• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

indoor winter pest control

 
Linda Listing
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I brought in my container garden for winter, I also brought in a small black fly like a gnat. It's about the same size as a fruit fly but it's not one. It ate my mint and lemon verbena. And its thriving. The flies like the moist soil. They land on my iPad screen at night so I got a good look. I was wondering if carniverous plants have ever been tried? I can't find diatomaceous earth in the store at this time of year. (Not a fan of mail order. It generates spam and junk mail)

We also have a secondary infestation. I just threw out half our larder due to pantry moths. Apparently moths like legumes. My pet centipedes are falling down on the job. The house spiders prefer white fly and seem to have taken care of that problem.

Any suggestions?

Linda
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 698
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lemongrass oil concentrate.

Look it up.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The gnats are probably fungus gnats. I have had them in my houseplants and the best defense I've had is letting the soil dry out well between waterings. There are natural deterrents, but I can't speak to their effectiveness. I would use neem oil if I had a big problem.

I used to work at our local food co-op and boy those pantry moths can get annoying! I have eaten my share of them cooked into rice etc by mistake. (b12 for vegans!) The best defense is popping any susceptible food into the freezer when it first comes home. You can store food in there to be safe but freezing kills the eggs and larvae so an overnight should do the trick. Keep peeking into grain and flour containers to catch an infestation before it spreads. Don't store these foods in plastic bags, the bugs can nibble through them.
 
Linda Listing
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyrt Ryder wrote:Lemongrass oil concentrate.

Look it up.


I could not find info on how to apply it. I'm sure I can get it from the co-op but how do you use it? Thanks.
 
Linda Listing
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matu Collins wrote:The best defense is popping any susceptible food into the freezer when it first comes home. You can store food in there to be safe but freezing kills the eggs and larvae so an overnight should do the trick. Keep peeking into grain and flour containers to catch an infestation before it spreads. Don't store these foods in plastic bags, the bugs can nibble through them.


We already freeze everything from the store. Unfortunately we also have a messy parrot. We told him he couldn't keep pets but he doesn't listen. We vacuum regularly and change the cage. They seem to live outside and come in through the stove vent and bathroom vent during the summer. We inadvertantly brought a bat in with the laundry last August. The bat lived very happily in the house for a week -ample food, before I caught him. It's an ongoing struggle. I hate to have to store the whole larder in the freezer. Seems a waste of energy. We opted for changing the type of containers we store things in. We are switching to rubber compression sealed lids instead of screw tops. (Le Parfait) I hope it helps.

I didn't know moths ate plastic. I got rid of plastic long ago. Recently I tossed out all the brown rice in a metal tin. The inside was coated with a white powder from the moths. It almost looked like paint. Any clue what it is that they produce?
 
Kyrt Ryder
Pie
Posts: 698
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Linda Listing wrote:
Kyrt Ryder wrote:Lemongrass oil concentrate.

Look it up.


I could not find info on how to apply it. I'm sure I can get it from the co-op but how do you use it? Thanks.

You spray it on them, it's a contact killer.
 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 213
Location: S. Ontario Canada
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did a quick search via startpage.com and found some good tips here.
http://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/houseplant-pests/fungus-gnat-control/
More on the side bar.

We used to have a pantry moth problem that we kept in check with traps but never really eliminated till we remodeled the kitchen. While stripping off the wallpaper I found tons of them in a tiny gap where the paper bridged any corners, under the trim at the edges of the paper, packed inside any blisters. I think they were eating the wallpaper glue.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
the Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition gave me the idea that heating any dry grain or seed to 150F for 30 minutes will also kill insects and their eggs; but without killing the grain itself, so it can still be sprouted or planted. I have used this idea with my solar cooker for years with good results.
 
Dave de Basque
Pie
Posts: 103
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Linda, seems like I may have the same two indoor pests you do. I think the gnat suggestions are more than sufficient -- I especially liked the article Roy posted. So I will try some of those out.

Regarding pantry moths, we did do a lot of good by going through our pantry, throwing out pretty much anything that was in original store-bought packaging, a ziplock bag or any other form of cellophane/plastic/etc. And scrubbing every corner thoroughly. And we found larvae in some incredible places, not just where you would think. In any case, now everything is in glass jars. Now things are under control, but we still occasionally find one. You're scaring me a little bit by saying you're converting over even your glass jars to the Le Parfait style. This is a plan I have, I think they're the best for many reasons, but since they're expensive I was planning to do this gradually over the course of the rest of my life! Either that or be a permie and learn how to blow my own (tempered) glass and grow my own rubber to make stoppers!

Anyway, I'm a bit surprised we didn't generate more ideas to eliminate pantry moths. Is it really just: put all your food in jars, the fridge or the freezer? I do agree that any vulnerable garden crops that come in need to be frozen overnight to eliminate larvae (we do this to beans in my area). But really, is that all there is to eliminate the moths and the larvae that may be around your house already?

