Tiny black flies hovering around your plants? These tiny plant flies (officially called fungus gnats) can cause - despite their short lifespan – a long term problem. As they multiply quickly, these tiny flies soon turn into a big plague. A disaster for your plants - and for you – that you would rather prevent from happening. Where do these tiny flies come from? And how can you drive them away or catch them? Discover handy DIY solutions and effective plant fly control products.
That tiny black plant fly - that looks a lot like a fruit fly – hovering around your plants is actually a gnat. Officially these bugs are called fungus gnats. So, when people talk about a plant fly, a plant mosquito or fungus gnats, they are actually talking about the same little bug.
The plant fly is drawn to plant-based material, such as wet soil, trees, and flowers. The little fly and its larvae feed themselves on dead plant remains and roots. It’s possible that you attract the tiny flies from outside, but you also may have brought in the little flies with a new plant. Due the rapid reproduction, the little flies can soon turn into a plague.
The reproduction of the plant fly takes place in the spring. Then in august again larvae will fly out. Plant flies flourish in moist weather, so their reproduction and development strongly depend on the amount of rainfall in the concerning period.
The little plant flies only live a few days. However, in this short lifespan, they can cause long-term problems. By laying over 200 eggs, they use their time on earth rather productively. After 3 weeks the eggs will hatch, after which they develop themselves into mature plant flies with a size of 1,5 mm to 3 mm.
The tiny flies are not dangerous for your health, but they do harm your beloved plants. Especially the larvae. As the larvae live in the soil, they feed themselves with the roots of the plants. Due to the damaged roots, it becomes harder to absorb water and nutrients. Also, the tiny flies are perceived as quite annoying, as they tend to hover around your drinks and face.
Preventing a plant fly problem is of course even better than solving one. To make sure your plants will remain fly free, there are some things you can do to tackle the potential problem at its roots – literally.
Often plant flies (fungus gnats) appear in your house via the soil of a new plant. Before you bring a new plant into the house, make sure the soil is free of larvae.
Larvae develop themselves super-fast in wet soil. When watering the plants, make sure you don’t give them too much. This way the soil gets the chance to dry up after watering.
By placing your plant in drainage pots, you make sure the soil will never get too wet – which makes it harder for larvae to develop themselves.
By removing dead plant remains in time, you will take away an important food source for the flies and larvae.
Find out which plant is infected, isolate the plant and replace the soil. Only move the plant back in with the others when you are absolutely sure that the soil doesn’t contain larvae anymore.
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