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Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
#380556 Feb 14th, 2014 at 11:38 AM
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DaisyM Offline OP
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I mentioned this on another forum, and followed the suggestions, but guys I'm at my wit's end, trying to destroy these things. Now I'm thinking I may have to throw all my plants outside and it's like 30 below so that will be the end of everything.
I've swatted them, I've let the soil dry out, I've tried the cider vinegar, wine, and soap solution, I have tried watering my plant soil with an ivory solution. I have double insured that no fruit or food is out that may be feeding them. I have tried the boiling water in the drains. I have tried cupping my drain pipes, and recently tried again putting out a bowl of just cider vinegar and soap solution. Well this time, there are some drowned in the solution, but it seems like the population of these flies have doubled in the last couple of days, or is it just co incidental? They seem to be in my potted plant soil? I changed the soil but I guess there were enough of them out of the pot, and on the loose which returned to infest my new soil. How about wrapping in saran, just the upper soil part of the pot, will that kill my plants creating too much moisture? My plants still look healthy other than the geranium cuttings but there is evidence there are a few flies in the other pots as well. I guess at this point I am running out of options, but so help me if I find another one of these things floating in my tea, I'll scream? If it were only summer, then perhaps it would be a lot easier to eradicate them with a spray or something, not to mention throwing the whole lot outside.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380621 Feb 18th, 2014 at 10:10 AM
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I may have found my problem. I was doing internet searches on fruit flies, gnats, and came upon an article on fungus gnats coming into the home through store bought bags of potting soil Well, I ran downstairs and checked the bag of potting soil I had bought in the fall. Figured I would keep it in a warm place, so come tomato planting time, I would have the soil ready. Well, surprise! I turned the bag over and there was tons of baby gnat flies crawling over it. I immediately threw the soil bags in larger bags and out the door. It has been close to minus 30 around here, but it's warmed up the last couple of days. I'm pretty sure the cold temps will kill the adult flies but not sure about any larvae that might be still lingering in the soil. Both bags were never opened but had a pencil size hole poked in them, possibly from carrying or transporting. Throwing the bags outside has brought the fly population in the house down by 85% with a few still flying upstairs. I only seen 2 today.

I still have the cider vinegar out as Tina suggested. There's about 8-10 of them drowned in that.

So a word of caution for everyone. Make sure your soil is well sterilized before you bring it into house, or you could end up with a similar problem. The soil I bought was formulated to keep in the moisture and for all I know may have been outside soil and not indoor soil?

Thank you all for all the help and advice you have given, it all helped in some ways.

Last edited by DaisyM; Feb 18th, 2014 at 10:13 AM.
Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380622 Feb 18th, 2014 at 10:26 AM
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Very good, Daisy. If you can get some food grade diatomaceous earth, you can mix about a tablespoon per gallon in with that soil and not have a continuous pest problem. Even if there are eggs weathering in the soil waiting for a warm up. It will not harm plants, pets, kids or you to handle it. But it does a job on bugs and insects and spiders, etc. I have surrounded my house with a moat of it and am battling much less insect invasion. And it still works even when it gets wet.


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380626 Feb 18th, 2014 at 11:30 AM
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Thanks Tina, I've heard of this Diatomaceous earth mentioned briefly before. Can it be bought at a regular store with a garden centre (Home Depot, Wal-mart or CT) or does one have to go to a special Nursery or greenhouse to buy it?

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380627 Feb 18th, 2014 at 11:52 AM
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I cannot find food grade DE around here, much. But I haven't looked too hard. I can find it in pool sections of stores because it is used in filters. But pool stuff has other chemicals added that bump it from food grade to not so good to use around pets and kids and things. (Not too bad in a protected area outside though).
You may find it in a health food store. I would call around and ask. I ordered mine off of Amazon and the shipping costs were almost as much as the DE itself. DE is also good for human use. It is used mixed in with all kinds of grains to keep them from getting buggy. So you probably already eat some pretty regularly. I sprinkle it on my dog's food as well, once in a while.
Food grade is used a lot in pet feeds so you may be able to find it at a feed store.


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380650 Feb 20th, 2014 at 02:03 AM
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Thanks I will look it up and see where I can locate some.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380736 Feb 26th, 2014 at 01:26 AM
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The garden centre's hardly have anything in them at this time. Maybe come spring they will have more variety of stuff.


