Protecting plants from parasites: 3 unusual tips to try to combat fungus gnats

by Mark Bennett

November 11, 2023

Protecting plants from parasites: 3 unusual tips to try to combat fungus gnats
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When you put a lot of time into caring for your plants, it's a shame to see them fall prey to parasites. But fortunately, there are numerous ways to protect your plants. In the specific case of the so-called "fungus gnats", i.e. small insects that belong to the families Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae, there are different methods that can be adopted.

In addition to buying commercial insecticides, there are a number of other things we can do - read on to find out more:

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Fungus gnats: Keep them at bay with sand

Fungus gnats: Keep them at bay with sand

Sciencia58/Wikimedia Commons

The main reason for the appearance of fungus gnats on plants is excessive humidity that develops in the soil around the plant. So, in addition to careful watering and making sure that the soil drains properly, you can use the following protective remedy:

This involves sprinkling sand on top of the soil, around the base of the plant. In this way, the adult insects will not be attracted to the damp soil and will not want to lay their eggs there. And it will still be possible to water the plants: the water will simply filter through the sand to the soil below.

Be careful, however: sand on the surface also hinders evaporation, so you will need to reduce your watering a little.

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Use cinnamon against parasites

Use cinnamon against parasites

Alabama Extension/Wikimedia Commons

Fungus gnats, like many other insects, are repelled by the scent of cinnamon. This method consists of mixing a little cinnamon powder into the soil inside the pots, especially in the upper layer.

Cinnamon is an anti-fungal and repells gnats. Scientific studies, show that cinnamon essential oil which, when mixed with a vegetable oil as a carrier (neem oil, flax oil, for example), works best.

The matches tip

The matches tip

Suzy Hazelwood/pxhere

It might seem a little bizarre, but there is a tip that can work both as a fertilizer and as a pesticide for plant pots: it involves sticking matches upside down/head first into the pots. Obviously, you need a few matches and you shouldn't insert them in such a way that they damage the roots, but only so that the match heads are under the soil. And obviously, we are talking about using matches that have not yet been lit.

The phosphorus, sulfur and magnesium contained in the material making up the matches heads all contribute to the health of plants. Sulfur, for example, repells many parasites, including fungus gnats.

Tara Winstead/Pexels

Tara Winstead/Pexels

In short, it is worth trying these remedies if you want to get rid of fungus gnats and return your plants to full health!

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