic matter. They harm the root system of many bedding plants including poinsettias, carnations, and African violets.
The fungus gnat will also attach themselves to foliage plants. Some Indications your plant may have an infestation are foliage loss, yellowing, and sudden wilting.
Gnats are harmless to humans and animals and they thrive in dead plant materials and fungi. If you suspect these insects are invading your plant, take a specimen to a local garden center for accurate identification.
It is quite difficult to exterminate gnats, so learning a few tips from professionals will certainly help. These are some of a few:
- Prioritize prevention techniques so you are able to nip the fungus gnats in the bud and avert massive infestation. Remember that the larvae flourish on damp soil, organic debris, and decayed leaves. Thus, allow the topsoil to dry up between watering schedules. Remove the rotten flowers and leaves frequently. It is also advisable to put in fresh soil on a regular basis.
- Another option is to wipe out fungus gnats that have developed. You can make use of the yellow adhesive paper which can be purchased in supermarkets, home improvement shops, and online retailers.
- You can also use the common predatory bug called the Hypoaspis which can deal with fungus gnats at an early stage and keep in check said pests. These are natural and easy on the pocket. The application procedure is fairly simple. All you need to do is water the surface of infected plants gently. Put in five milliliters for every 15 centimeters in a pot where the mites are. Apply this solution on the surface of the soil. See to it that the soil is soggy so the eggs will be hatched in one week and hunt for the fungus gnats.
- Re-pot the houseplant but be sure to bring it out of the house and take away the fertilizer. Wash the plant thoroughly and put in the fresh manure that has not been infested by the gnats.
Some helpful tips:
Use only sterile potting soil for your potted plants. Remember the fungus gnat loves overly wet soil. They require it to begin their lives.
So, you must not overwater your plants, and be sure any pot you use has good drainage. If your home already has an infestation problem, you may want to invest in an electrocution-light. Gnats will be attracted to the light and killed upon contact.
You can also turn to sticky traps to win the war against the gnats. These traps are hungover plants and cause the insects to stick to the card like glue.
Sticky traps while useful for the adults, fall short of helping get rid of the larvae. In order to deal with the larvae, you may need to turn to a pest control company for help.