FUNGUS GNATS, or Sciarid Flies, are small, dark flies that are thinner than the width of a quarter. They appear when topsoil remains too wet in between waterings. They spread quickly, laying 75-200 eggs within days of hatching. Eggs hatch after 48-72 hours, and gnats have a 2-3-week life span (Ecogrow.com/au/top10/Fungus_gnat.html). Their larvae grow in wet soil, feasting on fungi, decaying plant matter and plant roots, along with molasses and sugar. Pythium, a form of root-rot, is a possible side effect of these critters. They love low light, high humidity, and warmth. Because of this, greenhouses are an ideal breeding ground for these pests.
The good news about noticing a fungus gnat infestation is the acquired knowledge of an overwatered garden; now that you have diagnosed the source of the fungus gnat infestation, you can not only get rid of the gnats, but also better your watering habits. Fungus gnats are there to eat dead and decaying organic matter, so noticing an infestation can also indicate root issues.
If you notice fungus gnats, adjust your watering schedule and regime. A good rule-of-thumb is the two-inch rule; stick your finger in the soil to your second knuckle and if it feels dry at your fingertip, you need to water. Otherwise, wait to water until your soil has properly dried out!
As with any gardening issue, prevention is the best solution. A weekly foliar spray of The Amazing Doctor Zymes Eliminator will help prevent any infestation. Also, doing a daily sweep and cleaning up any leaves or detritus that have fallen onto the soil is an important step to help prevent the fungus gnats from feasting in your garden.
The Amazing Doctor Zymes Eliminator will help to eliminate an infestation, but unless you alter your watering habits you will probably see more infestations in the future. It is important to create a hostile environment for the fungus gnats, which primarily consists of allowing your soil to dry out sufficiently in between watering. Hanging up sticky fly traps to help control and monitor the infestation is also a good idea.
We recommend a medium solution of The Amazing Doctor Zymes Eliminator if you already have an infestation (see online instructions for dilution rates and advice on how to properly apply our product). It is always a good idea to compost tea your garden after an Amazing Doctor Zymes soil drench to ensure your soil has a healthy microbiology.
Integrated pest management:
- Don’t overwater.
- Use sticky traps to monitor and capture adults.
- Use our product as a preventative. If you spray your plants once a week as a preventative you should not have any issues.
- Integrate nematodes into your soil. However, direct contact with our product will kill nematodes, so ensure you introduce them after a soil drench.
- Use compost tea to create a biologically-sound environment in order to help keep pests and diseases away.
- Don’t overfeed!
Samantha Saddler is the newest part of The Amazing Doctor Zymes family. She recently moved from Bellingham, Washington to pursue her dream of being a part of the gardening community of Mendocino County. She has a degree in English from Western Washington University and is extremely excited to be on the forefront of revolutionizing the way farmers garden.