How To Kill Fungus Gnats Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
Gardening is known to be therapeutic; however, if you are a gardener, you must be aware that this benefit can be completely nullified if your plants attract a fungus gnat infestation.
These fungus gnats can reverse the beauty and health of your plants. Often these gnat infestations prove to be so severe and difficult to ward off that many new beginners drop gardening as a hobby.
On the bright side — these intrusive pests can be repelled with the use of ‘Hydrogen Peroxide.’ Hydrogen peroxide is a cheap yet effective way to keep these pests away from your plants. A single application of hydrogen peroxide can terminate the lifecycle of these insects.
Moreover, hydrogen peroxide poses no danger to the plants themselves. Be it the samplings, houseplants, or garden plants- they will face no side effects from a hydrogen peroxide treatment.
What Are Fungus Gnats?
You may be surprised to learn that there are various species of fungus gnats. The most common species that attack plants are the ‘Bradysia’ species.
It may be a relief to know that it does not matter which species are causing you problems because they all share a similar ecology. Fungus gnats larvae will live and feed off the fungi thriving on plant roots, leaves, soil, and biomass as they develop into adult gnats.
Moreover, these tiny pests will also penetrate organic decomposition sources to lay eggs. The most popular decomposition areas tend to be compost and plant material.
What Does a Fungus Gnat Look Like?
All flies may look the same, right? Perhaps this is why fungus gnats are often mistaken for fruit flies or mosquitoes.
The hydrogen peroxide treatment outlined in this guide is specifically for fungus gnats. Therefore it is essential to identify that the fly causing you trouble is indeed a fungus gnat.
The adult gnats are less than an ⅛ inch long. In other words, they are tiny. They also come with antennae that are longer than their head, along with tiny legs. They possess grey or almost colorless wings, but they are far from fairy-like creatures.
On the other hand, the fungus gnat larvae come with a bold black shiny head that pops off from its long legless body that is clear or white.
How To Identify a Fungus Gnat Infestation?
If a large gnat infestation has broken out, you may notice the soil of growing medium or containers of organic matter being moist.
The larvae will sign your plants! However, their signature will be unrequited and displeasing to look at. This is because they will mark the growing plants with slime trails, replicating snails or slugs.
The adult fungus gnats will have a fetish for light, and you may observe them swarming around a light source- like a lamp or window. However, they still cherish their devotion to soil (or rather succumb to their weak wings) and will never stray far from the plants they have selected as sustenance.
Another signal of a gnat infestation is when you detect them crawling across and resting on top of growing medium, compost, wet mulch, or plant foliage.
How Do Fungus Gnats Damage Plants?
Adult fungus gnats do not cause damage to plants, people, or pets. Although, their flapping nuisance may be damaging to your sanity.
It is the larvae that you have to worry about. The stages of destruction progress with their life cycle.
The moist plant soil is a tourist attraction for the fungus gnats, specifically the female gnats. In their short 7-10-day lifespan, they are capable of laying around 200 eggs in moist soil.
The fungus gnat larvae live off plants for around 4 to 6 days before they hatch. Once, they hatch they will dedicate their first week to consuming your plants.
The larvae will make sure to deplete the supply of compost, fungi, and decomposing matter. Despite this large meal, their ferocious appetite will continue to strive. Therefore, they will move on to the tender plant roots. These damaged roots will then be unable to absorb nutrition and water to feed the plant, restricting the plant from surviving.
Fungus gnat infestations are most familiar with young plants and seedlings. Alarmingly, you may notice the pests only after a full-blown out infestation has broken around, typically between 3-4 weeks after the initial egg disposal. At this point, young plants are usually damaged beyond repair.
However, the disruption of the older potted plants may be noticed more quickly and can be treated before the damage is too far gone.
Which Plants Have a Higher Risk of a Fungus Gnat Infestation?
If you maintain vegetable plants, fruit plants, herbs, tree samplings, and houseplants, you are more likely to face a gnat infestation.
Moreover, the more young and tender a plant is, the more vulnerable it is to gnat attacks. For example, vegetable samplings that you start from seeds in the early spring are more likely to face infestations. If you are seeding new plants, it is best to have a hydrogen peroxide treatment at hand.
This is because young plants and growing mediums usually contain decomposing matter and fungi, which are the perfect breeding grounds for larvae. Moreover, growing mediums are generally loose and allow the larvae room to squiggle around. This is why fresh growing mediums are easier and more susceptible to lay eggs into.
Indoor plantations tend to provide the best food source and hone moist soil, and therefore female gnats are more likely to deposit their eggs into indoor plants. In comparison, outdoor plantations do not provide a great opportunity for larvae to survive and are at a lower risk of infestation.
