Those D&%# (Darn) Bugs!

plutomediaDecember 1, 2012

I've got my citrus situated in its winter spot (my first winter with them), lights strung up and watering/fertilizing schedule set.

After being inside for a few weeks, we've noticed what we first thought were fruit flys buzzing around. Well, they've multiplied like crazy.

We Neem'd them last weekend, but it doesn't seem to have made them go away. So far, the plants and leaves seem healthy, but these yellow sticky traps are chock-full of the little buggers.

Any advice is very welcome!

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Here's the photo of the setup and the bugs.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Ok..What you are doing is very good. Look at all those DEAD ones!

I would use Mosquito dunks and kill the rest of them
I would watch to make sure you are not keeping you mix overly wet since rotting organic damp matter is a primary home for them
I would also consider a much more porous mix with much less organic matter come the spring with a bare rooted process.
Preferrable about June when your trees are much stronger after a long winter and a refresher of a spring.

By the way, from a distance, your trees look pretty.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Any idea what these are?

Also, Mike, re: mosquito dunk. How would i apply that?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Pluto, they are most likely 'fungus gnats' which thrive in very rich, decomposing, water retentive soils. They feed off dead and decaying matter, something you want to discourage in your pots, especially with citrus.

That is why I suggested doing your mixes all over next year and using one that does not allow these dreadful bugs to lay a hold in your pots for next winter. You can basically never have a problem with them again as I don't.

As for the dunk? I have many friends that use them, but I have never had to. I think they are sold at most hardware stores and or nurseries and they should come with directions. Good luck:-=)


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 16:49

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 4:48PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Mosquito Dunks look like a small doughnut/ring of compressed granular. They are meant to float in ponds. I wouldn't know how to go about using them for fungus gnats, other than maybe break off a small piece and soak it in water till it disolve's . Hopefully someone who has used them will look in and be able to help further.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:33PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You might be better off ordering some Gnatrol, which is consists of the same active ingredient as the dunks only much easier to apply. These products contain Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a naturally occuring bacterium that infects the larvae of certain insects in the Diptera order....flies, mosquitoes, midges, gnats.

If you watch the surface of the potting soil when you water, you'll probably see the little wormy larvae. Your Gnatrol solution should be applied on watering days only....not as an extra drench. Follow the directions on the label for the number of treatments required.

Changing the type of potting medium you use can prevent these little pests. I haven't seen a fungus gnat in over twenty years, longer... solely due to my choice of potting medium.

For now, keep trapping the adults and order the Gnatrol so you can kill the larvae in the soil. Be careful about over watering and plan on transplanting in the spring or summer.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:05PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I have used Gnatrol with very good results. I had to apply it several times to get rid of the gnats. What potting medium are you using? I found that it wasn't so much my potting medium that was the issue, but buying a plant that was already infested. Sometimes hard to tell as the nursery or garden center.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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RyanLo(NC 7B)

Just crush up the mosquito dunks(not to dust maybe pea sized or a little smaller), sprinkle it evenly over the surface of the soil on each container and you're done. The active ingredient last about a month, which should be enough time to get rid of them. Gnatrol is good but you have to apply it with water, something you may be trying to control this time of the year. Luckily I have not had an issue with gnats this year, but Ive got a 6 pack of dunks ready to break out at a moments notice.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Thanks, all! I feel pretty good about my potting soil. I started with the Logee's house soil (it's what they plant all of their fruit trees in), and mixed in a bunch of orchid chips and sand. The mix is about 1/2 Logee's, 1/4 sand, and 1/4 orchid chips. It feels a lot like the mix they were in when i bought them all. Plus, I put about 1 1/2 inches of gravel at the bottom of the pots.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:21PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

plutomedia, I would not use sand in your potting mix, it will compact and suffocate your roots. Search our forum for "511" mix. This is the mix Meyermike uses with great success. Also, gravel at the bottom will not assist in drainage and actually cause more issues than no gravel. I would suggest using the 511 mix, or, you can also search our forum for Farfad's Professional Potting mixes for one of their 2 or 3 options for an excellent bagged mix.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 2:55PM
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