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March 2008
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Tip on gnats in the roots

Q: I have a question, I bought an ivy plan for my livingroom. I put it in a plastic pot with potting soil, rocks at the bottom. I don’t have lots of light in my living room, but I placed it by by window, and now I have these little gnat bugs in the soil. How do I get rid of them? Do I need a dofferent pot? Different soil? Water it less? I hardly water the poor thing as it is. Can anyone help me with this?

Ans: Its good that you noticed the gnats now, as many plants just die out and appear to have no other problems. It could be from the soil and/or the rocks you used. Indoor plants need very pure soil, without any possible fungal or insect contamintaion. Usually you would be using sterilized soil for house plants. There are two ways to rid you of these gnats and their maggots that destroy the root system. First, you place 3×5 inch yellow sticky traps horizontally on the edge of the
pot. These attract the tiny flies and once they land on it, they stick. The other is a Bt solution, that is added to water and can kill the maggots in the soil. If done correctly, the two in combination can get rid of all the bugs. If you have other house plants, I suggest that you also treat all of them as well, as these tiny flies can go anywhere inside the house and do their damage everywhere. Removing the
plants from soil and drowning the bugs by placing the roots in water a few minutes can work too, but is very harsh and can weaken a plant.

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