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Help needed with "fruit flies"

Marc van Iersel mvanier at GAES.GRIFFIN.PEACHNET.EDU
Fri Mar 14 10:42:22 EST 1997

>In <01bc2bcd$6f759c40$75c196c6 at dragan> "Dragan" <dragan at coredcs.com> writes:
>>We have various green plants in our home, such as spider plants, ferns,
>>rubber plant, etc.   In the past few months there have been a number of
>>"fruit fly" type bugs flying around.  Not swarms, but enough to be
>>noticeable and irritaing.  Have been unable to find the source.
>>Would appreciate any ideas on how to find the source, and get rid of.
>These are fungus gnats, and if left alone can and will damage tender
>roots of plants.  The larve feed on root hairs and can cause root rot.
>I have them and find them quite difficult to get rid of.  I have used
>everything from NEEM products, to insecticidal soaps (directly on the
>adults), Bt H-14 drench (host specific Bt), I have dried the soil
>entirely, changed the soil, used a pyrethrum drench, and tried flailing
>my arms around trying to snap them with my hands, like a mental
>patient!  You can try some of the methods I used above.  I find these
>insects gather around my new seedlings.  Once I move the plants outside
>this problem seems to slowly go away.  If anyone knows of an organic,
>or should I say, non-synthetic poison method, let us all know.

One method that will help minimize the damage is to put slices of potato on
the soil.  The fungus larvae prefer this as a food source over roots.  You
can probably decrease the number of fungus gnats and larvae by replacing
these potato slices at least once a week or removing and killing the larvae.
Marc van Iersel			E-mail: mvanier at gaes.griffin.peachnet.edu
Assistant Professor		
Department of Horticulture	Tel: (770) 412-4766
University of Georgia		Fax: (770) 412-4764
Georgia Station
Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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