How Is Hydrogen Peroxide Functional as a Fungus Gnat Repeller?
Hydrogen peroxide is well known as an antiseptic and antifungal agent used to fight scrapes and cuts. It also wards off fungus from various locations, such as your nails.
Hydrogen peroxide kills the fungi in plants and the soil by venting out the dirt and reducing moisture.
Moreover, plants form fungi and mold when they are dying due to a lack of oxygen. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to these plants, it decomposes to release an extra oxygen molecule to revive it.
Therefore, when hydrogen peroxide is added to plants and soil, it terminates the two main tourist attractions for fungus gnats- fungi and moist soil. When the gnats lack a source of food- the fungi, they won’t linger for long.
The Three Hydrogen Peroxide Treatments for a Fungus Gnat Infestation
Various situations of infestation will call for different solutions. However, all of these situations will have one problem in common- fungal gnats. Therefore, they will all have one super ingredient in common- 3% hydrogen peroxide.
If you want to address the fungal infestation straight away, it is essential that you immediately equip yourself with a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide from Bulk Peroxide’s shop!
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Eliminate Fungus Gnats on Indoor Plants?
If you notice a gnat infestation brewing in your indoor plants, it is best to allow the top of the seedling and growing medium to dry out for around two days.
Once two days have passed, it’s time to switch on your scientific mode and prepare the hydrogen peroxide solution. This will require diluting one part of hydrogen peroxide with four parts of water.
Water your plants and growing medium with this mixture as you normally would. Make sure you use it on all plants suspected of a gnat infection.
You should expect the solution to bubble and fizz when it comes in contact with the growing medium. This will prove that the treatment is indeed effective and exterminating the larvae.
After a few minutes, the fizzing will halt, and the hydrogen peroxide will break down into oxygen and water, strengthening the plant.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide Spray To Exterminate Flying Fungus Gnats?
You may have gotten rid of the larvae with the initial treatment, but the adult fungus gnats will continue to dawdle around for your attention. The adult gnats must be terminated before they manage to lay eggs in the growing medium and prolong the life cycle of the infestation.
The mixture will be similar to that used in the previous treatment. Dilute one component of hydrogen peroxide with four parts of water in a spray bottle.
Gently spray the potion on the leaves and stems of the plant where the adult gnats are present. Make sure to repeat the process daily until there’s no sign of the fungus gnats left.
To avoid spraying your furniture or surrounding with the hydrogen peroxide solution, make sure to place a newspaper or similar item on the opposite side of the plant while spritzing it.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Soil for Dense Infestation?
If the population of the larvae and fungus gnats seem to be increasing abundantly, it is time to bring out your aggressive persona and flush them out.
The first step is to deprive the plant of water and dry it out over some time.
It must be noted that when you use this hydrogen peroxide treatment, the liquid will have to drain out. Hence, it would be appropriate to shift your plants outdoors or to a sink.
Proceed to make your hydrogen peroxide solution in a container. Same as before, you will have to dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water in the ratio of 1:4.
Drench the soil with this mixture until the liquid flows out from the pot’s drainage holes- located underneath it. You should wait for around 10 minutes before repeating this process.
This hydrogen peroxide treatment not only immediately terminates the larvae but also makes sure the tiny cadavers are flushed out of your soil. It also flushes out the excess salt found in the growing medium, giving the plant a refresh.
How To Prevent Fungus Gnat Infestation From Re-Occurring?
Although hydrogen peroxide treatments effectively eliminate fungus gnats, it would be a chore to repeat the treatments every other day.
It is possible to avoid honing gnat infestations in the first place. This can be done by bringing about a few changes to your plant care process.
- Do not allow the gnats access to your home. This can be accomplished by sealing your windows and doors. It would be best if you also cover any cracks or tears in the screens or windows.
- Reduce the amount of water you give your plants daily. This will help you avoid creating a moist environment for gnats to thrive in.
- Reduce the appetite of plants for organic materials like manure or blood meal.
- If the infestation has overcome a compost pile, make sure to treat it with hydrogen peroxide. Once it is gnat-free, ensure it stays as dry as possible.
- If you want your potted plants to have a less likely chance of infestation- keep the manure pile, compost bin, and organic debris away from the locations of your potted plants. These locations could include your house, greenhouse, or container garden.
Therapeutic Gardening It Is
There’s no reason to allow fungus gnats to flitter around and ruin the health of your plants when you have hydrogen peroxide treatments at your disposal.
Grab a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide from Bulk Peroxide’s shop and begin your mission of reviving plants.
In no time at all, you will notice the return of the therapeutic halo of gardening, and your home will be warped in the most beautiful greenery.