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Elise

Gnat problem: A war in my kitchen; one that I'm sorely losing.

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Okay so yes. We moved in to our flat, I brought over my house plants - a small herb garden for the kitchen window sill - all was fine for a couple weeks then the trouble started.

One or two gnats. I just ignored them. Probably shouldn't have. I didn't think they were gnats, then, though. I thought they were fruit flies. Now I know better - so much better.

I feel like I've tried every home made gnat trap on the face of the earth, but I obviously have not. That being said, what I have tried to use to lure them: mangoes, bananas, wine.. it's just they go for nothing. My herbs are obviously way more alluring.

I haven't been over watering, not since I started waging this war against them, but still they're very happily multiplying. They'll have a boom in population so I'll go after them for days with a tissue - killing as many as I can as they land on the window. Literally killed around 30-40 per day at one point. The population is low right now. But they're not gone. And they're pissing me off so stinkin' much.

Today I noticed them by the hot pepper plant on the fridge, which they'd until now left well alone, and I'm just nearing my wits end with these terribly annoying litter critters. I know they're of no real danger. I think they're fungus gnats - they haven't tried to bite all they do is buzz around your face, but it's just way too annoying and is literally putting me off having houseplants. All I keep thinking is if I can't find a way to get them attracted to a kind of trap, or find a way to kill them off completely with something, I'll always be paranoid they'll come back...

I also had white flies briefly, but those are easy. I can just pluck off leaves of where they've laid their eggs and problem gone. My plants will grow back and it's just Thomas and I, so it's not like we need that many herbs. But these damn gnats.. I just cannot handle them anymore.

 

So yes - any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure this is a war I can win at this point, but I'm desperate, and going to try nearly anything before I throw in the towel and just give up on a herb garden altogether (yes, they infuriate me that much).

SOS

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A little spray bottle with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Give the plant a spray as well as the soil. Repeat every fortnight for a week then quit for week. Start again if necessary. They have little yellow sticky tapes on a stick that may be planted in the pot that work well too..

cheers

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2 hours ago, dthomasdigital said:

I put a glass of wine on the counter, over night the thing is full of gnats. Sad use for wine, but it works.

I wish this worked for me! Did you put a drop or two of dish wash liquid in it or just wine? And red or white? I used red with a couple drops of dish washing liquid - completely disinterested :(.

1 hour ago, Dan Seven said:

A little spray bottle with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Give the plant a spray as well as the soil. Repeat every fortnight for a week then quit for week. Start again if necessary. They have little yellow sticky tapes on a stick that may be planted in the pot that work well too..

cheers

I need to try this. And the sticky tapes look great, the only issue being my kitchen is kinda yellow/orange so they won't particularly be attracted to the colour, and my plants are pretty dense, so if I put it straight into the pot it'll stick to that. =/. But the dish washing liquid spray on the plants and soil I need to try.

 

They seemed to have disappeared this afternoon/evening. Basically I took out all the fallen leaves like I regularly do, and while I was I guess I disturbed them. Usually they come back after I put the plants on the sill but today they all but a couple seemed to have vanished - and now they all seem to have gone. I hope they're gone for good but I really doubt that. Guessing a lot of them flew out the open window - which is great. Now hopefully they haven't laid eggs anywhere, though I don't think I saw any.

I did take out the plant that they were attracted to yesterday and chucked it away (half of it was dead and I was planning on replacing it anyway). Maybe that helped. God I just don't know.. Somehow may have lucked into winning the war just after I thought I'd lost it. We'll see!

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I have heard of this solution but not sure if it works or not.

After making coffee in the morning, take a little of the used grinds (teaspoon full) and sprinkle a pinch or two on the soil of each plant.

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Can catch more flies with (Balsamic) vinegar then honey, but I'll admit to resorting to a large clear garbage bag and the blue can, double acting "fly and mosquito" Raid a few times. Put the infested plants, etc. inside a bag, puff of insecticide and use a twist tie. Also works on sand flees camping on a beach in Mexico. Aired the sleeping gear out on a line after the treatment. Assuming the plants aren't going to get re-infested, outdoor airing is probably a plan too. This wouldn't be my first choice on plants I intended to eat.

Don't bother with the green can Raid as I think the bugs just get a buzz on from that now. If you are going to resort to chemical warfare you don't want to use anything with a survival rate as the survivors may have resistance traits to pass along ( ref. Chuck Darwin ). 

