Flying critters-Eating my leaves? Help to I.D. please

Delta9

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Hi Everyone

Can someone please help me i.d. these critters..
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..They are small-around 1-2mm
I am growing in soil and something has been munching on my leaves.

I have inspected the leaves back and front pretty thoroughly and no signs of eggs to the naked eye.

I have killed about a dozen or so of these things in my grow space- there only seems to be one or two around at any one time.

Please keep in mind I do not live in the U.S.-so they may not look exactly like your local species.
But they look like the kind of thing that buzzes around your fruitbowl when the bananas start to go bad...

So far I have tried a top dressing neem granules [5 days ago] and put up those sticky strips but they dont seem attracted to the strips.
 

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Hushpuppy

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Most likely, the larvae are the culprits which are eating on the leaves, and the flyers are the adults. Get a magnifying lens and look closely at the lower leaves, on top and bottom sides, to see if you can find white slug looking critters crawling around. It could be one of a bunch of different types of gnat, or aphid. Don't use the Neem for that. What you need is something systemic like Azomax, which is made from Neem oil. Do a soil drench with it and that should eliminate most off the leaf chewers. :)
 

Delta9

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Aha- yes that may very well be the culprit..I considered fungus gnats as a possibility but ruled them out as I thought they just ate the roots..
Thanks for the info guys.

o.k. then time to kill those suckers.

I've got yellow sticky traps for the fliers and I put an inch of sand on top of my soil in an attempt to suffocate the larvae..and I will let the pots dry out really well before the the next water

Hope that does the trick!
 

Delta9

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UPDATE: MY PESTS ARE GONE!!

In case anyone reading this is experiencing problems with fungus gnats too-
I will detail how I got rid of them- and hopefully this will help you too.

Firstly let me say-I am trying to grow as organically as possible-so when this problem arose-I did'nt want any chemical solutions-just a simple and natural way to eliminate these annoying creatures.

1.First step was to let the soil dry out COMPLETELY. This is important as the larvae love warm moist conditions. After about five or six days the soil was very dry and my plants were only just beginning to wilt a little.
Leaving a fan blowing over the plants helps to dry out the soil and gives the winged gnats a hard time getting purchase on your leaves.

2.Add a sprinkling of Neem granules lightly raked into the topsoil.
I added 1 TBSP per square metre.

3.Add a generous 1-2 inch layer of [washed] sand to the topsoil. Don't use beach sand- buy a bag of the stuff you would use in a kids sandpit.

Leave for another day or so before watering if you can. Keep vigilant and kill as many of the winged gnats as you can. You could try trapping them on sticky yellow pest strips-I had no luck with this personally. I achieved a better body count by just swatting them lol.

If they persist repeat steps 1 - 3. But most likely by now - you will have interrupted their reproductive cycle and ..

Hey Presto- goodbye fungus gnats!
 

Hushpuppy

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The only problem with this is that the fungus gnats and thrips can easily get into the grow area and re-infest the grow. Hopefully for you, the sand will prevent them getting back in.

If you water from the bottom rather than top watering, you can add some Diatomaceous earth to the sand. That will sure enough kill any that try to come in. But iff you water on top the DE will turn into a brick that the water will not penetrate. :doh:
 

Delta9

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The only problem with this is that the fungus gnats and thrips can easily get into the grow area and re-infest the grow. Hopefully for you, the sand will prevent them getting back in.

If you water from the bottom rather than top watering, you can add some Diatomaceous earth to the sand. That will sure enough kill any that try to come in. But iff you water on top the DE will turn into a brick that the water will not penetrate. :doh:
Thanks Hush-yes I have'nt ruled out the fact they may return... At least for now I seem to have killed the ones that were established. In the meantime I've covered my intake vent with pantyhose to reduce this risk.

With the Diatomaceous earth- what sort of quantity would you be adding to the pots? And can it be added to the watering can?
Watering from the bottom is a good tip btw. I understand the gnats live in the top 5-8 cm of earth.
 

jingo

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The only problem with this is that the fungus gnats and thrips can easily get into the grow area and re-infest the grow. Hopefully for you, the sand will prevent them getting back in.
:doh:
Or just as likely you bought the affids when you bought your soil. I stopped having pests when I stopped FFOF.
 

Delta9

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That is very likely...

I am using Canadian Xpress Max ..I've never used it before but will be more cautious second time around!
 

Hushpuppy

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You can't mix the DE with water as it will turn into mud, almost like mortar mix. You don't need much to put in the tops off the sand, If you water from bottom. It depends on the amount of soil surface that is exposed. The DE is very "dusty" and fine like a powder, and you don't want to breathe it. I would say no more than a couple Tbsp. at the most, mixed into the sand or soil at the top.
 

jingo

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You can't mix the DE with water as it will turn into mud, almost like mortar mix. You don't need much to put in the tops off the sand, If you water from bottom. It depends on the amount of soil surface that is exposed. The DE is very "dusty" and fine like a powder, and you don't want to breathe it. I would say no more than a couple Tbsp. at the most, mixed into the sand or soil at the top.
If you do use de remember to get food grade and buy from trusted source, not ebay because you can end up with pool grade and that is a serious inhalation risk.
 

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