Gnat Problem!!! Use BT or Nematodes? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Gnat Problem!!! Use BT or Nematodes?

Hey All,

I know this isn't the most frequented portion of the forum, but cannot find any good terrarium forums out there.... so back to the good ole trusty plantedTank.net


There is a HORRIBLE fungus gnat problem in my Paludarium. At first I figured... 'what the hell, who cares'. Then all of my germinating seedlings started dieing. Apparently fungus gnat larvae eat the root ends of new plants. I need to kill these guys.


Does anyone have any experience with the following? Specifically if these would kill other beneficial organisms (spring tails, etc...). And how long will they continue to kill them if they do.

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) –
is a naturally-occuring bacteria that kills many types of worms, caterpillars, larvae and insects.

Beneficial Nematodes –
There is a type of nematode, Steinernema feltiae, that can be used to drench the soil each time you water. These tiny worm-like creatures will enter the larvae of soil pests like the fungus gnat and release a bacterium which is lethal to it.


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 05:41 PM
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Do you have any 'wildlife' in this tank?

What about those yellow sticky paper traps used for bugs?

The only other fix I see for terrarium or paludarium is to add a fan to increase air flow.

There was also a fungus gnat mite that you can buy to add to the soil but you would have to see if it would harm the other 'bugs' you want to keep.

Sorry if you've already thought of these solutions.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post
Do you have any 'wildlife' in this tank?

What about those yellow sticky paper traps used for bugs?

The only other fix I see for terrarium or paludarium is to add a fan to increase air flow.

There was also a fungus gnat mite that you can buy to add to the soil but you would have to see if it would harm the other 'bugs' you want to keep.

Sorry if you've already thought of these solutions.


Hey Deeda,
I figured someone would ask... but didn't want to make the original post too lengthy.
Great idea on the mites BTW. I thought I read about them somewhere. Any experience with these?


I currently have Harvester Ants (no queen), and a Fire Ant Queen. As well as a Spiny Flower Mantis (These guys are dope!)
I want to make sure that these can survive... but seems like any information has more 'marketing' that pure fact.

Currently:
I do have a fan on the tank. The fan combined with not water, did AMAZING results on thinning out the gnats. Until I started watering again (keep the plants healthy).
I imagine that if I did several cycles of watering (to hatch the gnat eggs), then dry spell (to kill the larvae before they turn into adults)... it would do the trick. That is getting toucher though now that I am trying to grow plants. and I am growing impatient at looking at a desert tank.

Fly paper works killing adults.... but for months they just keep coming. Now that I have a mantis, I'm trying to stay away from the paper as much as I can. PS. slugs are immune to fly paper, and they apparently LOVE eating stuck gnats.


I also find that I do not believe the adults 'eat'. No bait I've used seems to attract them at all, they only seem to fly into the paper, or water by shear coincidence.


Phwew, hope that helps

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 07:30 PM
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Great looking set up!!

Sorry I have no experience with either terrarium, paladarium or fungus gnats, just did some online searching for controlling fungus gnats and most topics were related to outdoor gardening.

Dee
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 08:30 PM
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I do not have any experience with terrariums or paladariums but I have been in pest control for over 6 years.

The glueboards you are using are considered a monitoring product not a treatment. Sure they will catch the adults but they may have already laid eggs so the damage is done and the cycle continues.

I'm not sure how you would treat this. You can't use any type of insecticide I'm familiar with that won't cause damage to other livestock or potentially the plants. Generally overwatering plants will cause an increase on the fungus gnats so just letting soil dry up and being less generous on waterings will solve it. Again unfortunately drying out a paladarium seems like a risk. You could try a pheromone based trap but if you have that many gnats the natural pheromones may overwhelm the trap.

You could follow the direction of the "little old lady who swallowed a fly" keep adding predators to remove the problem lol

Very interested in following the progress here, please post more pics and keep us updated!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 10:33 PM
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BT is specific to insects with alkaline guts, and highly effective. The trick may be getting it down into the soil where the gnat larvae will eat it.

I have very little experience with predatory nematodes, but I was unimpressed with the results when I used them in an outdoor garden. May work better in the confined ecosystem of a terrarium.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply! Wasn't expecting this much attention in the terrarium section. The pest control expertise is definitely useful here
I do believe the best course of action here is to let it dry... then water to hatch any remaining eggs... then let it dry out again before they hatch. Doing this several times will definitley work from what I've seen.... ... ... but is a 2 week cycle that I'd have to repeat probably 3 times.

It is the *smart* move... but I've realized this after battling these gnats for a month and a half so my patience grows thin


The "little old lady who swallowed a fly" approach is much more entertaining!


New pics to come soon with some progress updates

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 05:01 PM
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Any updates on the gnat problem?

Dee
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 01:23 PM
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Sorry I'm late to the party here but mosquito dunks work to get rid of fungus gnats.


"cannot find any good terrarium forums out there"

https://www.dendroboard.com/

Well that's just like.........your opinion man.


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