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Old 06-19-07, 10:22 AM   #1
Air
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Indoor plants + fruit flies - help!

I have some indoor plants that I use for cooking (basil, mint, garlic, ginger). Looks like fruit flies are having a field day in the soil. What I can I do to treat the soil that won't kill the plants, nontoxic, but take care of the flies?
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Old 06-19-07, 10:31 AM   #2
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Insecticidal soap might might be an alternative. Many soft bodied insects can be controlled with potassium salt of fatty acids, found in insecticidal soaps. It basically desolves cell walls on the bugs. Might try a garden center and see if they have any.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:35 AM   #3
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Yes, Insecticidal soap is a very good idea - should fix the problem just fine.

The other alternative is what we have - lizards on the walls. I kid you not.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:39 AM   #4
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Alas, my lizard died a few years ago...though he was vegan unfortunately.

I'll look around for that soap, thanks! Is it safe to eat?
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Old 06-19-07, 10:52 AM   #5
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Should be, once it is dry, you can put beneficial insects, such as ladybugs on the plants I believe. Make sure to read the label though, as it has been a few years since I worked in the horticulture industry and things may have changed.

Predator insects like lady bugs might be an idea as well.

Just make sure to wash the leaves prior to eating/cooking.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:54 AM   #6
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Alas, my lizard died a few years ago...though he was vegan unfortunately.

I'll look around for that soap, thanks! Is it safe to eat?

You can make your own. Involves dish soap, cayenne pepper ... I forget the exact ingredient list and proportions. I got the recipe from Mother Earth News. Check their archives. I'll bet you find several recipes available.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:56 AM   #7
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What's their site?
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Old 06-19-07, 11:11 AM   #8
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Problem is you are trusting that it is correct and non harmful making your own. If you do it wrong and it burns up your plants, might not be that great and will cost more to replace plants than it would to buy a $5 bottle of concentrate, or a spray bottle of pre mix.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:32 AM   #9
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Here is a link to Safer, a maker of insecticidal soap and other organics.

http://www.saferbrand.com/index.asp
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:34 AM   #10
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- Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap makes a good vegan insect spray...

- however, i don't think, AFAIK, that your herb garden's soil is the source of the fruit flies... i'd suspect fruit...

:-)

- down here, i keep my fruit, such as tomatoes and bananas, wrapped in dark grocery bags when sitting out...

voila! no fruit flies!
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Old 06-19-07, 11:45 AM   #11
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Air, there should not be any connection to fruit flies and the soil, although it may be some other kind of pest. Have you run your disposal lately? They can grow on fruit that was washed down the drain. Try washing your plants with regular soap and water before you try the poison verity. Just regular soap can clog their tracheae tubes and suffocate them.


{edit** Yes, Dr. Bronner's is perfect for that.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:52 AM   #12
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Most likey fungus gnats or drain flys. I would lean towards fungus gnats, but a pciture is worth a thousand words. If fungus gnats, insecticidal soap will kill the adults, but the larva in the soil can be treated with BT (bacillus thuringensis) sp?

Here is a fact sheet on fungus gnats.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2114.html
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:05 PM   #13
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Thanks all!

The kitchen is in another room with a door - knock on wood nothing in there. When I brush the soil a whole slew of them start flying around (was reading and they could be fungus knats or a bunch of other gnat looking like fly that's not a 'fruit fly'). Some dead leaves in there that I took out as well.

I saw peppermint was a good deterent - in the meantime I put some peppermint and eucalyptus oil in some water and sprayed it. Will get some lemmongrass essential oil too. Unfortunately in the city iit's tougher to buy stuff for horticulture but easier for natural oils and stuff - go figure.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:24 PM   #14
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Smoke deters some insects, if you only you had something you could burn and make smoke to blow onto those flies!!!!!
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:32 PM   #15
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Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude...awesome idea...
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Old 06-19-07, 07:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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[SIZE=2]Most likey fungus gnats or drain flys.

grab a few of these yellow sticky pads, the best thing ever...

should be at most garden places.

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Old 06-19-07, 07:38 PM   #17
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Planting marigolds I know will keep bugs off of plants like tomatos. Maybe the same logic applied.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:43 PM   #18
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Just irradiate the soil.
If you need help, gimme a call. You'll need a lead cup.
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Old 06-19-07, 09:06 PM   #19
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This plus a banana and an apple will get rid of your fruit fly problem pretty redily.
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Old 06-19-07, 09:22 PM   #20
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Hmmm...just noticed that there were white things on the leaves of the mint plant. Aphids? Doh!
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Old 06-19-07, 09:35 PM   #21
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Try making a homemade trap! Put a small amount of red wine or apple cider vinegar in a glass or jar and cover the top with saran wrap. Poke several holes with a needle in the wrap. The flies are attracted to the smell and can make their way into the jar through the small holes, but they can't find their way back out again.

Those white things...do they move at all?
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Old 06-19-07, 09:40 PM   #22
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I don't think so - they look all dead (or really slow moving larvae).

The question about the traps though - will it eventually get rid of all of them or will the eggs wherever they are keep hatching?
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Old 06-19-07, 09:42 PM   #23
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All the aphids I've seen, you can see moving.

I think it will eventually get rid of all of them.
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Old 06-19-07, 09:47 PM   #24
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Sweet - I was feeling like a glass of wine too
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Old 06-19-07, 09:48 PM   #25
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Yeah, just share a little bit with the bugs! It'll be worth it! Some people swear by this trap!
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