On a related note. If you can find something that really attracts them, a variation of a bee excluder might work. Trick I've used to remove a bee hive from my chimney without killing the bees. Make a plastic cone with a hole at the point ( for bees about 9 mm ) pointed the direction you want them to go, and well sealed at the base. Insects leaving travel along the narrowing cone to the end and escape, incoming travel along the outside to the base and are blocked out. After the queen leaves you can remove the excluder and the bees will clean out the honey and take it to their new hive. If you have provided the new hive and they have moved in that gives them a bit of a head start too. :-)

Nothing to say you can't quarantine the infested plants inside a bag and experiment with different traps, and techniques inside the bag.

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I have to say..the little fungus gnats are a 'little shortsighted' so if the kitchen is yellow it may not seem as big of an issue as it may for us..when it comes to the little yellow sticky tapes..

cheers..

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I can attest that Elise is treating these gnats as a foreign invading force. Pretty terrifying to witness- the kitchen has turned into a biological warfare lab.

I fear for the world if @Elise ever makes enemies. 

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9 hours ago, crazyman said:

I have heard of this solution but not sure if it works or not.

After making coffee in the morning, take a little of the used grinds (teaspoon full) and sprinkle a pinch or two on the soil of each plant.

This is supposed to be good for the plants anyway so I might as well try. Thanks for the suggestion!

8 hours ago, Gary_Gough said:

Can catch more flies with (Balsamic) vinegar then honey, but I'll admit to resorting to a large clear garbage bag and the blue can, double acting "fly and mosquito" Raid a few times. Put the infested plants, etc. inside a bag, puff of insecticide and use a twist tie. Also works on sand flees camping on a beach in Mexico. Aired the sleeping gear out on a line after the treatment. Assuming the plants aren't going to get re-infested, outdoor airing is probably a plan too. This wouldn't be my first choice on plants I intended to eat.

Don't bother with the green can Raid as I think the bugs just get a buzz on from that now. If you are going to resort to chemical warfare you don't want to use anything with a survival rate as the survivors may have resistance traits to pass along ( ref. Chuck Darwin ). 

On a related note. If you can find something that really attracts them, a variation of a bee excluder might work. Trick I've used to remove a bee hive from my chimney without killing the bees. Make a plastic cone with a hole at the point ( for bees about 9 mm ) pointed the direction you want them to go, and well sealed at the base. Insects leaving travel along the narrowing cone to the end and escape, incoming travel along the outside to the base and are blocked out. After the queen leaves you can remove the excluder and the bees will clean out the honey and take it to their new hive. If you have provided the new hive and they have moved in that gives them a bit of a head start too. :-)

Nothing to say you can't quarantine the infested plants inside a bag and experiment with different traps, and techniques inside the bag.

Should try balsamic vinegar then. But yes, surrounding the plants themselves in bags so the critters won't escape I should've thought of but didn't. I don't want to spray them with anything toxic as I'm definitely planning on eating them, and would rather not have to kill 'em all but yesterday was so frustrated I thought I might just chuck all the plants...

3 hours ago, Dan Seven said:

I have to say..the little fungus gnats are a 'little shortsighted' so if the kitchen is yellow it may not seem as big of an issue as it may for us..when it comes to the little yellow sticky tapes..

cheers..

Makes sense to me, especially if I put the traps right by them on the window sill.

25 minutes ago, Thomas said:

I can attest that Elise is treating these gnats as a foreign invading force. Pretty terrifying to witness- the kitchen has turned into a biological warfare lab.

I fear for the world if @Elise ever makes enemies. 

Haha accurate!

 

Thanks for the ideas, guys! If they show up again, I will be sure to use all these with full force!

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Hi Elise, suggest repotting the plants.

Gnats most likely coming from soil. If you look with Magnifying glass, may be able to see them hatching when Pot warming..( I really do need to get a life ! )

Spray plants with Neem soap solution. Non- toxic.

Indian/Asian People have been using it for Bug Control for thousands of years. Garlic can also be used.

Cheap AND cheerful (my favourite)

Detergent works by preventing surface tension on the bugs so they can't breathe or move.

Unfortunately, it is toxic to US, which is why We should rinse it off Dishes and Cutlery.

K.T.

Edited by kiwitransient
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On 8/25/2016 at 9:06 PM, Dan Seven said:

on the gardening topic..check this out from yesterday's tomato cull..

I think your sister's cull is mooning you.

On 9/7/2016 at 8:07 AM, kiwitransient said:

Gnats most likely coming from soil. If you look with Magnifying glass, may be able to see them hatching when Pot warming..( I really do need to get a life ! ).

If you need a life, I need a life, because this is 100% something I would do lol!

On 9/7/2016 at 8:07 AM, kiwitransient said:

Spray plants with Neem soap solution. Non- toxic.

