Fungus gnats are among the most common household pests, which usually affect indoor gardens and potted plants. Fungus gnats do not bite humans or transmit diseases to humans, but they can harm your indoor plants. The primary way in which they affect the plants is through their larvae. The larvae usually attach themselves to the plant roots, from which they drain nutrients. That results in wilting, yellowing, and at times, death of the plants. Adult gnats may also spread a variety of diseases to the plants, most of which are fungal diseases.
Fungus Gnats Life Cycle
The fungus gnat life cycle consists of four stages, which are egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. An adult fungus gnat usually lays an average of 300 eggs within its lifespan, which is only one week as an adult. Fungus gnats usually lay their eggs in fertile and moist soil. The eggs take approximately five days before the larvae emerge from them. The larvae take about two weeks before turning into pupae. The pupal phase lasts for about three to four days, with the nymphs hidden under the soil. The adult fungus gnats emerge from the pupae after the three to four days, and the cycle continues.
Common Fungus Gnats’ Habitats
Fungus gnats prefer living in areas where there is rich and moist soil. That is mainly because that provides the perfect conditions for laying eggs and enough food for the larvae. They also prefer affecting indoor plants, especially during winter, as the outside is usually too cold.
Food for Fungus Gnat Larvae
The main food source for fungus gnat larvae is decaying organic materials. Such are usually found in plenty in rich soils. However, the larvae can also feed on fungal growths and rotting parts of plant roots, especially when there is not enough organic content in the soil. The plants most commonly affected by fungus gnats are geraniums, African violets, carnations, and poinsettias. That is because the plants develop root rot quickly and usually thrive in a soil type that is nearly ideal for gnat larvae.
When Do Fungus Gnats Attack?
Fungus gnats can attack at any time, but they are most common during the fall season. That is because they tend to seek warmer habitats as the weather gets cooler approaching the winter season. Failure to take rapid action gives them enough time to lay their eggs, which means that you will be experiencing the same problems a few weeks later, even when you manage to deal with the initial infestation.