The gnat or soil fly
Who is the gnat ?
The gnat is not a small fly (although it is also nicknamed "mushroom fly"), nor a fruit fly or vinegar fly, but a tiny flying insect of the order of a few millimeters which belongs most often to the family Sciaridae.
There are several types that are quite difficult to differentiate from each other. The species that cause the most damage in plantations belong to the genera Bradysia, Lycoriella and Sciara.
Although resembling mosquitoes, the gnat does not bite.
The gnat lives only a few days, so it must very quickly mate and lay its eggs.
Gnats looking for a place to lay their eggs may come near you, but it's only your warmth that attracts them. You can also find it on "rotten" fruit or any decaying organic matter.
What it mainly seeks is good soil in which to lay its eggs (the dried blood used as fertilizer attracts the genus Bradysia).
These eggs will give birth to small white maggots which will feed on the organic matter present in the soil.
After a few weeks, the larvae will pupate and turn into adults who will reproduce...
This cycle will last as long as the temperatures are favourable, so you can get overrun very quickly.
The gnat is neither harmful nor useful. It is part of the food chain like many insects.
Is the gnat harmful ?
For horticulturists, gnat can be considered pests but in a home they cannot be considered pests (although in some cases they can attack your potted plants).
Normally, the larvae only feed on the soil. But if the soil of your plant is poor in organic matter, the plants are weakened, poorly maintained or the population of larvae is too high, the gnat larvae attack the root hairs. It can also dig galleries in bulbs or main stems.
In summary, we can therefore consider that the presence of gnats in a home is more unpleasant than dangerous.
Preventive actions to limit the presence of gnats
- Avoid buying "bulk" potting soil that has not been disinfected before marketing
- Close the potting soil well if you haven't used it completely.
- Avoid using dried blood fertilizers.
- Avoid putting your seedlings near a garbage can containing organic waste.
- Avoid over-watering your plants.
- Avoid leaving damaged fruits or any other plants lying around
Our other preventive advice
1 - Eliminate sources of moisture : House midges love damp environments. Be sure to fix water leaks, regularly empty saucers under plant pots, and clear drains to eliminate breeding grounds.
2 - Keep your kitchen clean : Food scraps attract house gnats. Be sure to close food containers, clean kitchen surfaces and empty the trash regularly. Regular cleaning will prevent gnats from finding food sources.
3 - Use natural repellents : Essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender can be used to create homemade repellents. Spray them in high-risk areas to repel gnats.
4 - Check your indoor plants : House midges can breed in plant soil. Regularly check if larvae are present in the soil and repot the plants if necessary.
5 - Ventilate your house : Midges prefer confined atmospheres. Open the windows and let the air circulate in your house to discourage them.
6 - Clean drain pipes : House midges often breed in dirty or clogged drain pipes. Use specific products to unclog and clean these pipes.
How to eliminate the gnat ?
House midges can quickly become a source of annoyance in our habitats, but rest assured, there are simple and effective ways to control these little flying insects.
It is not useful to use strong pesticides to destroy the midge. These products will probably eliminate them but they are not very healthy, neither for your health, nor for that of the plants for that matter. Our Ecodoo insecticide and Aries flying insecticide based on pyrethrum are more than enough to kill the adults.
And in the field of fumigation, the Habitat Biovétol fogger will give excellent results on this type of insect. Insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), intended for basic treatment of the habitat. Very volatile, the solution is deposited in the smallest recesses where parasites and insects lodge. Immediate action.
For the larvae possibly found in the soil of your plants and which like humidity, the simplest and most effective is to let the soil dry out as much as possible until the plant shows signs of thirst. Repeat this operation several times, the maggots should not be able to survive this lack of water for very long.
And if you have a horse, a pony, a donkey or even a cow, our ALT'O ZINSECT insect repellent (spray or gel) will be perfectly suited to protect it from the midges that disturb them during the summer period. A 100% vegetable formulation combining 3 recognized and very effective active ingredients to keep these insects at bay which spoil their daily lives.