When we talk about flower midges (or flies), most often we mean several genera of insects from the order Diptera, family Sciarida (Sciaridae). They are also called Leaf mosquitoes, or Detritnitzi, or Soil mosquitoes. Basically, in everyday life we encounter representatives of three genera of the large family of Sciarich: the genus Sciara ( Sciara ) - the midges of the sciar, which are found most often, the genus Licoriella (mushroom mosquitoes and the genus Bradysia ). Differences between these genera of scyarids can be seen only at a very strong increase. The control measures are almost the same.
Comment. In nature, there is a separate family of diptera insects of the Moss ( Simuliidae ), which, despite the name, is not related to the Scyarides described in this material. Further in the article, the author uses the “midge”, meaning small insects from the Scyarid family. Also in everyday life, Scyarides are often called "flies", however, they are also not related to Flies (Musca).
Sciara - a bright representative of flower midges
The sciaridae insect, the Diptera order, the Sciaridae family (sciarids) are a small black and gray mosquito about 1.5 mm long with a narrow body and a rounded head. The insect has only the front pair of transparent wings; hind wings transformed into club-shaped buzzers. Mouth organs sucking. They fly well, in suitable conditions they can easily breed in large quantities.
Adult individuals are black midges with an elongated body about 3-4 mm long, which lay their whitish, translucent eggs in the roots of plants. Young, newly emerged mosquitoes can be about 1.5-2 mm, light gray in color.
Mosquitoes themselves, if they start, usually fly in large numbers, but they do not bring harm, except for the diseases and the larvae of other pests that they carry.
And the larvae of the mushroom mosquito - whitish worms about 3-5 mm long with a black head - eat the root system of plants, from which they fade, lag behind in growth, do not bloom, and often reach complete death.
Causes of midges on indoor plants
As a rule, midges get to the grower with the ground infected with their larvae, from which, under favorable conditions, adult flying insects are hatched.
It is important to check the quality and conduct preventive treatment of the soil in which you plant the plant, however, the presence of flying midges may not be related to your actions.
Often midges are a signal of an unfavorable environmental situation in the house. Optionally, they emerged from the pot of the plant standing on the window. Like most insects, midges fly into the light, that is, to the window near which they are pleased to sit - to fly, and they could fly in from the outside.
These insects are very fond of a warm and humid atmosphere, which is why it is with great pleasure that they live in the damp basements of residential buildings and can be visited by “guests” through hoods, pipes and ventilation shafts, especially in the toilet. Having flown into the florist’s apartment, midges may well take root, laying eggs on the soil surface of a recently watered plant and infecting it with their larvae.
Even sciarides can be trapped in food waste (spoiled fruits, vegetables) in the bin, lingering in stocks of vegetables for the winter (potatoes, onions). If they’re “lucky”, they can find a home in an absolutely unexpected place, if you rolled somewhere and were left unnoticed, for example, an apple (or its core, which is even worse). Here processing with the chemistry of your colors will not help, you must definitely find and, if possible, eliminate the source .
External signs of scyaride damage
Small black flying insects appear in the room, fluttering from disturbed flower pots. However, the presence of flying individuals does not mean that there are larvae in the soil that harm the plant (larvae are already a running version of the problem).
Larvae of midges are usually immediately visible if you dig a little soil. The soil itself characteristically crumbles, in a dry state it looks like sand in consistency. The infected plant does not look good, stops growing.
If sciarids, or flower midges find favorable living conditions in the apartment, it will be difficult to get rid of them. Therefore, it will be necessary to find out the “tastes” of these insects and try to take preventive measures against their appearance and reproduction.
The main rule is to avoid overmoistening the soil in pots.
If you tend to fill your plants, then adjust the watering: the waterlogging of the soil in pots creates conditions for the active propagation of scyarides. Never water the plant again if the soil on top of the pot is not dry! If you accidentally water the plant too much, drain the excess water from the pan and thoroughly dry the earthen lump until the next watering.
