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Getting rid of tiny flying insects in potted plants

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Armadillolawncare, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    I have a neighbor who has a large potted plant that she keeps outside during the warmer months. Now that we are getting colder she would like to bring it inside but she wants to rid it of tiny flying insects that appear to come from the soil in the pot. She also wants to make sure there are no spiders. The tiny flying insects look like knats or something. Any suggestions?
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Probably the easiest and cheapest way would be to scoop out and 1-2" of the soil and replace it with some fresh soil. If that doesn't work you may need to take more drastic measures, like a pyrethrin spray.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I had the same problem once which was really annoying since the potting soil I used was a premium brand like miracle grow or Scott's. I had done about 15 pots of various sizes for a client and a few weeks later there wee these swarms of tiny flying creature coming from the soil.

    I used some nematodes from Arbico out of Tucson or Marana AZ. shipped the next day. Mixed them up in a bucket and problem was solved in about two weeks. I forget the quantity or variety of nematodes I got. I just explained the problem to them and they asked a few questions and sent me the stuff.
  4. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Gerry, we are talking about a potted plant that needs to be moved inside now, not in a couple of weeks or a month. If removing and replacing the soil does not work, the pyrethrin spray will. A very small amount sprayed directly on the surface of the potting soil when it is outside should suffice. He didn't ask for long term control of soil gnats indoors, he asked how to get rid of them in a single pot that is outside so it can be moved inside. If you need long term indoor control then nematodes are obviously the better option. How about we be realistic about our recommendations heh.
  6. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    Pyrethrin spray is a poor choice in any situation. The stuff is a real health hazard, or don't you concern yourself with that problem??? Is this another example of your scientific training??? I've found that using seaweed spray on my potted plants before I bring them indoors removes most insect problems. And it's a lot safer to use than Pyrethrin.
  7. Nate@TLCS

    Nate@TLCS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    What was your temp this morning Gerry? Mine was 30ish. For a quick-fix.... insecticide is not a bad choice. I personally use "conquer or tempo sc ultra" for most applications around the house. If this person is taking the plant in now.... there really is no other choice. How long will it take to see the effects of removing a little soil? Spray it with tempo(@8ml per gal) wait 2 hours put a little water on it after the two hours and you'll be good.
  8. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    Sorry Nate, but using insecticides like this is never a good choice, even in this case with an organic insecticide. What else does the insecticide kill, the non-targeted organisms? There are better choices than using synthetic chemicals.

    Temps here on in the 30's. I moved my plants in a couple of weeks ago as a little planning and forethought goes a long way. I sprayed all of my potted trees with seaweed while watering them and I have no insect problems. No killing of soil organisms I want in my soil. No health risks from using any of those products.
  9. Nate@TLCS

    Nate@TLCS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    Not very many people I know have the foresight to move their plants in early, sad I know. Personally, I really don't want any insects in my house plants....yeah I know bacteria and the like are benificial but gnats(insecticides do not kill bacteria)? I have two huge dracenas, and a host of other "houseplants" if any of them come inside with bugs.... they get sprayed..... they are not food producers, nor are they for anything except for asthetic appeal. Spray 'em now, use nematodes next year, maybe sell it as a service. jmo
  10. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    There are plenty of brands of insecticidal soaps, I use them before I bring the plants in on the leaves and soil. It seems to work for me.
    I guess it depends on what kind of gnats they are. We just had a bunch of gnats recently and I thought I brought them on the plants but they were from the fruit we had just bought at the store.

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