Treatment of mosquitoes on houseplants

They fly on your face, float near your houseplants, or gather at the window. Fortunately, these fungal mosquitoes are more annoying to us than harmful to our plants.

This pest enters our home from plants that we have added to our houseplant collection or that we have moved in after a summer. Some may end up in unpasteurized soils rich in organic matter.

The small 1/8-inch adult resembles a fruit fly or mosquito, but does not feed on overripe fruits and vegetables and does not bite. Adults live for only seven to ten days, but a female can lay up to 200 eggs in the cracks and fissures of wet soil in that short time.

The eggs hatch, emitting worm-like larvae with a black head and an elongated white or transparent legless body. The larvae begin to feed in the upper part of the soil, feeding on fungi, algae and organic matter, and occasionally feeding on roots and leaves on the surface of the soil.

Damage to plants is usually insignificant. If the conditions are right, the fungal mosquito population can reach harmful levels, leading to root damage, leading to wilting and growth retardation. Excessive and underwatering, excessive fertilization, and other environmental factors are more likely to cause these symptoms. Provide proper care to reduce the risk of this type of injury.

Fungal mosquito populations of houseplants rarely reach the level required to control plant health and longevity. Adults can be annoying, especially to non-family gardeners, and often motivate this pest.

Start the inspection by changing the irrigation practice. As fungal mosquitoes develop in moist soil, avoid overwatering. Allow the top few centimeters of soil to dry between thorough waterings. Pour off any excess water that has accumulated in the saucer to avoid root rot. Or place pebbles in the saucer to lift the pan over excess water that collects on the tray.

Adjust your watering schedule as the season changes. As the length of day and light intensity change throughout the year and heat and air conditioning are applied, so does the water demand of the plant.

Use pots with drainage holes or irrigation pots with overflow openings, also known as weeping holes, to avoid wet soil. Update the potted mixture as needed. Older planting mixtures decompose over time, retain moisture and create an inviting environment for fungal mosquitoes.

Treat unwanted fungal mosquitoes with an organic Bacillus thruingiensis israelensis product, such as Summit Mosquito Bits, which has a label against fungal mosquito larvae. It just spreads on the surface of the soil and this naturally occurring soil bacterium kills the mosquito larvae of the fungus in the soil. Safe for people, pets and plants. Read and follow the instructions on the label, repeat as needed.

Use yellow sticky traps to monitor adult populations. Place homemade or purchased traps on chopsticks in houseplant holders.

Use 1/4 inch potato slices or slices to attract and observe fungal mosquito larvae. Glue some of the potatoes into the ground. After a few days, check for fungal mosquitoes and replace the potato slice to help treat this pest.

Understanding the fungal mosquito and its preferred environment will help treat this pest safely and effectively.

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