How to Control Bugs in Potting Soil

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The most common pest associated with potting soil is the Fungus Gnat. These gnats lay their eggs in moist potting soil and feed off of the fungus produced within the soil. Proper soil maintenance is the only way to control the spread of gnats and their eggs in your soil. The gnats also provide a food source to larger insects and pests, and correspondingly, the gnats will draw these other insects into your garden, and create a larger problem. Fortunately, ridding your soil of these gnats and other bugs is a relatively simple process.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Pesticide containing Cypermethrin
  • Till and rake the soil thoroughly once you notice the presence of gnats and other bugs. Ensure that you rotate the dry soil from the top with the moist soil beneath. The eggs and gnats will not thrive in dry soil, as the fungus in the soil will die as a result of sunlight and air flow, and the gnat population will reduce in size.

  • Apply a pesticide containing Cypermethrin to infected areas of your soil. This chemical agent is considered safe for pets and children after the initial application has dried thoroughly.

  • Capture a few aphids from around your garden. Once you catch the aphids, kill them and then sprinkle the remains around your soil. Chemicals in the aphids' body are released as a warning signal to other aphids and insects, and this acts as a deterrent, keeping them out of your garden.

  • Plant Marigolds or other herbs–around the perimeter of the garden–that have the ability to ward off insects and other pests.

Tips & Warnings

  • Certain herbs that have an ability to repel bugs are mint, sage, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and pennyroyal.

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References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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