Flies in my Soil?

AZdani(9)April 5, 2013

I'm a brand new gardener, and relatively new to AZ, too (we live in San Tan Valley). My husband and I started a square foot garden and planted mostly seeds, but picked up two strawberry plants and one bell pepper plant from Lowe's when we were buying our soil.

Not two days after setting up and planting the bed, I noticed little flies on the edges of the store-bought plants. It's been two weeks since we planted and every time I go out to the garden, it looks like the soil is absolutely alive with these little flies! They are all over the box, crawling on the plants and soil, and now I'm noticing aphids (? little green bugs?) on the underside of the bell pepper. What in the world? I'm OK with bugs as long as they aren't going to hurt my garden, but I know the aphids can't be good. I just don't know if the flies and aphids are connected. Should I just leave them alone?

Since we are going to be eating things out of our garden, I want to keep everything clean and organic, but I would like some input! Thanks!

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Hmmm, little flies you say. Store bought soil you say. Crawling on the soil you say. Me thinks you have Fungus Gnats from over watering. Loving your plants to death me thinks. Yep, to much love for sure. Let the soil dry out a little between waterings and most of them will die off. You can also buy mosquito dunks and break them up in 5 gallon buckets and mix them with water overnight. Then water your plants with it. It will prevent the next generation of larva from maturing into adults.

As far as the Aphids go, yes they are bad. There are insecticidal soaps like Safer. There are also sprays that contain Pyrethrin. Both are considered safe for humans. You could also try Diatomaceous Earth which is even safe to eat if you want too.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:43PM
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Regular dish soap will get rid of the aphids (no Dawn)use the cheap stuff 1tbl per gl of water. Spray only when its cool. Early mornings or evenings. Soap sufficates the little greenies. Dish soap also kills squash bugs.
Thisisme I have not had much luck using DE for Aphids mostly scorps and cocks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:04PM
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I had the same exact thing. We too are new to AZ. What I did to get rid of the little flies was to take a shop vacuum and suck all them little suckers up. 10 minutes of using the vacuum sucked up hundreds of flies. The next day I came back and did the same thing. I did this for 3 days. And they were gone and them little suckers haven't returned. My Garden has been going strong for 6 weeks now.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:33AM
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Camp V,

I'm wondering why no Dawn? Does it have something harmful in it?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:40AM
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WRF-Dawn has de-greaser and lots of it. The commercial -"Dawn gets the grease ".
I once used it on my roses and defoliated 30 of them. It was like using agent orange.
I only use the cheap stuff (99cents) from the dollar store. Not real good for dishes but works great on plants/bugs

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:56PM
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second post repeat -shoot

This post was edited by campv on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 18:04

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Here's some great information on aphids and control from the University of California Davis. Did you know they produce live young? Females don't need to mate to reproduce! Crazy, eh?

Adult aphids are usually black and often have wings so they can be confused with flies - although they don't live in the soil.

Keep in mind that if you want ladybugs (aka ladybeetles) you'll need to have aphids around for them to eat or they'll fly off to another garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: all you wanted to know about aphids

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Thanks for the responses, guys. I let the bed dry out (only watering at the base of each plant every other day if they look sad), but these fly buggas are in the soil all over my yard! I was mowing this weekend and hit one spot and they all swarmed out of the ground. Yuck! I don't think they are fungus gnats, because outside of my square foot garden beds (2) our dirt is dry and hard. Plus, up close, they don't look like fungus gnats. I'm wondering if they're dirt termites??

As to the aphids on my pepper plant, my kids found some ladybugs in the fennel, and we carried them to the pepper plant. We still see the aphids every once in awhile, but the plant looks happy, and there aren't many of them anymore. =)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 7:15PM
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