How to Get Rid of Bugs Flying Around Plants

What is the best solution for flying bugs in my calathea. I cut off all the leaves after my plant sitter looked after it for a few months. The leaves were brown in spite of sitting surrounded by water, using distilled water. The new leaves are smaller but in decent condition. But can’t eradicate th flying bugs. Tried a solution of Safers Insecticial soap, some dish soap diluted with distilled water. Keep the water below the pot clean, and put some dish soap in that water.

Hi Lynn,

It sound like you have either fungus gnats or whiteflies. The best way to get rid of both is the same.

First spray the entire plant with my “Green Solution” to get rid of the nymphs (immature teenagers on the leaves). This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Always test any spray on one or two leaves to be sure it won’t damage the plant. Depending upon how severe the infestation is, you can use these ingredients in varying proportions. If there are only a few pests, dip a Q-tip in alcohol and gently swab them off. For a more widespread problem, start by using a spray of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of biodegradable soap. If that doesn’t cure the problem, make a solution using 8oz. water & 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap (like ivory) and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant. Use this solution on leathery leafed plants (except palms), never on fuzzy leafed plants like African Violets or Begonias. For palms, omit the alcohol from the Green Solution. Never spray a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil.

Second use Yellow Sticky Insect cards to trap the flying bugs. Place little pieces of the card inside the pot of the infested plant and near doors, vents, and windows. Stir the soil to encourage the pests to fly around and land on the cards. Change the sticky cards as their surface becomes covered with dead insects & other debris. Temporarily get rid of the bowl of water under the plant.

The best way to get rid of Fungus Gnats and Whiteflies in the soil is to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out or get rid of your current soil, wash the roots of the plant well, and replant in fresh dry soil.. This eliminates the eggs and gnats in the pot.