Rocket plants with lots of flies

yolandilFebruary 2, 2009

I am growing a few rocket plants in my garden. But now it seems that there is a thousand flies living on the leaves. When the sun shines on the plants, thousand of small house flies are on or around the leaves. What causes this? I have basil plants right next to it, but they are only on the rocket. What can I do to stop it?

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The flies may be fungus gnats. They seem to be attracted to some shades of green and yellow. These gnats are tiny, smaller than fruit flies and can infest both gardens and indoor plants. They lay eggs in the soil where these hatch into small maggots and then they feed on the roots of most plants. Once they pupate they will emerge and floy to other plants. Indoors they can destroy all house plants in a single season. They even thrive in dry potting soils, unless its sterile. To see if these are the gnats, place a few yellow sticky traps horizontally near the soil and plant base. After a single day, you may have litreally hundreds of these that are stuck to the yellow sheets. Bt is useful as a soil drench and should be watered into the soil every few weeks to kill off future cycles of these gnats. I use both the traps and Bt. They also offer a beneficial nematode to water into soil and these nematodes go after the fungus maggot stage. Another help is to spray the plants with neem as it cna act as a repellent as well as a killer for most bad bugs. Good luck.

As an example, I tried rooting some scrub rose bush stems. I used some supposely clean container soil, and these were started indoors. A few weeks later I started to see the flies, especially during the night in bright light. The soil was infested as evident by the sizable amount of them that were stuck on a 4x6 inch yellow sticky trap. I plan to start some garden seeds indoors, and don't wish to have these in the sterile seed starting soil, so they somehow have to be removed long before I start my seeds. If left unchecked, my seedlings will be weakened and then die a tragic death.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:21AM
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Older gardeners stuck their seed starting medium in the oven for a couple of hours. I never learned in it was moistened before put in oven but their wives all complained loudly about it. Perhaps someone here can tell you how long, moist, temp. If you have an outside grill with thermometer you could perhaps use that. I would not use a microwave on dry matter because the center catches fire long before the outside is warm.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:31PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Very smelly indoors in a kitchen oven! I usually start seeds with a sterile mix from Gardns Alive. Its their Natural Beginnings mix, and is very well suited to starting seeds of all kinds. I usually get a 99% success rate. No bugs in it either. A way to treat the soil would be to mix up a batch of Bt and water at triple strength, and water the soil heavily, then let it go dry before using. This should kill any maggots and eggs in the soil. There are a few forms of Bt, so choose the one for dealing with fungus gnats. I have one here called 'Gnatrole' thats mixed with water before using.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 12:14AM
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