A Natural Way to Target Gnat Flies
A useful tool for controlling gnats and shore flies, that transmit Pythium and other pathogens into hydroponics systems is Diatomaceous Earth. It is a chalky white to cream powder obtained from the natural fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of small hard-shelled fresh water or ocean organism. These diatom particles are very small and sharp but only harmful to the small exoskeletons of insects. Insects cannot become immune to their action since it is a mechanical killer. Because it is a light dust, it clings to the bodies of all stages of the insects. Maggots may also ingest the powder. The tiny diatom particles then cut through the waxy coating or lining of the insects gut and they eventually dry out and die.
Seed beds, especially those that use capillary matting, composted bark, rock wool or vermiculite, can be liberally dusted with diatomaceous earth. Use a “pepper pot” technique to liberally coat the media as seedlings are about to emerge. If washed into media during irrigation it will eliminate maggots as they hatch from eggs and will maintain its activity when plants are transferred into hydroponics systems. Also spread about any areas near the houses where gnat adults, larvae (maggots) or pupae may be present.
Diatomaceous earth contains a variety of elements and usefully contribute to the supply of silica, that is used in plant roots and leaves. Supplies of this element can be low in hydroponic systems.
#1 – Diatomaceous Earth
- Diatoms are microscopic green algae with a glass-like (silica based) shell.
- Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of these glassy creatures. If you sprinkle a circle of this special “dirt” around your plants being attacked, this will deter the snails and slugs.
- For them to crawl over diatomaceous earth, it would be like people walking barefoot over broken glass on the beach… ouch!
- For diatomaceous earth to be effective, however, you will need to reapply it often as it doesn’t work as well after it gets wet.
#2 – Crushed Egg Shell
- Like diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shell will deter snails and slugs due to its abrasiveness to their soft bodies.
- While egg shells aren’t quite as effective as diatomaceous earth, they have the added benefit of providing calcium and other nutrients to your soil as they break down! Plus, water doesn’t affect them as much.
- Also used coffee grounds are recommended as a way to keep slugs and snails out of the garden.
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#3 – Beer Traps
- If you don’t mind killing your snails and slugs, beer traps are a good option.
- Dig a hole near the plants that are being attacked. Bury a recycled can, plastic container, or glass jar into this hole so the top of the container is flush with the top of the soil.
- Pour cheap beer into this container. Snails and slugs are naturally attracted to the scent of beer because it contains yeast but they get disoriented when they drink it.
- When this happens, they fall inside the container and drown. Be sure to use a container deep enough so they can’t just crawl back out again.
#4 – Get Some Chickens Or Ducks
- If you live in the country, this is a solution to your slug problem that will also produce some nice farm fresh eggs.
- Free ranging chickens and ducks don’t just eat grass! They also love highly nutritious and delicious slugs #5 – Put Some Chopped Mint In Your Soil
- Mint grows like gangbusters and can even take over a yard if it isn’t cut back.
- If you have a flowerbed that is being attacked, consider adding your mint trimmings to the soil to deter snails and slugs. They are repelled by the smell.
- However, to the human nose, the sweet smelling mint and the fragrance of the flowers blend well together. In fact, you may find your neighbors coming over for natural aromatherapy!
#6 – Plant Rosemary Or Thyme Bushes Nearby Indoor Hydroponic Mini Garden. Grow your own Herbs all year.
- Rosemary and thyme are in the mint family, so like mint (such as peppermint and spearmint), these plants deter slugs and snails with their aroma!
- This is a simple but effective natural slug and snail deterrent and you’ll have some nice perennial herbs for cooking.
- Controlling Slugs and Snails Tips and snails and will happily help you with your problem!
#7 – Put Seaweed In the Soil
- If you live near an ocean beach, collect seaweed and chop it up to create mulch. Mix the seaweed into the top layer of soil around your plants.
- The iodine smell will deter slugs and snails and it will add nutrients to the soil as it decays! This includes many trace nutrients that would be difficult to get into your garden soil any other way!
- In fact, if you have any seaweed left over after you create your mulch, don’t throw it away! Put it in your compost pile!
#8 – Don’t Water Your Garden In the Evening
- Snails and slugs are more active at night because it’s more moist then and they need a moist environment to survive.
- If you water your garden in the evening, this just creates a haven for these slimy creatures and they’ll be even more attracted to your plants!
- If you water your plants in the morning, the daytime sunlight will dry the plants out before nightfall and make them less attractive to slugs and snails.
#9 – Pick Them Off By Hand
- While this method may seem time consuming, you may be able to solicit the help of your kids!
- They will find this a fun activity and you won’t have to apply any pesticides to your yard where they play.
- If it is safe to do so, you can have them take a flashlight out at night and pick off the snails and slugs when they are more active.
Categories: Home & Garden