Saturday, July 6, 2013

Out, out, drat gnat!

Meet the villain of this short story - a pretty variegated chlorophytum that I brought home from my local DIY store (yes, the one with Home in front and Depot behind...). It was gorgeous and went straight to the art deco stand by the window in the music room. Perfect light. Lots of room for the shoots and tendrils. Happy day.

The plant stand with a pothos, last year...
Happy for about 24 hours. At which time I noticed a gnat flying in front of my face as I was reading. Swat. Hit my glasses of course. Then another one. Hmmm.

No let up. This was 2 weeks ago. The offending plant is now outside, as you see, but clearly it left a legacy in at least one of my other houseplants. I have gnats. Oh, nuts - gnats!

They are so aggravating!!

I've researched remedies online and have taken an aggressive stance (as much as possible - these little guys sip  insecticide as a power drink).

Apple cider vinegar and water in a dish. They are attracted to the scent, fall in, and drown. It works...and they also like cold coffee. My own remedy and I've applied for a patent.

Bright yellow poster paper covered with double-sided tape. Their color of choice, go figure. They land on it and, yes, expire. There is a lesson here - if you are on a picnic, don't wear bright yellow :-) My brass lizard is a willing ally but totally ineffective.

So much for the gnats that have hatched and are practicing take-off and landing. How to stop this madness? Orkin suggests tenting the house.

Or -

Sprinkling tobacco on the surface of my houseplants, which I did today. The nicotine 'should' kill the larvae in the soil. I can also allow the plants to dry out completely, which will also kill the larvae. And presumably the plants as well.

I'm giving the tobacco a couple days (or less), then the plants go to the curb.

Ciao! Coco

Update on July 29 - all the plants were kicked out a couple days after I wrote this post :-) My house seems to be free of gnats now, and yesterday I bought silk plants (I can hardly believe it...).


  1. I'm so sorry! I use the vinegar solution too -- I also add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to it. This has been a week of bugs -- we had a huge fly invasion. I'm afraid my technical solution was the fanatical use of the fly swatter. Thankfully, things seem to have (at least temporarily) calmed down around here.

  2. That happened to me with a plant from an expensive florist. I treated it aggressively...failed...threw it out. I hope the tobacco works...I didn't try that.

  3. Oh no, there are perils even with indoor plants! Who knew? Not me, I still feel guilt from the last houseplant failure and have vowed not to repeat any more murders by neglect. Of course, you could pack that little troublemaker up and send it over to me. The deer would love it...;)

  4. My version of gnats came in the form of scale a couple of years ago. Three beloved (LARGE) plants to the curb. :(

    I totally support your cold coffee patent.


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco