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Fungus Gnat Plague

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#1
PainMan

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THE PROBLEM

I have fungus gnats. They are killing the plants that keep my spouse and I in the medication we need to survive and the battle is pissing me off. I could really use help from a person who has successfully killed the fuckers. A person who has killed off a serious infestation using organic methods...not a person who is guessing or passing on second hand information.

COMPLICATIONS

We cannot use spays to do this. Everybody in the family is made sick from sprays. My partner is at serious risk from them. All the adults in the the house all have environmental illness problems (the kids probably have genes that predispose them) with very bad reactions to that sort of crap. I really don't want that stuff around our kids or animals either. Those sprays are neurotoxins anyway. The act on the nervous system of the bugs to kill them and we humans have the same sort of nervous system. That means that if it hurts the bugs it hurts us too. If a chemical spray will kill a bug, it has the potential to kill a person. Most of them were invented originally as nerve agents anyway.

So, we must grow organically, in soil. I have never had a problem of this size before. They are crawling all over and through my soil. My plants go from lovely dark green to dead in about 2 months.

RESEARCH

I have read everything that I can find about fungus gnats, and most of it is dead wrong according to insect specialists of one sort or another (and experienced gardners). There are tons of rumors about how to control them which do not work. Here are the recommendations I have seen.

1 - * USE A TOP LAYER OF SAND OR ANOTHER NON FOOD SUBSTANCE

Supposedly if you put a layer on the top of your soul, a layer of straight potting soil or sand or perlite (a thing that has very little nutrition) it will keep the bastards down. Sand is supposed to totally confuse the adults. None opf this really works well (tried it and all that much sand was spendy on a disability pension). Sand does nothing to stop them. Neither does potting soil. The just cralw through it and over it, and they *EAT* the potting soil as it rots. It does nothing to stop them. They also can just crawl straight on though the top layer down to the fertile organic matter plant growing layer. They also crawl though (in and out of) the holes in the bottom of the pots through the clay balls and perlite layer in the bottom). Nothing stops them other than squishing them.


2 - * LET THE SOIL DRY OUT TO KILL THE LARVA

Drying out the soil cannot kill them, because they will just go dormant. Remember, these things live in the desert too. Gnat eggs can just sit around waiting in the soil, even in the sand (dormant through an entire hot Aussie summer), and them come on out hatching in huge swarms like the clappers right after the first rain.

Yes, letting your soil dry properly between waterings is important and will suppress them for a short time (even letting your plants wilt slightly) - but they come right back as soon as you water (even a little water, all done underneath the top layer). After all, the eggs are deep in the pots with the roots, down where the water has to be to keep the plants alive.

3 - * soapy water with cayenne (and/or garlic, or peroxide or alcohol)

I have read this one all over the place. It did work for spider mites for me one year, but it seems useless (by wide consensus) on fungus gnats.

4 - * bio controls (BTi and friendly nematodes or insects)

This seems to be the only thing that actually helps without harm to the plants, but just -TRY- and find a place that sells the right bio-controls anywhere in OZ. They are (supposedly)_ an "off the shelf" thing in America, but are not available at *ANY* of the plant and garden shops I go to. Most of them have never head of the stuff at all. I have tried the web, and I can't find an Australian source for bugs/bacteria/nematodes web that has the RIGHT kind of critters (and all that stuff is ungodly expensive - over a hundred bucks for a small order).

5- * WATER THE PLANTS WITH HOT WATER

Supposedly if you water with hot water =NOT BOILING WATER= just water that is at the edge of what your hands can stand for about 30 seconds of exposure, it kills the larva deep in the soil. I have read that this worked for some people, but I know that hot water of this sort will damage the root structure of the plant. It seems to me that what people are doing in this case is HOPING that the hot water will not kill the (already sick and dying) plants. Kinda like chemo-therapy...it might save the plant or it might kill it.


So, if anybody has any well tested solutions please tell me. I have restricted water in a big way for a month (still have huge swarms with them crawling all through the soil). I started out my pots with a layer of plain potting soil at the top (which made no difference). I added sand a while back (which made no difference).

any serious help would be appreciated.
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#2
ConvexConepiece

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Either wait around or search for one of Radic's many posts containing his sworn by and proven recipe involving collecting as many of them as you can, squash and mix with water, let it brew for a while, strain, then dilute with water and spray.

