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Millennials’ love of houseplants and succulents is well documented, but what’s not as well known is that indoor plants can also be the perfect breeding ground for certain types of gnats, which thrive on fungus in the soil. So if you’ve filled your home with succulents, cacti, snake plants, money trees, and everything else you can buy from The Sill, then don’t be surprised if gnats suddenly start to take over your home. It’s one of the unfortunate downsides of turning your abode into a bohemian houseplant paradise.
I discovered this myself after a recent infestation of gnats. At first, I assumed I was dealing with fruit flies, so I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom in search of an errant grape or banana. When no culprit appeared, I decided to try a different approach, and that led me to my houseplants. There are 15 houseplants inside my Brooklyn apartment, as well as some additional planters on my balcony. The balcony has become the resting place of a dead jade plant (R.I.P.), withering away in its planter. Turns out, the wet soil inside these planters can be a fertile and convenient breeding ground for fungus gnats.
So what can you do about it?
Garsum Fruit Fly Sticky Trap for Indoor and Outdoor
I decided to try yellow fly traps, and I’m pleased to report that they’ve proven to be extremely effective. Specifically, I’ve been using Garsum Sticky Fruit Fly Traps from Amazon with great results. The Garsum fly traps have pages on pages of great reviews, and I’m happy to add my own review to the list.
According to an old wive’s tale (am I still allowed to say that?), gnats and flies are attracted to the color yellow, which is why you can spot yellow fly traps in so many TikTok videos. I’m as much an entomologist as I am a gardener (meaning not at all), and according to my research, the science is very mixed as to which colors really do and do not attract insects. So I decided to conduct my own experiment, and I can report that the results were conclusive—yellow fruit fly traps absolutely work. After setting up four fruit fly traps throughout my apartment, I caught two dozen gnats within just 36 hours, and then dozens more as I waged war against the winged invaders.
I’ve had bad results with ribbon-shaped sticky traps, which you can buy at local hardware stores and grocery stores. Not only do they look like something growing from the ceiling of a dank cave, but they just don’t work very well, nor does killing the flies one by one. Fortunately, the Garsum fly traps have been working great. They also helped me identify the source of the infestation. Turns out, the forgotten jade plant on my balcony was ground zero of the infestation, and when I left the window open to air out the apartment, they zoomed inside.
Now that warmer weather is here, you may find these annoying pests making their annual return to your own home. Whether you’re dealing with fruit flies, gnats, or ordinary house flies, I highly recommend the Garsum Fruit Fly Sticky Traps.
You can buy an 18-pack of traps via Amazon Prime for just $7.99, and the traps are easy to install and use. Simply slip them into the soil of a planter. Unlike other sticky traps I’ve used, the adhesive isn’t so sticky that it’s hard to wash off if you make accidental contact. I even got a few plant leaves stuck in the trap by accident, and I was able to disentangle them without harming the plants.
You can use them indoors or outdoors, and they’re effective against all types of flying pests, including house flies, fruit flies, fungus gnats, white flies, and mosquitos.