If you live alone and cannot afford to care for a dog or cat, go out and get a couple of potted house plants to keep you company.
Caring for these house plants will not only give you a whole new purpose in life and keep you busy.
Doing so may also bring down your anxiety levels, increase your motivation, and allow you to practice an extremely therapeutic form of everyday therapy.
Apart from being excellent for your mental well-being, small planters can also enhance the outlook of your living space, giving it a more homey, welcoming, and modern vibe.
Hence, there is no reason for you not to invest in a bunch of different potted houseplants. However, one key thing to remember is that they are compared to keeping a dog or a cat for a reason.
This is because keeping a potted house plant alive at times can be just as challenging, emotionally draining, and time-consuming as caring for a pet.
Hence, if you do not want to get devastated by a premature house plant’s death, watch out for any little flies buzzing around your plant.
While a few flies may seem harmless, their rapid population and destructive actions will make your living space unpleasant and kill your plants in a very short time.
Moreover, once you notice these flies around one house plant, it will not take long for them to spread over to all your other potted house plants.
Continue reading to learn about what these little flies are, what causes them to populate around different potted house plant species and what happens when no attempts are made to control their population.
Moreover, the article also sheds light on tips to help you get rid of these little flies to contain the situation on time and save your house plants from dying in the United States.
Let’s get started!
What Are the Little Flies in My House Plant?
Although most of the American population has invested in potted house plants, few know what causes their plants to die.
Moreover, many people have reportedly witnessed little winged insects living in their house plant’s soil; however, not many know what those flies are, where they come from, and what can be done to eliminate them.
Before we discuss how to get rid of these flies, let’s first uncover what these flies are.
The little flies are commonly known as gnats or fungal gnats and can be found populating almost all indoor and outdoor plant species.
These flies or gnats are tiny winged insects with small transparent wings and long legs. Although the small size of these flies makes them appear harmless, their accelerated growth rate causes the real problem.
The adult gnats usually can survive up to seven to eight days and have the potential to lay nearly 300 eggs during their lifetime.
It takes only a few days for the egg to hatch and the larvae to come out. Usually, if you poke the soil of your infested house plant with a stick, you will be able to notice the small white-colored larvae wiggling around.
Due to their rapid reproduction, a few small flies can multiply into hundreds of flies in no time, forming a cloud of fungal gnats.
It is usually easier to stop the fungal gnat population from growing while they are still either in the egg or the larvae form.
Once the larva has grown into a winged insect, it gets twice as hard to control them, and they also fly and spread to all other potted house plants more quickly.
Many people who usually do not know how to get rid of the little flies eventually throw out their potted house plants.
However, since they are unaware of what caused the flies to populate their plants in the first place, anytime they buy a new plant, the chances of the entire episode repeating are high.
Hence, if your house plants have a cloud of little flies buzzing around, you must understand what caused these insects to populate your plants.
Continue reading to learn all about this.
What Causes Flies to Populate a Potted House Plant’s Soil?
Anyone who enjoys caring for their potted house plants complains about getting anxious and irritated when they spot little flies buzzing around their house plants.
Although getting rid of the little flies can fix the situation, the results will be temporary. The flies will return when you repeat the mistakes you initially made.
Hence, let us look at what causes these nasty flies to lay their eggs in your house plants so you can identify your mistakes and correct them to fix this gnarly problem permanently.
The following are some reasons that may lead to fungal gnats populating your house plants:
You Are Overwatering Your Potted House Plant
People devastated by a potted house plant’s death caused by underwatering usually start overwatering their house plants to prevent another premature plant death.
However, they are unaware that only a few house plant species need a lot of water. Hence, you must refrain from overwatering your plant if you are not growing indoor bamboo shoots or money plants.
Every plant has a limited water retention potential. When you add excess water to their soil, the roots stop absorbing any more water when the plant cells’ water concentration is fully saturated.
If the excess water continues to sit in the pot, it creates a moist and warm medium ideal for fungal growth.
If the situation is not addressed at once and no fungicide is added to the house plant’s soil on time, the fungus will grow to the plant’s roots, causing them to rot.
Once the potted house plant’s soil is full of fungal growth and decaying plant matter, small flies and fungal gnats get attracted to lay their eggs in the soil.
These small flies thrive in moist and warm conditions and feed on fungus and decaying plant matter. If these conditions prevail, it will only take a week for a couple of fungal gnats to multiply into a cloud of thousands of flies.
