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The sticky traps work well to catch adults, but these gnats breed so quickly that some of them tend to be able to lay eggs before getting caught on a trap.
The nuclear option with houseplants is imidacloprid granules. You add the granules to the soil, water the plant, and it gets absorbed by the plant's tissues. Provides protection for a few months and will kill any bugs (gnats, aphids, or otherwise) that feed on or live on the plant.
Do not use this on plants that will be going outside. Imidacloprid is almost too effective for its own good, and will also kill bees and other pollinators. This should be used as a last resort, and for indoor houseplants only!
I don't know how you feel about insecticides but I've had great success with integrating these in the soil.
Every time my outdoor succulent garden gets pot upgrades I refresh the fertilizers and granules. Seems to keep the ants from being able to re colonize in my plants.
It does have bugs crawling around? I’m not an expert but that’s more than likely fungus gnats like I had too. Google has lots of info on them.
Personally I removed the infected plants from their planters, I removed all dirt and rinsed their roots, I repotted them after cleaning the planters or used new bigger planters, and also treated for gnats in the new planters.
My sister recommended stuff called Bonide. I used their outdoor product even though my plants are indoor. But they have indoor labeled product too. All you have to do is sprinkle the needed amount on top of your potting mix and the plants absorb it through their roots. It makes the plant poisonous to fungus gnats for X weeks. So the gnat larva all die.
This is the stuff I used: Bonide (BND95349) - Insect Control Systemic Granules, 0.22% Imidacloprid Insecticide (4 lb.) [link]
i use this to clear thrips out, works great. if you want to go nuclear get some captain jack's dead bug brew, spray that to kill the adults and the bonide will kill the young ones when they come out
I'm not sure about the coffee rust (I'm new to coffee, but maybe a fungicide?)
The insects sound like mealybugs. Pain in the butt! But treatable. :) The first general product I'd recommend to kill them is neem oil. You can buy it pre-mixed, or you can get concentrate and mix it up in a spray bottle (Cheaper and lasts longer). Spray the whole plant in the shower - EVERY inch of it. Soak it. Let it sit overnight, and then rinse in the morning. You'll have to do this once a week for a few weeks to get any that might have been missed.
If that doesn't work, you can try horticultural oil. But the big guns are these systemic insect control granules that actually treat the plant from the inside and make the plant toxic for the mealybugs to consume, eradicating them. The only caveat is that you should keep the plant away from kids or animals that might chew the leaves while it's active.
I have had plants with this problem. You wind up spraying so many chemicals it eventually kills the plant because it damages the leaves. The only thing that worked for me was system insecticide granules. You pour a bunch on the soil and water it and the plant absorbs the poison and the mealy bugs all die.
that's what i would go with personally, aphids are pretty hard to get rid of by just washing them off since they like to go way down into crevices. there's also stuff like this you can get for long-term use, it dissolves into the water when you water the plant, it drinks it up and the bugs get poisoned and die when they try to munch the plant
They have changed packaging. I will link for u! There’s a smaller size too. 😁
Bonide (BND95349) - Insect Control Systemic Granules, 0.22% Imidacloprid Insecticide (4 lb.) [link]
I had a really bad problem with fungus gnats last summer... they would fly in front of my face while I was sitting on the couch and they drove me CRAZY.
Things I have used and didn’t work or solve the problem completely:
-Yellow sticky traps
-Lined the top layer with coco choir
-Apple cider gnat traps
-Soap gnat traps
Then I decided to try this systemic off of Amazon along with yellow sticky traps. It seems to have been the most useful in terms of stopping their life cycle. Make sure you apply to EVERY plant in your home. Be diligent as well as applying to new plants you bring in your home.
I know you mentioned not using insecticide but I found these granules that you feed to the plant in early spring and it makes the Japanese Beatles not touch the leaves! It's called: Bonide (BND95349) - Insect Control Systemic Granules, 0.22% Imidacloprid Insecticide
Edit to say sorry it's not for edible plants
Here is a link to it on Amazon: [link]
I've gotten rid of them using a sort of two-pronged attack, I sprayed all of the affected ones once a week with the Captain Jack's dead bug brew, and I also sprinkled these bonide granules in the soil and watered them with that, so you're killing both the adults and any of the larvae that will hatch. Just be very careful not to overwater your plants this way, wait until they need watered to water those granules in. You only have to use them once every 3 months or so.
This is what I used. It is actually the only time in 30+ years of houseplanting that I used any toxic pesticide like that but I could not get rid of the thrips and they were in multiple plants.
I've been using two different types of pesticides to get rid of them on some of my begonias. These granules go in the soil, the plant sucks it up through the water and they all die when they try to feed off it, and then just in case I spray with captain jack's once a week for about a month or so to get any of the adults I missed.
The granules are a systemic so if you have reoccurring problems with them you can just reapply it every few months.
I've had thrips on some of my bigger-leaved plants and begonias before. I use this Bonide systemic in the soil, and also the Jack's spray once a week for at least a few weeks just in case (every couple days is probably excessive imo). It doesn't hurt to use the Bonide granules every few months or so (whatever it says on the label, I forget) as a preventative.
Diatomaceous earth won't have any effect on thrips since they don't go into the soil at all typically.
I use Bonide Systemic Granules. I refresh this in my pots every 8 weeks but have known to go a bit longer. I haven’t had any issues with mealies since I started using this a couple of years ago (cross my fingers 🤞🏻)
I did buy this stuff in December and I think it's helped. I had a hoya that was COVERED, so I cleaned all of the trailing parts with alcohol, and then sprinkled this on the soil. I just watch for any new ones and sprinkle extra periodically if I had to clean a couple extra bugs off.