When insects appear, it is important to prevent their further reproduction and spread.
Adult flying midges on the moist soil surface lay eggs, from which a large number of larvae living in the soil are hatched. If the soil surface is dry, the masonry will die, so maintaining the topsoil in a dry state is an excellent prophylactic against scyarides. Dry the topsoil regularly (in medium sized pots 1-2 cm, in larger ones - up to 3-4 cm).
You can also use the upper drainage: fill the surface of the soil in the pot with a layer of fine expanded clay, gravel or coarse sand. After watering, such a layer quickly becomes dry and prevents insects from laying eggs.
Sciarides, like all insects, reproduce easily and very quickly - when the first flying individuals appear, take urgent measures to remove them.
Promptly remove dead parts of plants (wilted leaves, flowers, underground parts) remaining in the pot. Keep an eye on the state of stocks of fruits and vegetables in the apartment and your food waste, clean and throw away everything that can become a “home and food” for scyarids in a timely manner.
Use sterilized substrates for your plants.
It is good if soils will contain “tasteless” components for midges: coarse fibrous peat, needles, bark, coal, coconut fiber. However, it must be remembered that the composition of the soil should first be selected in accordance with the needs of plants, not midges.
If you are not sure about the cleanliness of the soil, spill it with water and freeze it for at least a few days (in the summer in the refrigerator, in the winter on the street or on the balcony). Reliably prepared soil for the future for winter should be left on the balcony, and in spring used for transplants. Prolonged freezing is a good remedy for many soil pests.
Do not use easily decomposing organic substances (tea leaves, coffee, fish bones, tree leaves, "meat" water, milk, kefir) as fertilizers - with further rotting in the pot, excellent conditions are created for the active growth and reproduction of larvae of sciaridae.
Do not allow stagnation of water in the pot, otherwise the roots will not rot. If, however, the roots are rotted, then take measures: the plant must be removed from the pot, thoroughly rinse the roots in running water, cut off all decayed and damaged parts with a clean knife, dry the plants with large or fleshy roots and process with crushed charcoal or sulfur powder. Then transplant the plant into slightly moist fresh soil and water as little as possible after transplantation.
A plant with fleshy roots is better not to water at all: weakened roots damaged by larvae of scyarides are defenseless against rot pathogens.
In the spring, before sowing seeds, it is advisable to carry out a full range of preventive measures to prevent the appearance of mushroom mosquitoes in your home. The larvae of the sciaridae strongly harm the nascent seeds and young seedlings.
Ways to combat midges on indoor plants
A set of measures aimed at the destruction of all forms of sciarides (flower midges).
It is not necessary to perform all the proposed actions - determine the degree of damage to your collection and select the one you need.
Important : carefully and accurately approach the problem. If you fight only with larvae or only with flying mosquitoes, there will be no sense. Starting the “battle”, try not to deprive anyone of your attention, and then you are guaranteed success.
Determine where and how they could get to you and check all the possible places of "residence" of mosquitoes. Carefully remove all organic debris and dead parts from plants.
If your mosquitoes fly to you from the basement of the house through hoods, pipes and ventilation shafts, you are very unlucky. Eliminating dampness in the basement is almost impossible, so mosquitoes, unfortunately, will become your regular guests.
Install a very fine mesh on the ventilation grilles, through the openings of which mosquitoes will not be able to climb into the apartment.
Check the soil in the pot - if it is heavily infected with larvae, change it to a fresh, breathable earth mixture suitable for the composition of this plant.
Check the root system of the plant: if there are signs of root rot, take action.
Collect all the plants in one room. It should be well ventilated, and it is better to have a quality hood.
Treat the premises with one of the anti-flying insect repellents in the form of an aerosol, for example, Raptor, Raid, Neo-Dichlorvos. Make sure that there are no food, utensils, personal care products, etc. in the processing zone. Cover the aquarium, take out the cage with a bird or small animals.
