Gnats give off the wrong image swarming around flower and plant displays. Although these mini mosquito-like pests may be flying around flower buckets, it is most likely the eggs arrived in the soil of something potted. Regardless of origin, here is how to handle pesky gnats around your flowers.

 

Make sure plant trays have no standing water. Gnats, like mosquito’s, need water for eggs to hatch. Any source of moisture, mold or fungus is an oasis for gnat infestations. These buggers love sink scum, rotting plant material, wet soil and dirty trash cans so deep cleaning is important—especially the trash cans.

 

If you can identify which plants seem to be harboring eggs, get them out of the department. If it’s not possible to identify the plant culprits here a few suggestions:

 

1. Non- toxic methods:

a) Let plants containers dry as much as possible between watering cycles.

b) Use a top dressing of sand or perlite on the surface of the soil.

c) Make a vinegar trap

  • Fill a wide mouth container (jar) 1/2 way with cider vinegar. Secure with plastic wrap taut with rubber band.
  • Poke a few holes in top and tuck jar into area where gnats are swarming. Vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar) attracts gnats. Once in, they are not coming out.
  • Add fresh vinegar every 2-3 days (fresh vinegar -smell is the key

2.  Deep cleaning—rinse, lather, repeat! Especially in drains and trash cans

 

3. Plant repellants: Incorporate a few garden plants as marigolds, geraniums, lavender, lemon thyme into the display to chase gnats out—these plants repel gnats.

 

4.  Sticky traps—they are crazy for blue or yellow sticky cards (an unlikely fix at store level, efficient as it may be!)

 

Insecticide spray

Spray the soil surface of plants (especially those plants that arrived just before the problem arose) to kill larva and adult gnats