There’s a great thread around here somewhere with the gospel on killing fungus gnats. Here’s the summary—works like a charm—
1) sticky traps
2) let everything dry out for as long as humanly possible. Bottom water if you must
3) Bonide granules
Consider getting something like this and mix some into the soil a few times a year. It protects against aphids, mealybugs, and thrips. It's probably not completely foolproof so I would still keep an eye on the plant and examine it for bugs once in awhile, but I didn't have a single one of those bugs for three months after I mixed it into my plants - now that it's wore off, I've found thrips on three plants this week. So it does work, at least.
Also an easy way to get rid of mealybugs, take a q-tip or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol on it and swipe the bugs off and then swipe the rest of the leaves top and bottom for any eggs. In my experience they're the easiest to get rid of if you catch them early since they're easily visible.
You can get gnatrol instead of mosquito dunks which is BTI concentrate too but designed for use on plants for gnats instead of in bodies of water for mosquitoes. [link]
Although for houseplants honestly I recommend using imidacloprid systemic pesticide in granular form. You can get it from Bonide on amazon: [link]
Not only will imidacloprid kill all your fungus gnats and any other soil borne pest it will kill every single thing else besides armored scale & spider mites. I seriously can't recommend it high enough. It lasts 90 days and kills everything from aphids, thrips, whiteflies, you name it. I use it on all my indoor plants as a preventative and it works extremely well. It actually works too well for its own good & will kill bees too so do not use it on outdoor flowering plants.
The active ingredient in mosquito bits is BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) which is a live bacteria that selectively targets the larvae of fungus gnats and mosquitos and a couple similar bugs. It won't kill adults but they only live for 3-5 days so they will all disappear on their own shortly after the larvae die.
You can also buy BTI in a more concentrated form designed specifically for use on plants with fungus gnats here: [link]
It's $10 for 1oz, $15 for 2oz or $22 for 4oz. 1 oz of Gnatrol concentrate will make 4 gallons at the active pest control rate of 3 tsps per gallon.
Since it's an active bacteria it does have a relatively short expiration date. The current batch they are selling expires on Jan 31 2022 so don't buy more than you would use before then. It is really effective so you probably won't need much. You also only have to wet the top 2" of soil with the solution not the whole pot.
Edit: Although for houseplants honestly I recommend using imidacloprid systemic pesticide in granular form. You can get it from Bonide on amazon: [link]
Ugh, root mealies are the worst! I used to really struggle with them. Now I put a little bit of Bonide Systemic Granules in every pot.
Just to clarify that site sells gnatrol (BTI) which kills fungus gnats and also sells miticides for spider mites but BTI won't affect mites.
Gnatrol (BTI): [link]
3-pack of avid, forbid and floramite: [link]
Also on indoor plants I highly recommend using imidacloprid which is a systemic that lasts 90 days and kills everything except spider mites and armored scale. It will kill soil borne pests like fungus gnats too. It controls and prevents aphids, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies, soft scale you name it. If used on flowering outdoor plants it can harm bees and hummingbirds. It is safe to use on outdoor flowering plants when you bring them in for winter to kill any hitchhikers and will have dissipated by spring. You can get it on Amazon from Bonide here: [link]
Or if you have a ton of plants Marathon brand is more expensive up front but much cheaper per treatment: [link]
I wrote a guide for pest control recently, it's posted here if you want to take a look [link]
I ended up not using systemic granules so I'm not sure. I hear systemic is not good for pets so I opted to not use it as I have a dog. I think Captain Jack's is safe for pets, but not okay for bees.
Systemic Amazon Link
I bought this one
Get a systemic as both a preventative for all new plants (and old) and to treat your older plants. I would hold off on getting any new plants until the situation is under control ... I’ve had a mealy bug problem for OVER A YEAR and I’m just NOW getting them under control. Adding the systemic worked wonders! Some of my plants are pest free but some others are still affected.
Steps to my pest free system (eventually)
Bonide (BND95349) - Insect... [link]
Rubbing alcohol for pests on surface (whenever you see a bug/pest!)
Neem oil & water solution 1x week
Organic Neem Bliss 100% Pure Cold Pressed Neem Seed Oil 32 oz - OMRI Listed for Organic Use [link]
I also spray the soil surface with rubbing alcohol
Here you go!
The measurements were kind of confusing to me at first so I did about a teaspoon for a 4” pot and scaled up from there.
Either imidacloprid which is what I recommend since it kills everything else too besides spider mites & hard scale & lasts for 90 days. Or if you only want to kill the gnats you can use BTI but instead of using the mosquito bits everyone always recommends you should use Gnatrol which is actually designed for use on plants, more concentrated and actually cheaper.
Imidacloprid lasts 90 days and is an awesome preventative, I use it on all my houseplants. Kills aphids, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs, fungus gnats, seriously you name it. Kills bees too so keep it indoors.
If you have a lot of plants this is a lot cheaper per application it's just more expensive up front since it's 5lbs at 1% (bonide is 4lbs 0.2%): [link]
Gnatrol (BTI): [link]
If you want to know how to actually kill anything else I wrote a whole guide on houseplant pest control: [link]
Looks like mealybugs. Rubbing alcohol and q-tips are your friends for the ones that are visible. I also used this stuff in the soil periodically and it's helped mine!