At this point, getting rid of all the flies without damaging the house plants becomes very challenging, and the only quick solution is to throw out the infested house plant.
Your Potted House Plant is Not Getting Enough Sunlight
Although indoor plants are not adapted to growing in sunny outdoor conditions, some species still need a few hours of daily sunlight to keep growing.
When these potted house plant species are left to grow in dark conditions, several different things may result in gnats populating the house plant.
Firstly, since the leaves of the potted house plant can no longer absorb any sunlight, no more plant food gets photosynthesized.
Hence, without food, the plant no longer has the energy to remain upright and continue its functions. In a day or two, the leaves begin to curl inwards, turn brown, and fall off the soil.
As more and more dead leaves fall off, they make the soil highly nutritious for the fungal gnat population to grow.
Moreover, when a house plant is deprived of any sunlight and heat, the excess water does not get evaporated out of the house plant’s soil.
Instead, water keeps accumulating in the pot every time you overwater it. As a result, fungus and mold begin growing inside the plant’s soil, causing the roots and the stem to rot.
With so much fungus, dead plant matter, and moisture in the soil, gnat reproduction is accelerated, and just within a few days, all other house plants get infested.
You Did Not Treat the Fungus Growing in Your House Plants on Time
If you have been caring for house plants for a while, you probably have already encountered a few house plant fungal infections.
Most people do not know that treating fungus is usually very easy, especially when it is still restricted to the top layer of the plant’s soil.
However, if you unknowingly or deliberately ignore the fungal growth, the fungal population is bound to follow.
Your House is Poorly Ventilated
If you live near the shore or in a region where it rains a lot, you probably know the importance of investing in a ventilation system for your house.
However, if the ventilation system is not up to par and the inner atmosphere of your house remains damp and humid, the atmospheric moisture will keep dampening the soil of your house plants.
As a result, when the plant’s cells are at their absorption limit, the excess moisture will create the perfect environment for fungal growth, attracting little flies to lay their eggs and populate around the plant.
You Have Not Thrown Out the Dead Potted House Plants
A house plant will not always die from neglect and poor care. At times, the plant has aged and will die after getting too old.
If a dead potted house plant is not removed, all its leaves and stem will begin to decay into the plant’s soil. As a result, the soil will become the perfect breeding grounds for small insects and fungal gnats.
Leaving such a house plant around other plants will cause the gnat infestation to spread to other house plants as well.
Why Should the Little Flies in the House Plant be Removed?
The following are some reasons for removing the little flies and gnats from your house plants:
- People invest in small potted house plants primarily for improving the aesthetics of their living space, office, bedroom, etc.
- If small, winged insects populate the pots, the plants will no longer look pleasant and may even trigger stress and anxiety in their caretakers.
- Many potted house plants are extremely expensive and a huge investment. If these plants get attacked by a fungus and gnat infestation, their roots will begin to rot, and the plant will die.
- This may result in financial loss and a lot of mental stress.
- The small flies indicate that fungus is growing inside the house plant. Growing fungus releases spores into the air. If a person breathes in these spores, their physical health can get badly affected.
- The person may suffer from breathing allergies, tremors, nausea, chronic pain, etc.
How to Get Rid of the Little Flies Buzzing Around Your House Plant?
Some easy tips to get rid of the little flies in your house plants are as follows:
- Get educated about the house plant species you buy to know their proper watering and sunlight needs.
- Invest in a good quality ventilation system for your home.
- Check your plants for gnat larva or eggs by stirring the soil with a small stick.
- Place a bowl of vinegar and water next to the house plants to attract and kill the small flies.
- Replace your house plant’s soil as soon as you notice any fungus.
- Use fungal medicines and natural fungicides such as cinnamon to treat an infected plant.
- Throw out a plant that is dead and has flies buzzing around it.
Caring for potted house plants can be relaxing, therapeutic, and calming. However, if you notice nasty little flies buzzing around your planters, your relaxing hobby will trigger stress and anxiety.
If you care to be a responsible plant parent and not a frequent plant murderer, keeping an eye out for small flies, tiny eggs, and larva is important.
Usually, spotting the problem before the larvae have turned into winged insects can help you contain the situation on time.
You may like the following houseplant articles:
- Why is My Potted House Plant Moldy?
- How to Remove Mold from House Plant Soil?
- Can You Be Allergic to Houseplants?
- How to Kill House Plant Bugs
- Why Are My House Plant Leaves Turning Black?
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.