Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gnat Control

Lucky for me this week's Red Plum ads were nearby. I grabbed the flyer, rolled it up, chased down some gnats (fungas gnats actually), and, I'm sorry, swatted them to death. I saw three gnats flying around my seedlings today. First, one in the afternoon when I peaked in on my little plants, then two more later in the evening. Brushing my hands over the rows of leaves hoping to stir out any others that might be hiding yielded nothing, but my seedlings are doing so well and I don't want to risk ending up with a gnat infestation, so I went to my kitchen and pulled out the ingredients needed to make traps to catch the gnats.If you notice gnats around your plants and want to get rid of them, it's easy enough to make up some traps. All you need is vinegar and water and all you do is pour a tablespoon or two of regular or cider vinegar (wine or fruit juice works well too) into a small container. Then add a few drops of dish detergent.The gnats are attracted to the smell of the vinegar (or wine or juice) and will fly right into it for a taste. The small amount of detergent makes the vinegar slightly sticky so the gnats cannot fly out. Trapped, they drown. Haha gnats! I made up several gnat traps and placed them around my trays of plants.
Overwatering, the most common cause of fungas gnats, is what I think happened with my plants. I've been known to do that before and I need to be more careful about not leaving standing water in the trays the pots sit in after I've finished watering. Gnats, even though rather annoying, typically do not harm healthy, mature plants, but larvae can cause some extensive damage to seedlings. Their larvae are like little grubs, and by gnawing away on the tender roots of seedlings, they can easily kill them. Now I wait, and watch as the soil in my seedling pots slowly dries out, hoping that no more gnats are spotted, and if any are, that my gnat control will be effective.

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