I bet someone else must have a good trick or too.

I'll be trying yellow sticky traps for the gnats, maybe I'll stick one in the kitchen too and see if it traps any moths. More suggestions?

Edit: PS: We have tried neem oil for the gnats and if you get a direct hit, sure, you'll usually kill them, but there are so many and they're so small and they have so many hiding places it's impossible to get them all.
 
Linda Listing
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Dave, Sorry to hear you have the same troubles. The LeParfait went on sale cheap at the end of January. We also discovered that we already had some jars in the seed cupboard. It also looks like Crate and Barrel may discontinue them. It was the first time I'd been in a mall in years. I'm not much of a consumer anymore.

The moths are tricky. I lost almond flour, brown rice, and split peas. The almond flour wasn't cheap. I hope someone else has ideas too. Short of keeping a pet bat, I've run out of ideas. I have vacuumed my ceiling, light fixtures, cupboards, and furnace ducts. I found dead moths in a box of salt.

I did acquire some pitcher plants. They were out of butterwort. It's helped a lot. I also ended up covering my sprout dish with plastic wrap to keep the gnats out. I hate plastic though. I have to nix the gnats before I start planting seedlings. I was able to pickup Neem Oil but after reading the warnings on it, I am hesitant. After driving 30 miles to find a store that carries it, I suppose I should just go for it. No one had lemongrass oil and I am very allergic to cinnamon.
 
Dave de Basque
Pie
Posts: 103
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found dead moths in a box of salt.


So did I! One of the weirder finds.

I did acquire some pitcher plants. They were out of butterwort. It's helped a lot.


Mmm... have you got a latin name on the pitcher plant? I might try to pick some up. And butterwort for that matter, what does that do? Do these work on the moths or the gnats?

I was able to pickup Neem Oil but after reading the warnings on it, I am hesitant.


Hmmm... just looked at the warnings on my own. Lately, they like to put dire warning labels on all natural products as the fatcats have no interest in funding any science that might favor using them over the good old petrochemical products that keep business as usual being business as usual. Anyway, I'd say go for it. I never really believed it until I started using them, but nearly all essential oils need to be used with a lot of caution and diluted. They are often really, really strong stuff! Not surprising I suppose, considering the power of plants on their own, and then if you take half a ton of plant and concetrate it down into a quarter ounce of essential oil, it's bound to be strong stuff. Show it proper respect, I say. This kind of raw power can be aimed in good and helpful directions as well as unhelpful or damaging. My neem insecticide comes very diluted, and still has the warnings not to breathe too much of it in, not to get it on your eyes or leave it on your skin, etc. Not bad advice, natural products can overwhelm you in that natural way if you don't use them correctly. Better to be careful and not overwhelmed though!
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 246
Location: Derbyshire, UK
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For fungus gnats- cover the soil in the pots they're living in with a layer of small gravel or sand, anything that means they can't get through to the soil. They then can't lay their eggs in the soil and after a fortnight or so they die out. You need quite a good layer (1cm or similar). It doesn't make it harder to see if your plants need watering though.

I've never found that carnivorous plants do very well in reducing my moth/fly population. I grow pitcher plants and they need really really soft water, and the pitcher tops dry out easily in my central-heating so don't last very long.
 
Linda Listing
Posts: 43
Location: Western PA
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not an expert on carniverous plants but here's what wiki has to say about butterwort https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinguicula and pitcher plants https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitcher_plant#Types_of_pitcher_plants

It's been a voyage of discovery. First that my area actually has an organic garden supply and then these plants. I am hoping they stay alive through the dry winter and central heating too. The garden center gave me some care guidelines. The pots looked small to me. The shopkeeper said they didn't need to be transplanted for a few years so small pots are okay. They grow slowly. The plants need distilled water or else set out water to let the chlorine evaporate. And when they do get repotted, a special soil mix. Basically, the plants evolved in very poor soil which is why they ingest insects. I placed the pitcher plants inside another container so they are living in a low level of water at all times. I take my tea in the plant area and look them over daily. Currently, they are dormant for winter, their pocket turns brown until spring. It appears the flies are interested all the same.

I discovered that one pitcher plant now has aphids. I am wiping them off. So far so good. Come spring when the black ants invade my pantry, the plants will be handy. My black ants are farming aphids on my outdoor rhubarb plants. The black ants come inside searching for sugar/honey/chocolate. I hope this may also quell the constant parade across my counters. I want to grow more types of carnivorous plants to my indoor menagerie. I am hoping I can get the hang of growing them. It's a new adventure.

I got up my courage and made up the NEEMS solution. I need to speed things along so I can get the seedlings started soon. I will try the sand approach next if the gnats spread. Thanks!
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic