Fungus Gnats

So small you can hardly see them- except when they land in your glass of wine, fungus gnats are an annoyance to lovers of houseplants.  They look like fruit flies but seem to attack houseplants (especially Amaryllis).

You may be surprised to learn that the only harm they do is to a good sauvignon blanc, but there are some basic ways to prevent and get rid of these pests.

First- the problem.  Fungus gnats love badly drained houseplants.  My Amaryllis are the worst affected,  although the gnats also seem to love any exposed soil that drains poorly, particularly if it gets nice and warm, like an amaryllis sitting in a southern window.

There are some solutions- poison would work, I am sure, but an easier solution is to 1) improve your drainage and allow your plants to dry out between waterings.  This is a good preventative measure, but not helpful once the bugs have invaded your amaryllis.

-OR-

2) cover your soil with a half- inch of nice sand- I use white play sand.  This ostensibly prevents the gnats from tunnelling into the soil and laying eggs.  You should see results in a few weeks.  This really does work, although it is slow.  You may want to keep your hand over your wineglass for a couple more weeks.

For more info on other houseplant pests and diseases discussed in my blog, click here.

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