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Doing What Comes GNATurally
Let’s get this out of the way first – the correct spelling of gnats is GNATS. Over the years, I have seen nats, knats, kats, nagts, nahts and ants. Yes, ants… But no, it is just gnats. The “g” is of course silent. In commercial spaces, fungus gnats are almost always associated with plants. Not always, mind you, but almost always. I’d say somewhere in the 90% range. Fungus gnats breed on microscopic fungi growing within the soil of a potted or atrium plant. In rare cases (think of the other 10%), fungus gnats may be breeding from mold and mildew associated with a moisture issue or water leak. To rid your space of gnats, do not turn towards pesticides. Seems odd that a pest control service provider would tell you NOT to use pesticides, but it is true. Fogging agents and spray pesticides will do little to control these pesky pests. They may kill off some of the adults, if you can get the adult gnat to come in contact with the pesticides, but the larva will continue to grow and within a relatively short period of time – adults will emerge and you will be right back to square one.
So what do you do? Try this recipe:
- Baking Soda: 1 Tablespoon
- Water: 1 Quart
Mix well, allowing the baking soda to fully dissolve in the water. Pour the mixture over the top of the soil, making sure to get good, even coverage. Remember!! This is a mixture ratio. Not all plants will need an entire quart of water and some may actually need more. The goal is to simply get just enough of the solution into the soil so that the baking soda can react with the mold, mildew and fungus. The baking soda will eliminate the food source, which will then eliminate the larva. Does this mixture kill the gnats? Not directly. Again, you are eliminating their food source, which will starve them out and stop them from becoming adults. Does this mixture have any impact on the adult gnats? No. But the life span of an adult gnat is only a few days, so within a relatively short period of time, you will not see any more gnats in the environment.
It is important to note that if you do use this method, you will need to treat ALL of the plants in the environ with this solution. Gnats fly, so if you do not treat all of the plants, the odds of a re-infestation or a continuance of the same issue will likely take place. Also, this is a REACTIVE protocol. Do not start watering your plants with this mixture every time you water your plants. You may eventually kill the plant. After you get rid of the issue, try to pull back on watering your plant(s) with as much water as you had been. Most plants are resilient, so if you were watering once a day, switch to once every few days or twice a week. If you were watering twice per week, switch to once per week or maybe even once every two weeks.
Of course, the other option is to simply get rid of the live plant(s) and start using fake ones!