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Topic: Houseplant infestation -help!  (Read 1098 times)
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longlivequeen
« on: April 10, 2007 09:07:54 AM »

Forgive me if this is in the wrong place. I think I bought some infected soil without knowing it and now my plants have little bugs in their soil. They leave little yellow round (eggs?) and I'm not sure what pest they are. Tips on control? I'm willing to repot all my plants if necessary but does anyone have any tips that are less drastic? What are these little buggers anyway???  Huh
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007 09:10:37 AM by longlivequeen » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2007 09:17:41 AM »

 Undecided

the only thing i can think is fungus gnats
if this is the case, they tend to thrive in moist soil, up to 2" deep and feed off roots.
i had them in my cat grass (my theory is that since the roots are so shallow they love cat grass...just my theory though)

you can dry out the soil, don't water your plants for a while
might be better to repot though. you can reuse that soil but will have to sterilize it by putting it in the oven - don't think it's hard to do, google for correct times/temps

take care of this problem before they hatch and lay more eggs! they hatch in about 3-6 days. keep an eye out for fruit fly like beings - fungus gnats look like fruit flies in that they're tiny gnats so yeah...

good luck!

oh oh! there's also this powder you can get that you put in the soil and it kills all insects but won't hurt your plant or anything. my parents use it to bring outdoor plants in in the fall. don't know if it's safe for pets though so if you have any, check that first
but it would be the simplest solution
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longlivequeen
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2007 09:20:56 AM »

Thank you! My guess from my searches was aphids. Does anyone think that is a possibility or are gnats more likely?
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longlivequeen
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2007 09:39:21 AM »

Does anyone know about sterilising soil in a microwave? I heard it works if you do it for 15 minutes but it just sounds kind of bizarre. Will it kill anything ( how about my plants?)
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longlivequeen
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2007 10:03:30 AM »

I think I need to rename this board houseplant gardening for an imbecil. Does anybody here know the proper timings for OVEN sterilization? My searches yielded three different things. As for the microwave, it just dawned on me that I don't want radioactive  plants.
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sunnyskies*4*
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007 03:51:00 PM »

I've never done the soil in the oven thing, but I have heard/read that it really stinks.... apparently!  I've also read about placing the soil onto a piece of black plastic (garbage bag would work) and leaving it in the sun for a number of days.

As far as the aphids go I've had great success with a spray bottle filled with water (approx. 1 cup of water) and add some dish soap (approx 1/2 tsp) -- the real hand dish washing stuff (something like Dawn is good), not the dishwasher stuff.  Also make sure it is not anti-bacterial or anything like that.

Once you've got your spray bottle all ready to go you just spray onto the leaves of your plant and make sure to get the bottom side of the leaves as well since lots of bugs like to hide there. Also check any other hiding spots -- like where leaves overlap and stuff like that. You can also safely use this soapy water on the soil.

Hope this helps!
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2007 04:29:05 PM »

Fungus knats! So THAT'S what's been killing my mint plant. Thanks for posting this, I thought I was hallucinating.
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2007 04:33:44 PM »

I used "neem" once for something similar, but it smelled horrible. I think it worked, all I really remember is the stench!

(courtesy of the not-very-helpful department)
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longlivequeen
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007 05:20:33 PM »

Thanks everyone. Btw, fungus gnats, I've heard, are treatable without pesticides if you use a potato, leave it out for a day and throw it out. The gnats lay their eggs in it, so repeat this until the larvae are not there (no idea how long this takes) Heard wine traps the adults. Now, any way of doing this without attracting small mammals into my apartment???  Huh Huh
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sunnyskies*4*
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007 07:18:31 AM »

On one of the gardening forums I belong to one of the members accidently put peppermint tea on her plants (instead of camomile tea which good for preventing 'damp off' in new seedlings).  Anyways, after this incident with the peppermint tea she noticed that the fungus gnats had dissappeared. The trick would be to water all the plants with the peppermint tea so that they can't jump over to another container.  Obviously this is not "scientifically tested" or anything like that but it has apparently worked for others that have tried it since.

Ofcourse, the main trick for getting rid of fungus gnats is to not over water or have standing water in the dishes under the container.  Oh, and also, this trick came from Ken Beatty (a Canadian gardener who used to have a gardening talkshow) he always said to "treat the traps" as in the traps in the pipes of the sinks. His recommendation was to put some veg. oil down the drain at nights or at least during a time when the sinks won't be used for several hours.  Apparently the gnats like to lay eggs in any standing water so putting oil in it hurts/kills the eggs.
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