Controlling Houseplant Fruit Flies & Fungus Gnats NaturallyNovember 05, 2008
As a garden consultant, I hear this question a lot: What do I spray to get rid of the fruit flies in my house plants?
The first thing I try to determine is whether the pest is truly a fruit fly or is actually a fungus gnat. They’re both tiny and truly annoying. Fruit flies tend to invade our kitchens, particularly during harvest season and sometimes they move into our houseplant soil along the way. I’ve posted ways to use carniverous plants in your kitchen to control them, and some of my readers have shared their methods as well in this post.
If the problem does turn out to be an infestation of fungus gnats, the more likely culprit to live in houseplants, I steer people away from the pesticide aisle and suggest a few simple environmental and pesticide-free control options:
- Add a thin layer of pebbles or gravel to the top of the potting soil in your indoor plant containers. Fungus gnats lay eggs in the top layer of the soil and hatch from there. They can’t do this in pebbles.
- Clean your catch trays. Gunky catch trays can be egg-laying spots for fungus gnats.
- Insert sticky traps into your houseplants. These are inexpensive, pesticide free papers covered with a sticky material. As the gnats buzz above your plant, they are attracted to the yellow color and smack to the sticky surface never to fly again.
If you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with fungus gnats or fruit flies, know this: Sticky traps attract both pests and may solve the problem regardless!