Goodluck.
  • 0

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#3
Frazz

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after reading of your situation and i do hope iam wrong, but i think you have already lost the battle because once fungal gnats are entrenched within a growing situation its is often more practical, efficient and far less stressful to the grower to abandon the grow and start again from scratch ...
i tell you this in hindsight as i have had occasion to engaged in pitched battles with the fungal gnat and yet i was ultimately beaten by these terrorists of the plant world ...
i too tried everything and with great determination to win, and whilst i did finally eliminate the fungal gnat i also killed my plants in the battle ... and i can assure you it was a crushing blow

so unless you are prepared to do exactly as Gibbo suggested, though i have no personal knowledge of effectiveness of Radic's method i certainly urge you to try it as Radic is well experienced in these methods ...

otherwise you have exhausted all other possible remedies, though i'm a little unclear if you wish to pay the asking prices of bio bugs and pursue that avenue?
in any case i will leave you a link to an Aust. company who does deal in some bio bugs
http://biologicalser...om.au/index.htm


also there is another mob called Ecogrow who claim to have had astonishingly good results against fungal gnats using Entomopathogenic nematodes, once again i have not used their services and can only point you i their direction
http://www.ecogrow.c...F...&thisPest=1
this site might be acting up ... try this also
http://www.ecogrow.com.au/default.asp

best o' luck
:bongon:
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#4
loylty gets u nothing

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get some maidenwell diatominous earth(sp?)
put it ontop of the medium
the only way to remove a large infestation is with chemicals ime
apart from that maybe clone any healthy plants
shut down and start fresh
after sterilising the whole area
all the best
bil
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SIGNATURE OFChaMPIONS
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#5
bufo marinus

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Scarid 10
Pull the mothers out of the pot, break off most of the perlite/dirt/coco whatever and sit them in a bucket with the Scarid 10 mix for 15-20 mins.
Repeat or thoroughly soak in pot again in 7 days when the eggs have hatched, very important.
Scarid 10 is non systemic and it works as easy as above

Decaying plant matter/coco or moist conditions in the rootzone attracts them so keep an eye on the coco or soil your using and how well draining the pots are
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#6
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THE PROBLEM

I have fungus gnats. They are killing the plants that keep my spouse and I in the medication we need to survive and the battle is pissing me off. I could really use help from a person who has successfully killed the fuckers. A person who has killed off a serious infestation using organic methods...not a person who is guessing or passing on second hand information.

COMPLICATIONS

We cannot use spays to do this. Everybody in the family is made sick from sprays. My partner is at serious risk from them. All the adults in the the house all have environmental illness problems (the kids probably have genes that predispose them) with very bad reactions to that sort of crap. I really don't want that stuff around our kids or animals either. Those sprays are neurotoxins anyway. The act on the nervous system of the bugs to kill them and we humans have the same sort of nervous system. That means that if it hurts the bugs it hurts us too. If a chemical spray will kill a bug, it has the potential to kill a person. Most of them were invented originally as nerve agents anyway.

So, we must grow organically, in soil. I have never had a problem of this size before. They are crawling all over and through my soil. My plants go from lovely dark green to dead in about 2 months.

RESEARCH

I have read everything that I can find about fungus gnats, and most of it is dead wrong according to insect specialists of one sort or another (and experienced gardners). There are tons of rumors about how to control them which do not work. Here are the recommendations I have seen.

1 - * USE A TOP LAYER OF SAND OR ANOTHER NON FOOD SUBSTANCE

Supposedly if you put a layer on the top of your soul, a layer of straight potting soil or sand or perlite (a thing that has very little nutrition) it will keep the bastards down. Sand is supposed to totally confuse the adults. None opf this really works well (tried it and all that much sand was spendy on a disability pension). Sand does nothing to stop them. Neither does potting soil. The just cralw through it and over it, and they *EAT* the potting soil as it rots. It does nothing to stop them. They also can just crawl straight on though the top layer down to the fertile organic matter plant growing layer. They also crawl though (in and out of) the holes in the bottom of the pots through the clay balls and perlite layer in the bottom). Nothing stops them other than squishing them.


