Soil Gnats

What Are Soil Gnats?

More commonly known as fungus gnats, soil gnats are small flies that primarily develop indoors in soil of potted plants and outdoors:

  • On fungus that grows in mulch
  • Leaf piles
  • Compost
  • Decomposing plant debris

While they can live outdoors, fungus gnats are a much greater nuisance when inside. Because soil stays damp longer in controlled, indoor settings, potted houseplants provide the moisture and decaying plant matter that these pests crave.

Why Are They a Problem?

When they gather in large numbers, adult soil gnats annoy and overwhelm homeowners. However, the pests don't bite and are typically just a nuisance.

Larvae, on the other hand, cause plenty of damage since they feed on plant roots and root hairs as they grow and develop. A heavy infestation may cause plants to wilt and growth be stunted.

How to Control Soil Gnats

Overwatering potted plants is the best way to invite soil gnat problems. To avoid infestations, simply wait for the potting soil to dry completely before watering again.

Insecticides are also available, but without the knowledge required to use them properly, homeowners could easily do more damage than good. The most effective response to soil gnat infestations is contacting the pest experts at Orkin for help.