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Fighting Fungus Gnats in Your House Plants? Try This Insecticide-Free Solution

Aloe vera plant in a pot with the soil covered in aquarium gravel.
Thana Kongdoung/Shutterstock

You’ve decorated your home with beautiful live plants. They cleanse the air and add beauty to your home. Then all of a sudden, you have little gnats turning your lovely plants into their home and flying around in your face. Here’s what to do.

A couple of years ago, my sister brought me an aloe she propagated from one of her giants. Along with it, she brought her fungus gnat infestation. I didn’t notice until the gnats had spread through my other pants, and by then, they seemed out of control.

We tried gnat and fruit fly removal systems of all kinds, and nothing worked. Then, my sister tried something that did work, and it worked for me, too. Not only effective, this method is simple and non-toxic, and it offers a solution to fix your current gnat problem while preventing the problem in the future.

The best part of this fix is that you don’t need to transplant your plants. You will need some space at the top of the pot to place some small stones. Those little stones are affordable, too, so this isn’t an expensive fix.

Nix those gnats with these two simple steps.

Purchase a Bag of Aquarium Gravel

Head to your local pet store (or even the pet aisles of a large big-box grocer) and look for the tiny pebble rocks they sell in the pet aisle for fish tanks.

Using aquarium gravel is a great option because it’s pre-rinsed (so no dust like you’d have with landscaping aggregate or similarly small, bulk-purchase gravel), and you can find it in a variety of colors. Choose colors that match the pots your plants are in or colors that match the room where you keep your plants.

Place Stones at Least a Quarter Inch Deep on Top of the Soil

If you need to, remove a little bit of dirt from the tops of your pots to make space for the stones. You’ll need room for a quarter-inch thickness of stones atop the soil. Sprinkle the stones on, and push them gently into the dirt to make sure they’re in there snug. It’s crucial you use enough stones to deter the bugs.

The stones don’t stop water from getting to the roots of your plants when you give them a drink, but they keep gnats from getting in to lay eggs in the soil. The ones that are already in there will be trapped under the layer of gravel.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »

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