Friday, February 15, 2008

Fungal gnats -- as gross as the name suggests

Please do not look down upon me, dear readers, but I have fungl gnats.

Well, I don't have them as in "they are on my person", oh no no no! My houseplants have fungal gnats. After repotting my plants in anticipation of the growing season, I noticed what looked like fruit flies in my room. I tried some plant pest spray that we had around the house but it didn't seem to do much good. Of course my search for a solution lead me to the internet, where I very quickly learned that I (or my seven plants) have fungal gnats and that they are the result of contaminated soil.

So first off I'll like to thank Hornbach, which is the German Home Depot (not like it's just another big hardware store; it really is the Home Depot, same signs and store layout), for selling me contaminated soil. The next order of business will be to buy new soil and repot all my good friends again, which I can't really imagine they will like, since I'm sure there were just getting comfy in this soil. Oh yeah, and then there are the potatoes. In my internet search I also found a number of organic methods of pest control, one of which is to put 1/2 inch potato slices around the base of the plant. The gnats will then either lay their eggs in the potatoes or the little larvae will wiggle in there because they are potato-lovers (I'm not sure which). My job is then to throw the potato slices away each day and put new ones out, thus throwing out their eggs and halting their reproduction, at least in my room. It's a strategy similar to the Tübingen pigeon house (we got another one, so there will be another post soon!).

So that was a nice topic for a blog post . . .