2 - * LET THE SOIL DRY OUT TO KILL THE LARVA

Drying out the soil cannot kill them, because they will just go dormant. Remember, these things live in the desert too. Gnat eggs can just sit around waiting in the soil, even in the sand (dormant through an entire hot Aussie summer), and them come on out hatching in huge swarms like the clappers right after the first rain.

Yes, letting your soil dry properly between waterings is important and will suppress them for a short time (even letting your plants wilt slightly) - but they come right back as soon as you water (even a little water, all done underneath the top layer). After all, the eggs are deep in the pots with the roots, down where the water has to be to keep the plants alive.

3 - * soapy water with cayenne (and/or garlic, or peroxide or alcohol)

I have read this one all over the place. It did work for spider mites for me one year, but it seems useless (by wide consensus) on fungus gnats.

4 - * bio controls (BTi and friendly nematodes or insects)

This seems to be the only thing that actually helps without harm to the plants, but just -TRY- and find a place that sells the right bio-controls anywhere in OZ. They are (supposedly)_ an "off the shelf" thing in America, but are not available at *ANY* of the plant and garden shops I go to. Most of them have never head of the stuff at all. I have tried the web, and I can't find an Australian source for bugs/bacteria/nematodes web that has the RIGHT kind of critters (and all that stuff is ungodly expensive - over a hundred bucks for a small order).

5- * WATER THE PLANTS WITH HOT WATER

Supposedly if you water with hot water =NOT BOILING WATER= just water that is at the edge of what your hands can stand for about 30 seconds of exposure, it kills the larva deep in the soil. I have read that this worked for some people, but I know that hot water of this sort will damage the root structure of the plant. It seems to me that what people are doing in this case is HOPING that the hot water will not kill the (already sick and dying) plants. Kinda like chemo-therapy...it might save the plant or it might kill it.


So, if anybody has any well tested solutions please tell me. I have restricted water in a big way for a month (still have huge swarms with them crawling all through the soil). I started out my pots with a layer of plain potting soil at the top (which made no difference). I added sand a while back (which made no difference).

any serious help would be appreciated.

the best and safest way is a product called gnatem and i think ecogrow supplies them and a bit of diatominous earth in your medium will prevent infestation
  • 0

#7
PainMan

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lol :) I solved my problem. :) :)

I went online and did a great deal of research and the only thing that seriously works well that is NOT a nasty poison, other than bio-controls (which have varying levels of effect) is - Neem oil.


NEEM

Neem kills almost every bad bug while leaving the good ones alone. I got the stuff online, in an organic (certified) form for a whole lot less than anything else that would do any good.

It is not only non-toxic to humans but it is good for us. It kills bad bacteria and virii and has been used for many centuries in India to cure just about everything (although it does taste very bad). Frankly I would not eat the stuff anyway, becasue eating enough will make a person temporarily sterile (testing on rates and mice show that it causes temporary sterility in men...yup...it is a male oral birth control.

It is also used in pet soaps to kill fleas and ticks, and natural birth control spermicides in India. It also kills bad fungi, virii and bacteria. It is so good at killing nasties that the spermicides I mentioned are also good at preventing many sexually transmitted diseases.

ACTIONS

It makes the bugs unable to grow/shed the exoskeleton of their bodies. They are no longer able to eat and grow properly, so given time and regular spraying it kills just about anything. Bugs are supposed to die off in a week or so, they are unable to mature and lay more eggs. The cycle takes a while to break. I used a trick to speed up their demise.

- - - neem oil pesticide mix - - -

TO use need oil as a pesticide you need to mix it into an emulsion first, because it is an oil and will not mix with water without help. Liquid soaps (I use an all natural laundry soap) does the trick quite well.

To make the neem mix, take 10ml pure natural liquid soap, 10ml neem oil, and 100 ml warm water. Mix these together to form an emulsion. At this point you can just add in 900mls of water but you get far better results if you add in another type of natural pesticide.

Put roughly 1/2 a litre of water into a small stainless cooking pot, and add in 1 or two cayenne peppers,some garlic (and a few whole cloves if you wish). These spices have the qualities that they have so that they can repel bugs. Boil this in a stainless pot for 30 minutes. Then strain out the spices. Add water to your spicy mix to increase the volume of water to 900ml. Ad this 900ml of spicy water into the first mixture. Let this cool down to room temperature.

