What Are Fungus Gnats?

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They will come in swarms

Fungus Gnats are very common and exist all around us. However, we generally only really notice them when they get out of hand. In the garden this is usually controlled because predators and changes of weather and seasons keep their populations in check.

These insects produce a large cloud because there are so many of them swarming around. This is one of those cases where an insect pest is mostly a nuisance. For the most part, they don’t cause damage or significant problems to your garden or home, but who wants hundreds of fly-like gnats filling up your airspace.

The majority of problems occur indoors, in greenhouses, or on potted plants where their numbers can soar into large numbers. Outbreaks of Fungus Gnats are not fully understood but scientist believe it is related to soil moisture levels and high humidity. When soil moisture is higher it favors egg development and the Fungus Gnats can go from egg to adult 10-14 days.

One reason these insects are known as Fungus Gnats is that they are highly attracted to fungi. When conditions favoring fungal growth are present Fungus Gnat larvae have increased food sources which increases their populations.

What Are Fungus Gnats?

As mentioned before, Fungus Gnats are relatively harmless but do pose some threats. In some case where plants have inferior or damaged root systems the larva my help kill the struggling plant. Additionally, Fungus Gnat larva and adults can sometimes transmit a variety of diseases. This may in fact be all the reason you need to get rid of or substantially control them.

Additionally, Fungus Gnat larvae feed on various parts of plant roots which can generally diminish your plants health. One such sign could be stunted growth in the plants.

Controlling Fungus Gnats:

Good water management is important to controlling Fungus Gnat populations. Too much moisture can be more of problem than just Fungus Gnats. You can be inviting fungal growth as well as root rot This can be especially true in the winter months where air circulation is lower, sunlight is reduced, and evaporation is less.

Fresh potting soil mixes also seem to be a bigger magnet to Fungus Gnats as well as soil mixes high in compost. Both fresh soil and compost are a good thing, so avoiding these is not a good thing. The conclusion can then… If you have Fungus Gnats you probably have good healthy sol conditions overall.

Other ways to control Fungus Gnats are Chemical and Biological methods. For chemical defenses, definitively consult local nurseries for the best solutions available in your market. There are a few natural solutions for Fungus Gnats which include: Ground Beetles, Rove Beetles, Soil Centipedes, and Nematodes.