Episode nineteen: fungus gnats
Fungus gnats - those frustrating little pipsqueaks of the pest world that float about your houseplants in clouds and ruin the cool indoor jungle vibe you’ve been aiming for - are the bane of many a grower’s life. I find out what they are, what they do and how to eradicate them from your plants. And we’ve got a reader question about growing olive trees indoors.
More resources on fungus gnats
- Study the life cycle of the fungus gnat.
- Find out more about BASF in Chichester, Sussex in the UK, the major centre of nematode production, as mentioned by Suzanne.
- More on Steinernema feltiae and other entomopathogenic nematodes
- A list from the RHS on where to buy nematodes in the UK (will open as a PDF)
- In the US, these nematodes are often sold under the brand Scanmask.
- More information on Gnatrol, the larvicide containing BTI.
- More information on Gnatnix, a gnat-repelling mulch made of recycled glass.
This week’s guests...
... were in order of appearance: Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at interior landscapers Ambius; houseplant enthusiast Emily Grigson, who told me about her fungus gnat woes; and ornamental entomologist Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, aka the Buglady.
Question of the week
Listener Catherine McCallan writes:
"Great podcast, as a first time homeowner/plant owner I’m enjoying the hints and tips.I was hoping you could give me some advice on indoor trees. I had a olive tree but unfortunately it has not survived, I’m not sure what I did wrong but I think perhaps I over watered it. Can you recommend any alternatives to an olive tree?"
Olive trees aren't the easiest of trees to grow inside, so I am not surprised Catherine struggled. If you want to give it a try, here's some advice.
The tree-like alternatives I suggest are:
- Ficus benjamina, the weeping fig.
- Beaucarnea recurvata, the ponytail palm.
- Radermachera sinica, the china doll tree.
Can I get a witness?
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This week's show included Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies and Government Funded Weed by Black Ant, licensed under Creative Commons. Thanks to talented voice artist Mark Hamilton for providing the extra voices you hear in this show.