UBC Botanical Garden Forums  

» UBC Botanical Garden


Go Back   UBC Botanical Garden Forums > Archives (no new threads) > Garden Pest Management and Identification

Garden Pest Management and Identification UBC Botanical Garden advocates the use of Integrated Pest Management.

Post New ThreadReply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old March 15th, 2007, 06:14 PM
Pattycat Pattycat is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cranbrook, B.C.
Posts: 4
tiny flies in my plant dirt

I am so frustrated I can't believe how much. I've been seeing these very tiny flies in my place for the longest time and I can't for the life of me get rid of them. I also do not know how they got in here but most likely in the dirt from the plants. Dah! They also seem to be getting into everything that has nothing to do with plants. I can be relaxing on my couch and all of a sudden one, if not more, fly right into my face. They also congregate at the windows sills as well as on anything that is white or at least bright. On this note I was advised to lay a white piece of paper with petroleum gel or something sticky, onto my kitchen counter. I did this for several weeks, moving the piece of paper to various areas to no avail. I was also advised to spray all the leaves with a mild soap and water which I did and again, to no avail. Iím wondering if I can actually spray the mild soap and water solution right into the plant dirt as I have seen these little #$%^&^ís in the dirt of most of my plants. I do not want to get rid of any of my plants as Iíve worked long and hard to keep them beautiful and green as they are, for now. Will spraying the soapy water into the dirt harm my plants? What are these little bug (gers)? Can anyone help as I think Iíll go nuts if I canít get rid of them.
Will these little bug (gers) ever leave now that they've found a home in my home?
Frustrated in Cranbrook and thanks in advance for any help! Pattycat
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old March 15th, 2007, 06:43 PM
Junglekeeper's Avatar
Junglekeeper Junglekeeper is offline
Indoor Gardener
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 3,435
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Sounds like fungus gnats. Search these forums and you'll find many similar complaints and suggestions on how to deal with them. The list of remedies includes altering one's watering routine, passive trapping, and spraying.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old March 15th, 2007, 06:50 PM
Pattycat Pattycat is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cranbrook, B.C.
Posts: 4
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Thanks very much Junglekeeper and I have read the other posts however, I just skimmed through them so I may have missed vital info. Or just too darn bugged about this blasted flies.

Pattycat [:o)]
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old March 16th, 2007, 10:44 AM
Weedbender Weedbender is offline
÷
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: MD Zone 7
Posts: 243
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Pat, make yerself a fly trap. Get a jar and make a funnel. (can be paper or plastic) Cut your funnel so that when inverted into the jar, the end is about an inch from the bottom of the jar. Mix 1/4 cup apple vinegar, 1 table spoon sugar and add a few small pieces of apple or banana. Mix and pour in jar. Add water (if needed) until mixture is 1/2 1nch from the bottom of funnel. Leave jar set out. Flies will get in but can't get out. Take outside, remove funnel, flies fly away. Reinstall funnel, set out, trap flies, repeat. ;>)
Attached Thumbnails (click on thumbnail to enlarge)
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9741.JPG
Views:	676
Size:	35.3 KB
ID:	20936   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9742.JPG
Views:	644
Size:	37.3 KB
ID:	20937   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9744.JPG
Views:	986
Size:	38.3 KB
ID:	20938  
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old March 16th, 2007, 11:19 AM
Pattycat Pattycat is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cranbrook, B.C.
Posts: 4
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Hey that something I would never think of, thanks weedbender. I'll try this just as soon as I can get all the ingredients needed. When I try this I'll post my results.
Thanks for your help.
Pattycat [:o)]
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old March 16th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Junglekeeper's Avatar
Junglekeeper Junglekeeper is offline
Indoor Gardener
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 3,435
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Weedbender, the ingredients of the bait suggests it is targetted more for fruit flies or house flies rather than fungus gnats. The use of decaying compose material may work better for the latter.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old March 17th, 2007, 06:40 AM
Weedbender Weedbender is offline
÷
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: MD Zone 7
Posts: 243
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I'll wait for Pattycats report. I think this will work for fruit flys and fungus gnats.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old March 17th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Junglekeeper's Avatar
Junglekeeper Junglekeeper is offline
Indoor Gardener
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 3,435
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it won't work. Just wondering if it could be improved upon. I've used plain water with a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid in an ashtray and that works too. I'd like to know how well this one will work. Please do report back, Pattycat.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old March 23rd, 2007, 09:05 PM
Pattycat Pattycat is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cranbrook, B.C.
Posts: 4
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I'm back with some pretty good news I guess. Since I didn't have all the equipment or ingredients that Weedbender suggested I simply used water in a white or light colored dish. I added some sugar to one, some syrup to another, and just had water for the rest. (I have about 6 containers around.) The wee flies were in the sugared water right away and a few were in the other containers. Since it's been a few days since I put these containers around, the sugared water one has a ton of little beasts in it. I think it may depend on where the containers are placed. I stopped watering my plants so they can stop laying their eggs in the moist soil but I'm wondering how long I have to wait to water them again, I don't want my plants to die on me. I think I'll try the dishsoap one too that Junglekeeper suggested and I'll get back to you on that one in a bit. Thanks for all your help everyone and if someone could please let me know when I can water my plants again, I can still see some flies in the dirt so I'm going to assume I shouldn't water them yet but as I said, I don't want my plants to die, they're too nice. And these little blasted bug (gers) are now flying into my food and my face, into my nose for crying out loud and just thinking about it makes me sneeze! :-)
Pattycat
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old March 23rd, 2007, 11:33 PM
Junglekeeper's Avatar
Junglekeeper Junglekeeper is offline
Indoor Gardener
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 3,435
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Traps and a modified watering regimen will control, not eradicate the pest. So water the plants according to their needs. If your environment can support them, sundews make for very effective traps. The fungus gnats keep them well fed and happy. They're much more interesting to look at than dishes of water and you don't have to change the water.

