07-02-2018 Dr Green Why are there flies surrounding my plant? Words by Dr Green Photos by Jaap Scheeren Hey Doc, I’ve noticed my plants have been attracting the attention of dozens of tiny little black flies. They are so annoying. Why are they here and how can I get rid of them? Irritated, Lucy Hi Lucy, I’m glad you’ve asked this question as your problem is a common one. The tiny little flies you are referring to are called fungus gnats – also known as sciarid flies – and they tend to gather around plants for the duration of their (thankfully) very short 4-6 day lifespan. But the flies are actually the least of your worries. It’s the larvae they lay in the soil which feed off your plant’s roots that will cause you problems. They can even be deadly for younger, more vulnerable plants. There are various ways you can tackle and prevent this issue. Start by replacing the soil with fresh peat-free compost and add 2cm of pebbles/grit/gravel to the top of the soil. This will make it less hospitable for larvae to grow (and it can even look quite nice!). Actively remove any decaying foliage from your plants and allow the soil to dry up between watering as the flies are particularly attracted to bacteria and moist environments. Place sticky traps around the house to catch adult flies, this will also catch fruit flies and other pesky winged creatures in your home. And voila! You’re on your way to a gnat-free household. You’ll probably need to deal with a few generation of gnats from the previously laid larvae so don’t be disheartened if they seem to persist for a few weeks. Love, The Doc x P.S. Please avoid pesticide! This can be incredibly harmful stuff, so unless you own an organic pesticide or a special type that has been recommended by a trusty source, try to stay away. Got a question of your own? Ask the doctor: firstname.lastname@example.org Our plant guru is here to solve all your plant problems More from Doctor Green Created with Sketch. Are my houseplants poisonous? Doctor Green has the answer Created with Sketch. Share this article Related 24-01-2018 Dr Green Doctor, can my plants hear music? For answers, Dr Green looks to plant neurobiology, a field of study which investigates whether plants can sense touch, sounds and gravity. 17-01-2018 Plant ABC Keeping up with your Calathea Orbifolia Beauty always comes at a cost. Follow these tips closely and your Calathea Orbifolia will live up to its expectations. 12-01-2018 News How to repurpose a Christmas tree Inspired by Bloesembar’s Maidie van den Bos, here are some green ideas for extending the life of a Christmas tree.