Also spray the racks and window sills on which the plants stand, in order to avoid further “revenge” of the surviving specimens. Remember to thoroughly clean all surfaces with soap and water and rinse several times with clean water.
From chemicals, any available insecticide is suitable: Agravertin, Aktara, Inta-Vir, Fitoverm, Actellik, Kinmiks, Karbofos. Dilute the working solution according to the instructions and thoroughly shed the soil in the pot twice with an interval of 7 days. After treating the soil with a pest preparation, you can not water the plants for at least 3-5 days, so as not to weaken the effect of the drug by reducing its concentration and leaching from the soil coma.
Soil insecticides are used from larvae in the ground, for example, Bazudin, Grom-2, Pochin. In pots infected with sciarid larvae, remove the topsoil (about 3 cm) and replace it with this mixture: new breathable soil and a few granules of “Bazudin”. Or just sprinkle the granules on the surface of an earthen coma and gently mix them with the top layer.
When watering, the drug will dissolve and penetrate into deeper layers, killing the larvae living there. However, it is convenient to use such tools if there are few infected plants, otherwise it will take a very long time to lay out and mix the drug in each pot.
Leave it all for a while, preferably all night. Close the door tightly and leave the room. In the morning, you can transfer plants to their places.
In the room where you processed, open the windows or turn on the hood for a long time. Collect the "bodies" of the flying representatives of this pest that have fallen in the unequal struggle, and clean the premises.
There are several ways to get rid of flying midges.
Treat the room with a preparation against flying insects in aerosol form ('Raid', "Neo-Dichlorvos", etc.).
Use a special adhesive tape-trap for flies, hanging near the plants. Tip - stock up on sticky fly traps from the summer: there are no traps in winter stores!
Use “adhesive tape” as a last resort: put small strips with adhesive side up, next to or on the pots.
Close the windows and turn on one or more fumigators for a long time (depending on the size of the room and the number of plants), placing them as close as possible to the cluster of plants. You can use plates from different manufacturers ('Raptor', 'Raid', "Fumitox", etc.), the main thing is to change them quite often, about once every 1.5-2 hours.
An unconventional way: to get Nepentes - an insectivorous plant that can now be found in flower shops. It is assumed that it will "eat" all the midges. In principle, "there is," it will be them, but not all, but only those who want to get into his jug. In addition, the Nepentes itself is not so easy to keep in room conditions.
Pour the crushed chalk "Mashenka" (from cockroaches) or draw strips on the top of the pots.
Cover the plants with fresh citrus peels, slices of garlic, branches of incense, sprinkle with dill, and coat the pots with anise oil. All of the above should be updated frequently. This method is effective if a couple of insects accidentally flies to you and has not yet had time to get used to it, but, unfortunately, this moment is very difficult to detect (i.e. determine).
Folk remedies for midges on indoor plants
Infusion of tobacco or shag - 40 g of dried tobacco are insisted on 1 liter of water for two days, then filtered and 2 more liters are added. Water. Spraying should be done 4-5 times every 5-7 days.
Soap solution - 20-40 g of soap chips are dissolved in 1 liter of water. Spraying should be done 4-5 times every 5-7 days. To destroy (prevent) egg laying by insects, it is recommended:
Replace the topsoil in the pot (about 3 cm) with a looser, dry, sterilized soil.
Dry the topsoil (in medium sized pots 1-2 cm, in larger ones - up to 3-4 cm). However, keep in mind: not every plant can easily tolerate drought! And the larvae of sciaridae can "sleep" for a long time in dry land, so they will really disappear for some time. This method is well used for preventive purposes.
Use top drainage: fill the soil surface in the pot with a layer of fine expanded clay, gravel or coarse sand up to 2 cm thick. Such a layer quickly becomes dry after watering and also makes it impossible for insects to lay eggs, while the root system of the plant will not suffer from drying out. You can also cover the soil with a circle of paper cut exactly to the size of the pot.
A good effect can be achieved by shedding the soil in pots several times with a light pink solution of potassium permanganate.