To clarify, dishwashing liquid is added to the water to reduce the surface tension so that it will not support the weight of a fungus gnat; it is not the bait. Based on your observations I'll try adding a bit of sugar to my next trap. BTW, I've had more success using a bright yellow ashtray than one that's dark green.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old March 24th, 2007, 02:45 PM
lidlekitty's Avatar
lidlekitty lidlekitty is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Eureka, California, USA
Posts: 9
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Something you can do to keep the critters from breeding in your flower pots is to:

put a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of sand on the top of the dirt in your pots. The babies that are in the dirt cannot climb through the sand to become adults thus ending the life cycle of the critters. Then you don't have to worry as much about your watering schedule.

I hope this helps
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old April 5th, 2007, 01:53 PM
beginnerb beginnerb is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I have also had some problems with fungus knats...so frustrating!

Thank you for the recommendation of sand on the top. I was first told to replace the top inch or two of soil in my pots to get rid of the babies...but they were still coming back. So I am definitely now going to the sand method!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old April 5th, 2007, 02:18 PM
Michael F Michael F is offline
Plant Enthusiast (1000+ posts)
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Britain zone 8/9
Posts: 9,522
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I keep the top layer fairly dry, and suspect they're breeding in the bottom of my pots, with the adults exiting via the drainage holes.

Any suggestions to how to deal with this?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old April 5th, 2007, 07:34 PM
Chuck White Chuck White is offline
Generous Contributor (100+ posts)
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Florida,USA
Posts: 333
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Just in the off-chance that these 'lil fly guys are NOT being soil originated, you might try the cure for DRAIN flies. (Tiny, tiny flies like you are speaking of, and able to re-locate throughout the house). Boil a couple of quarts of water on the stove. (Faucet water will never be hot enough). When the water is at a rolling boil, carefully remove from the stove and in one continuous motion ,pour it down the drain. Particularly with disposal sinks, fungus is generated in the disposal chamber, and that attracts the 'drain flies'. The boiling water will completely fill the chamber and cook those rascals. This is a Univ. of Florida rec. for these guys. It does work.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old April 6th, 2007, 04:37 AM
Liz's Avatar
Liz Liz is offline
Plant Enthusiast (1000+ posts)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
Posts: 1,526
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

You can all shoot me for being pedantic but PLEASE call it soil NOT dirt. Its a lesson I learned years ago from a gardener/ horticulturist (sp) when I happened to mention to him "Good dirt you have here.. ..What???? came the reply....good dirt this.... followed by a frown and a reprimand "this is not dirt but good soil...dirt is what you sweep out of the house, soil is what plants grow in"..... My father

Re the flies could they be Drosophila. I get a lot in my compost bin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosophila

Liz
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old April 9th, 2007, 11:29 PM
LindaS56 LindaS56 is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Seattle
Posts: 9
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I've found that yellow sticky flags work well. Apparently they are attracted to bright yellow and get stuck.

