Control of Fungus Gnats and Springtails
Question: What pesticide do you use in your regular, preventative, spraying program? I would like something to control fungus gnats and springtails in particular.
Answer: Since we spend most or our days working amongst our plants, we try to use toxic chemicals as infrequently as possible. In short, we don’t have a “preventative” program of spraying. We do use them, but only when a specific problem makes it necessary. Fortunately, we’ve never found pesticides to be needed to control fungus gnats or springtails.
Fungus gnats are those very tiny black flies that hover around your plants and in your lights. They’re especially common in summertime, since they easily fly through window screens. Springtails are very tiny, light-colored, thread-like pests that can be found on the surface of damp soil or in water saucers, and can “jump about”. Neither are much of a threat to your plant’s health, unless found in very large numbers.
We’ve found that the simplest solution is to let the soil dry between waterings. The plant needn’t go limp but, since both these pests desire moist conditions, eliminating the damp environment will eliminate the pest. For those using wick or capillary-matting systems to water plants, let the reservoir/mat dry thoroughly before watering. Also, these pests, like many others, feed on decaying organic matter–meaning dead or rotting leaves and blossoms. Good culture and regular grooming can prevent a host of potential problems.