Fungus Gnats Yet Again–For Some Silly Solutions….

I’m just now finding time to catch up on my reading.  I have gardening magazine stacked up from 2011 in some cases.  While this is a great way to spend some winter evenings, it’s also a great way to read some unbelievable stuff.

For example, in two magazines which shall remain nameless, the series of articles that were published in 2012 were almost identical.  It’s got me rethinking whether I need to subscribe to both.  One of my resolutions was to get rid of my paper subscriptions anyway in preparation for the day that I ultimately get a tablet.  I surely don’t need two magazines that publish nearly identical content.  I’ll have to watch this closely in 2013.

But I was interested to see that Organic Gardening, which runs a column by Jessica Walliser called “Good Bug, Bad Bug” (after her book of the same name) did a page on fungus gnats.  She really didn’t have any more information than I already had and have posted about.  And she had the remarkably unhelpful suggestion to repot the plants in sterile soil.

I suppose that might work for those folks that only have a few house plants.  It’s not going to work for me with my 100 or more.

Her column is not at the OG website.  Some other gentleman’s is.  He suggests a beneficial nematode to prey on the fungus gnat larva.  Then he tells you all the circumstances in which this treatment will not work.  So it hardly sounds like the solution I’m looking for.  For those who might be interested in what I’ll call this “non-option,”  you can read about it here.

He also suggests the un-helpful re-potting solution.  Apparently these columnists do not grow house plants themselves or they’d know that most of us have far too many houseplants to make that practical.  Walliser also notes that the population of these critters peaks in winter or early spring, a notoriously poor time to re-pot house plants, which again makes me believe she is not a house plant expert.

I have hit upon my own solution, which I used when potting up some amaryllis in that infected–or shall we say formerly infected–soil over the weekend.  I knew I didn’t want to pot the bulbs up in soil that was infected with adults and possibly larva as well.

I also knew the soil was ridiculously dry and needed to be re-wet before I could reuse it.  So I simply wet the soil with the hottest tap water I could get–which at our house comes out of the tap at 160 degrees (it has to be that hot to run our furnace.  As soon as the furnace goes off, I turn it down to a non-scalding temperature).

I let the soil cool, then potted the bulbs.  No insects flying out of those pots–so far.

Now if only it were safe to water the rest of the plants with water that hot!

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