Update! yeah, no more fruitflies/gnats jumping in my tea. I'm so greatful. No flies seen at all for a couple of days now, so hopefully that will be the end of it. Soon I will have to start my tomto seedlings and will have to bring in the soil from the outside and unthaw it. Hope there is no live larvae in that soil? I do not want to put the soil in the oven and heat it, I did that once years ago and it stunk up my whole house.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380757 Feb 27th, 2014 at 10:27 AM
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Tina, doesn't the rain wash away the DE? I used it year before last for bugs in the garden and it didn't work well. Squash bugs eat it and keep on going.

Daisy, are you using bagged soil to start your seedlings?

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380759 Feb 27th, 2014 at 11:50 AM
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Rain can wash away DE. But it doesn't lose potency like boric acid does. It also doesn't kill by ingestion. It kills by getting on them and scratching up the ectoskeletons (shells). If it is spread out by the rain, it can still kill. In a pot it won't be going anywhere except maybe down.


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #380772 Feb 28th, 2014 at 06:09 AM
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I was just kidding about the "eating" but it didn't help with the dreaded squash bug. I read on another forum that people mix the food grade with liquid and drink it for energy. I'm not going to try that.

Daisy, I'm glad you can drink your tea without fighting the bugs.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
Bestofour #380791 Mar 1st, 2014 at 02:22 AM
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Yes Daisy I am glad as well.

And I think I would buy my soil to start my seedings in. There would be no danger of bringing larvae in then.


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #381154 Mar 22nd, 2014 at 12:36 PM
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Just checking in. Thanks.. hope you are all doing well. A couple of weeks ago I got the pesky flies back for a couple of days. I changed the soil and then I sprayed some old Safers Soap on the soil and although they were still visible that same day, they magically disappeared, all of them. That's round 2, hope another batch isn't coming?

Think my problem began when I bought some bagged soil in the Fall. The Garden Centres had everything outside at the time, so maybe what I assumed was soil for house planting was soil for the garden? To think of it, it did have some bugs flying around the bags at the time, but hey, it was Fall so I never thought anything of it. The Bag is quite deceiving and looks more like an indoor planting soil.

The other day I used some other store bought soil formulated for inside to start my seedlings. The bag in question that I threw out, is still outside stuck in the snow and ice, so I can't budge it. Maybe that is telling me not to ask for trouble by bringing it in again.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #381189 Mar 24th, 2014 at 09:54 AM
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I hope another batch is not coming either. When I had that problem all I did was NOT water the pots for a week or 2 then all the larvae died & I was home free.

It does sound as if you hit the nail right on the head though---sounds as if you brought the "darlings" home & then inside on the soil. Also sounds as if you have the situation well in hand.... thumbup


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #381761 Apr 18th, 2014 at 02:11 PM
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Hmmm, well. hope it is under control? A couple of days ago, I brought in the bag of soil that I had thrown outside. It finally unthawed from the cement pad in the patio, so I am using it to fill in the soil in my seedlings. BUT after close reading, it is an outdoor soil, not an indoor soil. I have noticed the odd gnat or fruitfly flying around these last couple of days, so hopefully they are not from the soil I've been freezing all this time?

Carol, problem with not watering for 2 weeks is by then the seedlings will most likely dry out and whither.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #381762 Apr 18th, 2014 at 02:16 PM
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Oh, forgot to say, next year, I will know better. lol.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #381764 Apr 18th, 2014 at 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DaisyM


Carol, problem with not watering for 2 weeks is by then the seedlings will most likely dry out and whither.


yes that is true---. I guess we need to not over-winter soils, and then use the correct kind. I think you taught us all a lesson.


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Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #382735 Jun 17th, 2014 at 04:17 PM
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There currently seems to be no method for trapping fungus gnats. Instead, their presence can be controlled by eliminating what attracts them, moisture and fungus, from the area where the gnats are not wanted. Since both moisture and fungus are important elements of the composting process, they must not be eliminated entirely. One option that is quite effective is to keep the indoor compost bin uncovered and let the top layer of bedding dry out, while keeping the layers beneath at the 50 percent moisture necessary for active composting. This way, the fungus gnats tend to stay below the surface of the worm bin, where it is damp, and don't venture up to the surface enough to be noticeable.

If fungus gnats seem to be coming from your house plants, this may indicate too much moisture. Try letting the plants dry out a little more.

Re: Fruit flies (gnats) out of control.
DaisyM #388597 Jun 18th, 2015 at 12:11 AM
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I found a great article on hubpages about these critters. Hope this helps!

http://evonhall.hubpages.com/hub/Not-the-Gnat


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