If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know how much we like natural solutions to plant issues.
Pest management is one of the most common issues that both indoor and outdoor plants face.
Fungus gnats are among the most aggravating. They are a nuisance even if they do not do as much harm as thrips or insects. However, not all pests are bugs, and one of the most valuable as well as common helpful pests or natural killers is the humble ladybug. These adorable little pests are well-known for their voracious appetites and fondness for aphids and several other common plant bugs as a food source. So, what happens when you opt to combat fungal gnats by introducing ladybugs into your yard?
Do Ladybugs Eat Fungi Gnats?
As much as we’d want to say yes, the truth is that ladybugs only eat grown-up fungal gnats.
This means that you can control but not eliminate a fungus gnat infestation with ladybugs alone.
Why do you have Fungi Gnats as well?
This is an Extremely Important Inquiry (VIQ) that growers frequently forget to ask themselves.
Fungus gnats get their name from the fact that they eat a lot of fungus.
Thus, the fungal gnats might be a sign and symptom of a larger issue.
Check the moisture level surrounding the plant to make sure it isn’t too high.
You will also need to investigate the soil surface for obvious indicators of fungal growth or mold.
There’s also a chance that the fungus gnats have appeared as a result of fungal origin rot, so keep an eye out for any signs of this dangerous disease.
It will be impossible to entirely remove the fungal gnats until you find the source of your problem.
Why Are Fungi Gnats Better Than Ladybugs?
Ladybugs are formidable predators. Ladybugs prey on a variety of harmful pests, including aphids, fungus gnats, mealybugs, thrips, and certain grubs and larvae. The fungal gnat larvae, on the other hand, are a bit different. Adult fungal gnats will lay eggs in bare earth, and the larvae will remain below ground, eating your plant’s roots as well as any nearby fungi. Only when they reach adulthood do the fungal gnats appear and expose themselves to the famished ladybugs. For this reason, ladybugs can help keep an invasion in control, but they won’t be able to completely eradicate it as long as the females are able to lay new eggs.
Use Ladybugs as Part of a Broader Treatment
Even though ladybugs can’t get rid of fungal gnats on their own, it doesn’t mean they’re useless.
On the contrary, they will aid in reducing the adult population while you concentrate on the eggs and grubs.
Together, you can eliminate large incursions in a matter of weeks.
Ladybugs may be attracted to your yard by include plants that they enjoy, and you can also buy them online.
Just be careful: if the ladybugs don’t have a reason to stay, they’ll leave your plants and move somewhere else.
- As soon as your ladybugs arrive at the office, you’ll need to eliminate any fungus that are attracting the fungal gnats.
- Neem soil soaks can help your plants eliminate fungal infestations as well as some of the larvae.
- You’ll want to deal with any form of root rot as soon as possible because it may easily kill your plant.
- Fungicides may also be required to treat the fungal infection.
Keeping the Pests at Bay
- Another way that will undoubtedly allow your ladybug companions to wreck the fungal gnat problem is to utilize barriers.
- Female fungal gnats require a location to settle and infuse their eggs directly into the soil, but what happens when they can’t get to that soil?
- A layer of gritty sand can be an excellent barrier since it allows water to soak in while keeping gnats out.
Diatomaceous earth is another significant impediment.
- Food grade DE will lacerate the exoskeletons of any bug that comes into contact with it, but will not harm your children or pets.
- This remedy works best inside your house, but it can also work outside if you reapply it every couple of days.
- A compost layer is the third hurdle that most outdoor cultivators recommend.
- Pine needles or bark mulch can make it harder for fungal gnats to enter or exit the soil while also protecting the plant’s roots from cold.
- It also allows water to get through and might be a little more attractive (as well as a little more nourishing for your plants) than sand.
Don’t Forget About Other Allies
Even while ladybugs are one of the most appealing insect killers available and may be released both inside and outside, they are not the only option.
Many small bird species will undoubtedly consume parasites such as fungus gnats.
Similarly, a common backyard ally is a parasitical wasp, which lays her mes bugs so the larvae may feed their victim while active – horrible but incredibly effective.
Neem cakes are an excellent plant meal that may eradicate grubs and underground larvae without harming earthworms or beneficial nematodes.
Finally, unless you have a plant that is sensitive to neem, using a neem soil soaking or foliar spray every two weeks can help protect your plants from various types of fungus, minimizing the risk of fungal gnat infiltration.