With hydroponic gardening, you’ll have fewer problems with pests and diseases than you would in an outdoor garden—but it’s still possible to encounter disgusting bugs that affect the health of your plants. One of the more common pests in a hydroponic garden are the tiny terrors known as fungus gnats. A single fungus gnat with access to your system means disaster for your plants’ roots and fruits. Our tips for how to get rid of fungus gnats in a hydroponic garden will put your system on the fast track to recovery.
Look for the Sure Signs of Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats aren’t microscopic—you can see them just like any normal bug. Some species can grow to a half inch, but most bugs are between 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch. Unfortunately, seeing the fungus gnats means the infestation has already taken hold in your irrigation system and that preventative measures won’t be enough. If you’ve seen only a few gnats, check the roots of your plants for larvae and eggs—this is where the gnats will cause the most damage. On the plants themselves, look for slow growth and yellow, curling leaves. Your plants’ problems may be due to gnat larvae feasting on the roots. If the problem has gone on long enough, you’ll find dead fungus gnats in the water reservoir and waterways. Growing gnats love the taste of their dead ancestors, and the dead bugs will also prevent proper oxygen levels for your plants.
Sterilize All Tools, Equipment, and Plants That Enter the Garden
If you have an outdoor garden in addition to your indoor hydroponic garden, it’s important that you either don’t use the same tools for both gardens or heavily sterilize the tools before they come inside. Even if you only store the tools inside, the gnats can invade your hydroponic garden without your help.
If you start plants outside, it’s especially important that you watch for diseases and pests before bringing them in. Wash all dirt off a plant’s roots before placing it in the hydroponic garden.
Killing the Gnats
When preventative measures have failed and fungus gnats have free reign of your plants, you need to take measures to exterminate them. Fungus gnats thrive on excess water and moisture near plant roots, so getting rid of fungus gnats in a hydroponic garden relies on you controlling the moisture of your plants.
Kill eggs and larvae by allowing the growing medium to dry out in between waterings. If your system is automated, you may need to switch to manual watering until you’ve taken care of the pest problem. For adult fungus gnats, use the same sticky insect traps you’d use for whiteflies and other bugs.
Gardeners often experience pest problems at some point in their growing careers. Prevent the chances of infestation by purchasing sterile hydroponic growing supplies and organic hydroponic fertilizer from FloraFlex. Equipment you can trust and sterilized growing mediums are essential for a pest-free hydroponic garden.