When we love houseplants, we just plain love houseplants, no matter what troubles and heartaches they might involve. Depending on how many houseplants you may have, your problems could be small in comparison to another person who has many houseplants. But to either of these categories in which you fall, the frustration of dealing with those flying gnats, crawling gnat larvae, mealybugs looking like your plant has been caught in a snowstorm….It is enough to put you over the edge.
As I get more and more plants and distribute them all over the house, I find that the problems can get really troublesome, annoying…and cause some conflict in the household when “SomeOne” suggests that we could solve the problems completely by getting rid of all the houseplants.
Oh, no no no. Ain’t gonna happen! When Pigs fly! etc
What have I tried to get rids or gnats or to prevent them in the first place?
- Drying out a plant when it is possible, but sometimes a plant must be kept moist.
- Bottom watering. ( Keeping the top soil dry so gnats won’t lay eggs.)
- Watering with Hydrogen Peroxide solution.
- Spraying with a cinnamon water solution.
- Watering with hydrogen peroxide solution
- Watering with a solution created by soaking Mosquito Bits.
- Spreading Mosquito Bits on the top of the soil like a mulch.
- Keeping Yellow Sticky Traps out to catch adults.
- Vacuuming them flitting around in the windows each morning….(sigh)
My Solution for INDOOR plants only
Over a month ago, I came to the conclusion that I needed to bring out the big guns to fight the problem. Little gnats buzzing by my face as I sit at the computer or sit watching television just was not tolerable. Then when they flit by as you are prepping food in the kitchen, no way will I put up with that.
So my Big Guns solution? A systemic insecticide. For me in particular, I decided to use Bonide Systemic Insect Control Granules
This is a way to fight gnats with systemic insecticide which means that the “insect killing chemical” is put directly into the soil of your pots and planters. The plant then absorbs this chemical into its root system and it is dispersed throughout the plant itself. The chemical insecticide is in the stems and leaves and flowers and or fruits, wherever an insect might chew or suck on the plant. The insect will die!
As shown on the label, this will work for:
The chemical that is in this insecticide is imidaclopid. I would not use this on outdoor plants since this particular insecticide is not good for beneficial insects and will kill them too. This chemical is NOT GOOD FOR BEES, but using this indoors I won’t be coming into contact with bees this winter. It has to be reapplied into the soil every 8 weeks, but my plan is to reapply every 6 weeks since I know that the marketing will stretch the time limit as far as possible, don’t you think?
Imidacloprid is an insecticide that was made to mimic nicotine. Nicotine is naturally found in many plants, including tobacco, and is toxic to insects. Imidacloprid is used to control sucking insects, termites, some soil insects, and fleas on pets. It has been used in products sold in the United States since 1994. Ref: http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/imidagen.html#whatis
Some of my plants will go outside in spring, and I will STOP ALL APPLICATION so that there won’t be (or shouldn’t be) any left in the plant by the time I put it outside. But quite a few of my plants will now be indoors all the time and I hope to see that the mealybugs and fungus gnat larvae are in complete control by then.
DO NOT APPLY THIS TO ANY PLANTS THAT YOU MIGHT INGEST. NOT FOR HERB GARDENS AND WINDOW SILL SPROUTS SUCH AS TOMATOES.
How is it working for me?
I am glad to say that the application of Bonide Systemic Granules seems to have basically gotten rid of my fungus gnats. It seems after I first applied it, I seemed to see a greater number flitting around. At least it seemed more than usual. I thought that it might be due to the gnats searching frantically for somewhere to lay eggs and they just couldn’t find a “safe” place. But maybe that a case of me watching too many Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.
Here’s the video showing how I am treating my plants.
The container says to apply the granules evenly over the top of the soil and then to scratch it into the soil about an inch or more. Some of my large plants were a lot easier to do than the smaller ones, and this takes a lot of time when you have a large number of plants.
But mine are all treated now and due for another treatment in the first weeks of December.
So what are your thoughts on treating with a chemical insecticide for indoors only? I don’t feel that I am harming the environment around me or poisoning local bees when I don’t plan to use it outdoors. Those fungus gnats don’t bother me at all OUTSIDE. It’s when they decide to spend the winter with me that I have a problem.
What is your opinion? Do you see any harm in treating INDOOR plants with this chemical?