Drying out

BittyBats(8)August 8, 2014

So I found a lil black fly around my avs. First time I ignored it. Around the third time of spotting it I looked it up. I figured it was a fungus gnat and people suggested letting the soil dry out and watering with a lil bit of soap. I had just watered, but I also read to maybe repot it. That's what I did and in the middle of repotting I saw one of them in the soil! It flew away when I moved my av around. So, repotted my four avs and let it go dry for two days. Haven't seen the black flies again. My poor blossoms tho, some buds had dried out on the only av I had flowering. Another av had a sucker (a single tiny leaf emerging on the side where a leaf had been broken off) that died before it had a chance to grow.

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BittyBats(8)

The one that had a sucker.

Two leaves broke off from the side. The brown spots came from when I tried to give it a shower. I patted the leaves dry and let it sit in the dark over night but I guess that wasnt enough. :(

This plant came with me when I moved from CA to MS. It went from a north-west facing window and is now in an east facing window. Had this plant for two months, those three middle leaves were grown from the north/west window, probably why it's a litter green.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 3:36PM
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lucky123

Fungus Gnats
I have heard mosquito dunk works. We have a terrible problem with fungus gnat every spring and fall. I sprayed all the house plants and put diatomaceous earth in the pots.
What gets rid of the flying gnats?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:47AM
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perle_de_or(Zone 7)

Bittybats, your plant should recover nicely from the broken leaves, it looks like a good plant. I have had fungus gnats before and had read that sprinkling ground cinnamon on the surface of the soil works. So I tried that and it did help.
I have also used Marathon, a granule that kills them, but not everyone can get that. Adult ones are attracted to yellow, so placing a yellow bowl of water on the shelf will kill some of them, they fly in and drown. Some people use the yellow sticky traps, I ordered some online, haven't used them yet.
I have much less trouble with them since I changed my mix from the Miracle Grow AV mix to the Fafard AV mix.
If you use the drying out method, you don't have to dry out the whole plant, just the surface of the soil. Murphy's Oil Soap makes a good non toxic insecticidal soap, I used a capful to a half gallon of water, then poured through the soil mix. Warm water on leaves won't cause spotting and I occasionally give the leaves a rinse over the sink, but never get water in the crown of the plant and always let the water dry before putting back in the light. Hope this helps
PS, a friend gave me some stuff called Gnatrol, you can order it from Amazon. I have had so little problem with them since switching my mix that I haven't used it yet, but she says it works..

This post was edited by Perle_de_Or on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 8:24

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:20AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Three weeks ago I found fungus gnats settling in on my plants. It was probably because of the capillary mats we use and the rate at which I was keeping them wet.

I repotted everything and changed the frequency of how we keep the mats wet (let them dry out and didn't keep them as wet as previously) and the gnats went away. Don't know if this would work for you but sounds like it might. It was probably drastic compared to what Perle suggested, I just couldn't stand the thought of the larvae infesting the soil.

There are also nematodes out there (but I'd try the mosquito dunk trick first, it's cheaper) that will work as well. Farms and ranches use them to control pests. These pests can be pretty seriously damaging to livestock (we have horses too), and the reviews are quite positive.

Steinernema Faltiae is the most popular-Amazon sells them. Here is the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Million-Live-Beneficial-Nematodes-Exterminator/dp/B007XFI4VC/ref=cm_cd_ql_qh_dp_t

They're not the only ones to sell that nematode, so if you decide to go that way, do some judicious shopping.

I'd still try the mosquito dunks first! :-)

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:17PM
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BittyBats(8)

Thanks you guys! :)

I haven't seen the fungus gnats again but if they ever come back I'll try a few of these things out.

Yea, I haven't heard good things about miracle grow mix, but I wasn't confident about mixing my own av mix (not even sure where I would get them). Options are somewhat limited since I'm relatively new to the area. I have to use the GPS for everything and I still sometimes get lost!

Update on the plant: It's doing fairly well. New sets of leaves are coming in! I think that's my favorite part, seeing new leaves growing out. I'm seeing new growth on all my av's, but sadly no new buds. As per someone's suggestion, I got some boxes to get them closer to the window light (they seem happier?). Just gotta be patient! :)

Kathie

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:58PM
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lucky123

Kathy
Glad the plant is doing well.
Sometimes posts get lost in the shuffle. I saw this one further down the thread with no answers.
I don't know about anyone else but we have so many fungus gnats..clouds outside and no way to keep them out of the house.
I am glad you posted because I was thinking of posting myself about fungus gnats when I found your post :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:29AM
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jessie1754(9)

Hi y'all. I read that placing a Downey dryer sheet amoung the plants would help keep the gnats away. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, and would smell good to.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:50AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

OK I'm going to try that myself! Any particular reason it's got to be Downy?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 8:39PM
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jessie1754(9)

I don't think it would matter. But let me know if it works.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 3:57AM
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Taxonomist3

I prefer to use imidacloprid (marathon) granules in my soil. This really the only thing I've found that remotely works in keeping these little monsters at bay (I've had them eat through a strep collection - they're only mildly less destructive to AV's).

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 9:30AM
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fortyseven_gw

Thanks for the reminder. I am just in the process of repotting many older plants. So it is the perfect time to add marathon
along with the new wick.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

imidacloprid is pretty toxic to bees, and since I dump my "used" soil (after re-potting) into the garden, it's not an option for us.

Did see a fungus gnat this morning so may just buy those beneficial nematodes.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 10:04AM
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lucky123

I may be wrong but imidacloprid is synthetic tobacco. I am going to try some tobacco tea which is not toxic to bees but tobacco mosaic, maybe boil the tea.
I use lawn grade Spectricide on the plants. It worked to get rid of broad mites and the plants don't seem to be bothered by it, even when in flower.
One other remedy I have heard is to bag the plants with a small piece of Hot Shot No Pest Strips for 24 hours. That is recommended for moving plants indoors after a summer outdoors. It has to be done again in 3 days and 7 days for sucking pests. I am not certain if it would affect soil bugs.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 10:48AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Lucky, from what I've read you're correct about it being a kind of synthetic tobacco. Let us know how the tea works. I'm always for trying to find natural remedies. If it works for you, I'll try it too.

My son and his best friend (and their family) are big bee producers, so I'm a little sensitive to using insecticides. Plus the plight the honeybees have been going through- we had a couple summers where we didn't see more than a couple and they used to be everywhere!

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 6:58PM
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BittyBats(8)

I think I read in an older post that you could also use vermiculite in the top inch of the soil. It sounds interesting and might be worth a try if you want natural remedies.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 8:25PM
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