If you are confused about bugs driving you crazy in your home, you are not alone. Fruit flies and fungus gnats are likely what you are swatting but where do they come from and what can you do? Fungus gnats are very small black flies – their eggs are in potting mix, and so they come with your potted plants or the mix you purchase for repotting your plants. The larvae feed on organic matter in the soil and don’t usually damage your plants. You can hang up yellow sticky traps to catch the flying adults and reduce their numbers. You can also purchase diatomaceous earth and dig the white powder into the top layer of your potted plants and stir it into potting mix when planting or transplanting. Some people have moderate success with placing a layer of sand or grit on top of the soil. Another useful product is Growstone Gnat Nix, a recycled glass product that you spread on top of the soil. You can find it at some garden centers or online. None of these tricks are 100% successful, especially if you keep the pots continually moist. Let your pots dry out between watering to reduce the success of the pesky gnats.
Fruit flies hatch from the peel of fruit. If you have a compost or garbage bin that has not been emptied in a while, you might see the odd fruit fly in your house. If you like to compost with red wiggler worms, it’s best to avoid feeding them banana peels or citrus fruit. Once you have an outbreak of fruit flies in your worm bin, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them.
Claudia is exploring and sharing permaculture ideas in Edmonton.