Several weeks ago I wrote a post about an invasion of fungus gnats in one of my indoor pot plants. Well, I’ve been patiently waiting to see if the vinegar method I’ve been using had any effect on the fungus gnat population. It hasn’t… In the meantime I’ve been researching other possible means of eradication.
Thanks to the most wonderful local organic farmer Terry and his exhaustive knowledge of environmentally sound pest control methods, I have found an eco-friendly solution. Neem oil.
Neem oil is the naturally occurring oil cold pressed from the kernels of the Neem tree. It is a natural antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The tree has developed it’s own highly effective insecticidal and therapeutic properties to protect itself from insect and fungi. Using a solution of Neem oil as a flush for the pot plant effectively and safely rids the plant of fungus gnats. Neem oil can also be safely used outdoors on the garden to control of two-spotted Mites, Whitefly and Aphids.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Thank you Aretha – now I understand the inspiration behind this iconic song!
Sunday morning I opened the curtains to a windowsill that used to be white. A black drift of dead fungus gnats – legs akimbo – greeted my sleep deprived eyes. Jeez, what hell happened here?
I had placed a bowl of vinegar on the surface of the potting mix, but only about a dozen little guys felt the need to take a dip so maybe the vinegar acted like a deterrent and they jumped ship instead?
There are still a few buzzing around on the surface of the potting mix so I’ll keep a beady little eye on them for the while…
This morning I woke to what I would call a “normal” morning. My son called to me and woke me from my deep and blissful slumber. Still in my stupor I stumbled to the door of his room to greet him (the door knob is too high for him to open himself) and we played on his bed for a short while.
After breakfast my son (Mr D) says “Mama, ants on the rocks! Ants on the rocks!” What the… Surely He’s not inventing new cocktails yet?
I have a large Yucca plant in a big pot next to the lounge with white rocks on top as mulch and on closer inspection, it looks as though he’s right! Ants – and thousands of them! My mind reeling with ideas of how they may have been attracted to this particular plant, I notice a sweet smell and automatically decide that Mr D has spilled something sweet on the plant and the ants have come to feast.
But they’re not really moving like ants and…wait a minute – they’ve got wings and they’re milling about on the wall and the curtain… What the hell are these little fkkrs?
I bloody love the internet. I Googled it. Turns out they’re fungus gnats!!! Bugger! Apparently they live in the potting mix and if it gets waterlogged and fungus begins to grow, then the fungus gnats say “Yeehah Grandma” and begin to multiply like the insect equivalent of rabbits. I kind of liked the self-watering pot up until today…
I removed all of the white stones with the gnats attached, put them in a bucket and poured boiling water onto them. That swiftly ended the baby boomers party! I’ve wiped the trunk of the yucca and sprayed the top of the soil and the trunk with an insecticidal soap spray. According to a couple of gardening information sites it’s not the right stuff for the job but it’s all I’ve got for the moment. At the last inspection there were no new bugs. I await with anticipation…