Fun with Fungus Gnats
I noticed little black flyers in my grow tent during the vegetative stage. At first I assumed them to be fruit flies but a quick look on the web identified them as the fungus gnat. All indoor Cannabis growers will deal with an infestation of fungus gnats at some point.
Fungus Gnats usually come from the soil medium, especially if the soil spent anytime outside in a moist environment. These little buggers like moisture, light and carbon dioxide; all found in every garden. These tiny black gnats begin life as fungus eating larvae actually aiding in decomposition but too many may have them munching the plant roots as well. Letting the soil dry out between watering, adequate ventilation and removing any dead leaves around the plant will help to control their activity.
Cannabis is a crop I would expect most people would want pesticide free. Luckily there are multiple, low impact solutions for just about any pest you would have in the garden. Fungus gnats are no exception. I was seeking the fastest and cheapest method that would have the least impact on my Cannabis’ growth. Some web research revealed a product that provides two methods of control in one package.
Nematodes are the most numerous multi cellular animals on Planet Earth. There are more than 20,000 species of nematodes, also called round worms, that live on every part of the world. Nematodes live in the oceans, the soil, even in our bodies! Nematodes can be harmful as well as beneficial. Of course, as Cannabis growers, all we care about are the beneficial nematodes.
This kit comes with millions of live nematodes as well as a pack of yellow tinted sticky strips. One simply places the Nematode covered sponge in a couple gallons of water (not tap water, the chlorine will kill the ‘todes). Wait five minutes before watering the Cannabis plants with the nematode soup. Within a few days those nematodes will grow into fungus gnat larvae killers.
While the nematodes make themselves at home, the yellow sticky strips can be deployed in the garden. Even though these weak flying pests are more at home running all over the leaves, they do take flight and land permanently on the yellow stickum. It is very satisfying to see the little bastids on the strips yet at the same time it is kind of disturbing. You will notice less flies as the nematodes do their job and kill the future of the fungus gnat infestation.
There are other low impact, non chemical treatments I haven’t tried to control fungus gnats. Diatomaceous earth is essentially microscopic shells that, when spread around the Cannabis plants, will cut up the pests when they come into contact with it, killing them eventually. Steel wool will have the same effect on any little flyers that land on it. If I have fungus gnats in the future, I will give these methods a try and report back.
Amazon sells the Fungus Gnat eradication kits for about $15.00.
Here’s the link: Nema Globe Fungus Gnat Pest Control.