Indian/Asian People have been using it for Bug Control for thousands of years. Garlic can also be used.

Cheap AND cheerful (my favourite)

Detergent works by preventing surface tension on the bugs so they can't breathe or move.

Unfortunately, it is toxic to US, which is why We should rinse it off Dishes and Cutlery.

Need to work on finding a solution to do this with - not sure if what I have is non-toxic. Will see about this eventually!

Okay so here's an update...

My rosemary was dying. I knew this, I'm not an idiot, but having gotten rid of that, and then having replaced with some Greek basil - well there are still a few odd gnats around but it's so rare to see one now that I just don't care anymore. I think they were taking up residence in the dying rosemary for sure, even though for some reason I couldn't see any hanging 'round there. I'm hoping maybe I killed off enough (by literally chasing them with tissue and squashing them on the window) to prevent another reproduction cycle. I don't know. I'm just glad I didn't have to re-pot.

It looks to me like they originally came from an open window. Not going to lie, this whole not having screens on the window in this country takes a lot of getting used to. I am not in the habit of closing the window when the lights are on at night, but I've had to get into the habit, because that's what's saved the day by the look of it. Since the gnats mostly disappeared I've had other small bugs join me, and so the open window is the only thing I can imagine is letting new, different, flying critters in. Didn't want to re-pot or throw out my old plants and get new ones (which my grandmother-in-law advised me to do) until I knew why they came 'round in the first place. I had a feeling it was my fault/something that could happen again, and yup, seems to be.

I'm being very careful not to over-water. That's keeping them down in terms of population. Killing everything I see with a tissue and not thinking "Ah it's just a couple, that's okay, they'll probably die off on their own" also seems to have helped. If I can kill them now, I will kill them.

I need lavender. Easy to get here, so the only stall is just too busy to go do it. I'm entertaining getting a carnivorous plant still. Pretty much think the insects are dying down in population cause it's getting cooler, though, but who knows, might be wrong there because my grandmother-in-law told me the bug population doesn't really go down much in the cooler months here. A little less, but not disappear completely (essentially) like it does in Canada.

Am just happy with the decreased population cause I honestly was so close to giving up on the plants altogether. Like there were a lot and they were soooo annoying. Am hoping with time to get the population to nil, but 2-3 that I have to chase after and kill every few days I'm completely happy with.

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@Elise Just brought an old trick to mind. If we got a bunch of moths in ( sometimes a few hundred would be lurking in the porch ) hanging a light over a basin half full of soapy water with a bit of suds on top would clear them out reasonably fast. Should work with anything attracted to light. Best theory I have is the light reflected off the suds made them spiral down till they hit the water and then the soap negated their outer waxy surface and they drowned.

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3 hours ago, dthomasdigital said:

Growing plants just add water right, it's so easy. I wish!

I know right T_T

1 hour ago, Gary_Gough said:

@Elise Just brought an old trick to mind. If we got a bunch of moths in ( sometimes a few hundred would be lurking in the porch ) hanging a light over a basin half full of soapy water with a bit of suds on top would clear them out reasonably fast. Should work with anything attracted to light. Best theory I have is the light reflected off the suds made them spiral down till they hit the water and then the soap negated their outer waxy surface and they drowned.

This is actually pretty genius - one of those so obvious you don't think of it kind of things; should've thought to use light to draw 'em in. Should give this a shot one night.

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Hi Elise, glad you are making progress and hopefully not gnashing your teeth in frustration.

Neem soap should be easy to find in Bar form at Health Shop or Gardening store. Great stuff.

Just swish around in water and spray onto plants

One of those Products that a American Company tried to Patent a few years ago.

Indian Govt. kicked up a stink and said NO way. It is a Tree that has been in continuous use for thousands of years as part of Ayurvedic Medicine.

May well turn up to be very important as a response to Antibiotic resistant Bacteria/Viruses. Great to have around the house.

Edited by kiwitransient
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Definitely will look into getting a hold of it @kiwitransient!

A few weeks ago I just up and gave up on my set of 6 herbs. Replacing the old ones was enough for some time but I genuinely feel that the overcrowding having one of those 6-in-1 planters made it a disaster for keeping the plants free of insects. So bye bye to that. From now on if I grow plants they will have plenty of room in their own pots. Learned my lesson there for sure.

The other plants have a few white flies and aphids on them, as well I also see a gnat here and there, but it's legitimately so much lower without the overcrowded 6 herb planter that I'm not even bothered if I keep the rest of the plants where they are.

Genuinely didn't think it'd be that hard to deal with (overcrowding I mean), but I know when to throw in the towel; at least I figured out my main problem and didn't have to get rid of all the plants.

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