Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests
Title: Fungus gnats on indoor plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Austin and I work in an office where we like to have plants. Recently we started to get these annoying tiny, little nits, how can we get rid of them without harming my plants. Help they are all over!

ANSWER:

If by nits you mean gnats, you are probably suffering from the bane of all indoor gardeners-high humidity, with the unfortunate side effect of fungus gnats! With all the rain we have had in Central Texas this year, even the outdoor plants, not to mention the people, are beginning to get a little moldy. The gnats are a very small fly who choose places where mold and mildew is growing, like potting soil, to lay their eggs. Indoor plants are at the mercy of the environment people want to live in, and when mildew gets going in the potting soil, the pesky little gnats appear. To control the gnats, you must control the indoor growing conditions, or try to get rid of the mildew. Small sticky sheets are made to catch the flying gnats. They won't get rid of all of them, but at least it will help you see the extent of the problem. Also, misting the plant with a very weak solution of an insecticidal soap might discourage freshly hatched gnats. And you might check to see if the plants are being watered too much. You know how it is, everyone who passes by feels like the plants might need a little drinkie. And the little gnats will thank you for improving their living conditions.

 

More Pests Questions

Why are small leaf pieces aligned on top of exposed root?
July 11, 2011 - Hi. An oak tree in my yard has one of its exposed roots covered in hundreds of small pieces of leaves. The pieces follow exactly the shape of the root above the surface. What insect would do this and...
view the full question and answer

Tiny holes oozing sap from Austin
August 22, 2012 - My ash tree becomes loaded with butterflies on the trunk. At closer inspection, I see they are drinking sap which is coming from small holes in the trunk. Are the butterflies creating the holes? I ...
view the full question and answer

Are non-native hostas causing fly invasion from Eastpointe MI
July 14, 2013 - I live in Michigan with a small backyard. I have 5 large hostas with the purple flower blooms which are located by my patio. I was wondering if they can be causing my large population of unwanted flie...
view the full question and answer

Insects on non-native euonymus in Lake Orion MI
June 23, 2010 - I had a greenlane euonymus that had a few flies last year but was infested with thousands this year. We ripped it out, it was an 8 year old plant. Do you know why they are attracted to it now?
view the full question and answer

How to Control Pests on Plants for Sale
May 15, 2014 - I am renting a closed spot at a flea market, and am having trouble with several infestations at once, and I am not sure how to control them. I am currently having trouble with aphids, whiteflies, and ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.