Earlier this year all of my container plants in my greenhouse had fungus gnats. To save money I made my own sticky traps. I purchased bright yellow plastic plates from a party store, bamboo skewers and Tanglefoot - a clear gel similiar to petroleum jelly, but stickier. I cut the plates into 1 x 3 inch strips, taped them to a skewer, then coated them on both sides with Tanglefoot. I stuck one or two in each pot, placing the yellow strip an inch or so above the soil. As the traps filled up with gnats, I replaced them with clean ones. Within two weeks, nearly all were gone.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old October 26th, 2008, 09:32 AM
Bugged2death Bugged2death is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: canada
Posts: 3
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

No one has mentioned to replace the soil as a solution. Has anyone tried replacing the soil and is this effective?

I will try the soap/sugar solution in dishes to see if this catches them. I use this for red ants in the summer and it is AMAZING! I keep a dish soap container full of about 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup dish soap, and the rest water. I fill small lids ( like kraft peanut butter) with the solution and the ants climb right in, not being able to get out. Very effective, hope it works for these flies.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old October 26th, 2008, 10:19 AM
joclyn's Avatar
joclyn joclyn is offline
purple plant enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: philly, pa, usa 6b
Posts: 2,718
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

replacing the top layer of the soil is something that will help - you'll pull up any eggs that haven't hatched yet. you still need to eliminate the adults, though, so they don't lay more eggs.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old October 26th, 2008, 04:48 PM
Bugged2death Bugged2death is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: canada
Posts: 3
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

If you add a wee bit of dish soap to this recipe, the flies will drown instead.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old November 16th, 2008, 07:42 PM
pinenut pinenut is offline
Contributor (100-499 posts)
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon Zone 0b or 1a
Posts: 179
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I hang a Vapona pest strip (available at my local Home Hardware) until they are gone and the next generation has gone. Dead flies don't breed. The propaganda says its OK for kitchens, but use your own judgement.
Carl
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old July 23rd, 2013, 11:09 AM
4ager 4ager is offline
Registered Plus (3-99 posts)
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: vancouver
Posts: 35
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

Sorry for the very late reply or re-opening this topic.
Have you tried sprinkling cinnamon on the dirt or using cooled chamomile or peppermint tea to spray the dirt? I have the same problem and the vinegar traps are useless. I have made many variations of the vinegar and soap traps for months, but to no avail.
Cinnamon & cooled chamomile or peppermint tea! I haven't seen a fly since sprinkling the cinnamon and it was almost instantaneous. I will water with the tea to ensure all eggs are destroyed.
Report back on this if you have tried cinnamon and tea.

Last edited by 4ager; July 24th, 2013 at 10:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old October 16th, 2013, 02:57 PM
ejnxyz ejnxyz is offline
Registered (1-2 posts)
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 2
Re: tiny flies in my plant dirt

I agree this little pests are very annoying. It's WAR! I'm going to see if the commercial wasp catches will work, if not build then funnels it is, and the fly tape too. But before seeing this thread I had alredy gone to an old tried and true approach which might be just the ticket.

I've used Beneficial Nematodes for years to control fleas and outdoor soil pests. The Hydro farmers are using them now for indoor pest management as well. (Thank you commercial Marajuana growers) I bought some Beneficial Nematodes through a reputable firm on the Internet specifically targetting these pests. They were delivered live, overnight mail, and after diluting these microsopic worms in water you simply pour them into the dirt and keep the plants moist. These babies eat everything in the soil!

I'll let you know if it works!

As a side note - my sister tried repotting her plants and it didn't work. Then she resorted to "some rather nasty" chemicals which were also ineffective.
Reply With Quote
Post New ThreadReply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dirt fungus Sandra 7797 Garden Pest Management and Identification 0 August 10th, 2006 01:11 PM
Flies in my plant pots! sharda Garden Pest Management and Identification 6 June 1st, 2006 05:41 PM
Flies new to Jade plant sh-s Garden Pest Management and Identification 3 February 4th, 2006 01:26 AM
dirt fungi tigerstail21 Garden Pest Management and Identification 4 October 4th, 2005 09:33 PM
Spider Plant with Tiny little fruit like flies Tamara1969 Garden Pest Management and Identification 2 August 17th, 2005 11:45 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2001-2011, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden & Centre for Plant Research