Keep this mixture out of UV light sources, as UV destroys the effectiveness of neem oil (it breaks down). It is best to apply this as a spray, during the dark photo period. It controls fungus gnats very well.

*** note*** I found out that I was getting my gnats with every bad of seed raising mix and potting mix. They come with the gnat eggs already in them. This means that the only way to avoid getting gnats if you grow in soil, is to sterilize the soil in an oven. I don't bother (I do not have the health for that kind of work). I just spray the plants and the soil 2 or 3 days in a row, about every 2 or 3 week. It kills the bastards utterly.

Every time I start any new plants of any kind for any reason, I now spray the seed raising mix for several days to kill the little shits. If I see any crawling bugs of any kind, I just spray again. No problem. My flowering space is free of them now and my veg area is almost free.

Edited by PainMan, 19 August 2009 - 04:43 PM.

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#8
elbhar

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I am still battleling the little fukers. :photo:
i have tried it all.
the day I think they are gone I see a couple more.
Have only a few weeks left before I pull up then I will clean it all out and start again ;)
They have even entered my little clone room now.
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#9
gasandgrass

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Yeah you could go to the trouble of making up a batch or simply buy ECO-NEEM.

http://www.chemreco....ers/ecoNeem.pdf

Its Australian made, and available at bunnings stores. Around $20 for 100ml.
The label says do not use on plants that produce food for human or animal consumption.
Dont panic, the reason is because Neem tastes very bitter!
SO DONT use it as a foliar spray, just as a drench. Its active constituents Azadirachta INDICA (:photo:) are totally harmless to bennybacteria and even ladybugs! Eco-Neem stops fungas gnats molting (shed there skin) from their maggot stage to adult stage. Totally Organic as well!

Also popular is ALSYSTIN 250, made by Bayer.
http://cgi.ebay.com....e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Leave fly paper out for the adults close to the roots, and these techniques will drop numbers by 90% within days!
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#10
ConFuzzed

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:D :D I solved my problem. :D :D

I went online and did a great deal of research and the only thing that seriously works well that is NOT a nasty poison, other than bio-controls (which have varying levels of effect) is - Neem oil.


NEEM

Neem kills almost every bad bug while leaving the good ones alone. I got the stuff online, in an organic (certified) form for a whole lot less than anything else that would do any good.

It is not only non-toxic to humans but it is good for us. It kills bad bacteria and virii and has been used for many centuries in India to cure just about everything (although it does taste very bad). Frankly I would not eat the stuff anyway, becasue eating enough will make a person temporarily sterile (testing on rates and mice show that it causes temporary sterility in men...yup...it is a male oral birth control.

It is also used in pet soaps to kill fleas and ticks, and natural birth control spermicides in India. It also kills bad fungi, virii and bacteria. It is so good at killing nasties that the spermicides I mentioned are also good at preventing many sexually transmitted diseases.

ACTIONS

It makes the bugs unable to grow/shed the exoskeleton of their bodies. They are no longer able to eat and grow properly, so given time and regular spraying it kills just about anything. Bugs are supposed to die off in a week or so, they are unable to mature and lay more eggs. The cycle takes a while to break. I used a trick to speed up their demise...


Ciao! Many, many thanks for this advice! :thumbsup: I am a medicinal user/grower and have never encountered the fungas gnats (I have grown all over the world, but this is my first time in AU). I was seriously at the end of my rope and the stress of this problem was literally going to kill me before the plants got the chance to flower, let alone harvest!

I have done the first round of soil drenching and I am ready to mix up a batch of the pesticida naturale (natural pesticide) as per your recipe here. :yahoo: I know this question may sound dumb (so please forgive me in advance), but do I chop up the peppers and garlic before boiling, or do I boil them whole? As I am set to do this almost immediately, a quick response to the question would be most appreciated and helpful! Thanks!

:please:
  • 0

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International Cannabis Cultivation Questionnaire
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WARNING/DISCLAIMER The OZ Stoners cannabis community contains information regarding cannabis & other drugs; it is designed for mature (18+) audiences only. This site in no way condones the use of cannabis by minors. The content here within this cannabis community is for educational & entertainment purposes only. Any buying/selling or trading of illegal cannabis seeds, clones, flowers, resin or oil is strictly prohibited within this cannabis community.