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Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Posted by gosssamer NJ (Indoors) (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 19:33

HI,

I've been trying for the last few weeks to kill small little bugs on my basil and cilantro plants growing indoors. I went through a whole bottle of Safer, tried vinegar and water, and washing each plant in the sink individually. Nothing so far has worked completely.

I've looked online quite a bit for other methods to attract/kill these various bugs, but have been unsuccessful. Does anyone have any other suggestions for dealing with them?

I'm thinking it's the eggs that aren't being killed?

Thanks,
Dave


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

You don't say what the bugs are. The most common in indoor herbs are fungus gnats (little fruit fly lookin critters that you'll see flying all over), whiteflies (itty bitty white moths) and spider mites. Aphids are another possibility, and more destructive.

The thing with the fungus gnats is that they live and breed in the soil, so they're harder to get rid of than whiteflies and aphids which leave eggs on leaves that can be washed off or dealt with using a neem spray. I generally just manage them with the sticky traps. For aphids and whiteflies, I use neem oil spray.

Here is a link that might be useful: houseplant sticky traps


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

I believe I may have aphids (which have mostly been eliminated) and the black little flying fungus gnats. I don't think they're spider mites because they're flying.

Now I'm bummed. Now that you've helped me to identify them, I'll try and search further about how to eradicate them, unless someone has any further pointers?

Thanks,
Dave


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

The aphids can be eliminated by washing leaves/dishsoap/neem/lots of squishing. Just needs a lot of vigilance. The other control I've heard for fungus gnats is to introduce a predatory (to the gnat) nematode to the soil, but I haven't ever had the problem bad enough to pay the price for the nematodes. I have tried sand/rocks on top of the soil with no help. They like moist soil conditions, so letting the top layer of soil dry out does help a little, but only so much. My worst infestation was last winter, where they came in with some cheap potting soil.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

  • Posted by gjcore 5 South Aurora Co. (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 21:25

Dealing with fungus gnats is an ongoing problem here though I usually keep them in check. Try to get all your containers dried out as much as possible without injuring your plants. Running a fan in the room will help a lot. Then water all your plants with a neem oil solution. Keep the fan running as much as possible. When the containers are getting dry again repeat the process at least once more.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Thanks so much for your help.

I've done some additional reading, and I'm currently in the process of letting the pots dry out as much as possible, and also have a fan running next to them.

Next I plan to mix a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide with 3 parts water. Apparently that kills the larvae. The pots should be dried out enough to do this tomorrow, so we'll see.

Any thoughts on this?


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

If you keep the top of soil in pots fully dry, it is unlikely that any fungus or pest will thrive in there. I cover my seedling pots with about 1/2" pine bark (1/4" to 1/2" nuggets) Also, bottom-water them. So the top stays dry all the time. I have had occasionally gnats and sprayed with chamomile tea. As you have discovered, a small fan and air movement can prevent fungal growth.

JMO


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Is it warm enough to stand them outside a couple of hours occasionally? Fresh air does wonders.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Nope, it's been below freezing here in northern NJ for weeks, and hasn't been above 50F since Sept.

I tried the hydrogen peroxide with water mixture, and I think it helped a bit, but certainly didn't get rid of them.

I'm not sure bottom-watering is really practical for me.

I'm now fearing it's going to kill all the hard work I've put into this for the past few months.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

How many plants do you have? To bottom water you just need to stand the pots in a container of water and then let them drain thoroughly. It's pretty straight forward.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

I have about a dozen pots, all within a reflective tent in the basement with no sink.

There isn't enough room left to support another container below each pot. I could probably use some sort of tray, but I'm not sure where to get one that would be supportive enough to hold the pots and the water, yet thin enough to actually fit.

Would I then have to drain the water to avoid it stagnating?

Also, while it says I should receive a copy of follow-ups, I never receive them. Any ideas why that might be?


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Well, the hydrogen peroxide mix didn't do squat. It seemed to work for a day or two, but they're back in full force. I now have a spray bottle called Eight that's supposed to kill them.

We'll see what happens in a few days.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

I realize that this winter is extremely cold with very few days that are warm enough to place your plants outside for a few hours. However, a couple of weeks ago, I brought all my plants outside so that I could thoroughly clean the entire inside area. Outside, the plants were exposed to UV from the sun and wind that helped to remove many of the insects. Spraying with a hose helped as well. I am overwintering peppers that are infested with green aphids. Interestingly, some Asian ladybugs have taken up residence on the pepper plants and seem to be eating some of the aphids. I have heard that one ladybug can eat 200 aphids per day.


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RE: Need to kill insects on herbs indoors

Now there's about 36" of snow on the ground. All the ladybugs are dead or frozen, along with the hose :-)

It's supposed to be 55F late next week. Maybe that's an opportunity to bring them outside, if I can find a nice warm spot on the walkway outside or something.

I'm very disappointed the hydrogen peroxide didn't work.


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