Bugs in Soil. Might be Fungus Gnats?

MangoTheTortoise123

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I planted two dahlia bulbs and some hollylock bulbs in a garden box with plans to feed it to my tortoise when they get bigger and start to bloom. The plants have been doing well for a few weeks and grew quite a bit are stilll growing fine as far as I can tell but recently I discovered tons of little bugs with tiny wings all over the soil. I used organic soil, so I think the bugs came with it. I did some research and I think they are fungus gnats.. not positive though. I know that the soil is very wet right now and I know fungus gnats like that. My mom watered then we had lots of rain, that and there was some yellow stuff growing on top of the soil (I scooped it out) before the bugs took over is why I believe they might be fungus gnats. I can try to upload some pics if anyone can identify bugs.
So far I have put a small jar filled halfway with apple cider vinegar and put seram wrap with poked holes over the jar. I also made some homemade sticky traps with yellow card stock and Vaseline, if the homemade sticky traps don't work I will just buy some. I'm also planning on trying the potato slices when I can run to the store. I have sweet potato but not sure if that will work the same?

I'm waiting for the soil to dry before I start with any sort of pesticide. I was wondering if anyone knows of safe and effective use pesticides to use since I do want to feed the plants to my tortoise. I heard neem oil is a good natural pesticide, does anyone know if that is safe or if I need to wait a period of time before feeding plants to my tortoise after using it?

Thanks so much. :)
 

eric joranson

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please use no pesticides....they are bad for your tortoise. One thing you can do is to boil your substrate before adding it. It kills any hidden adults and the eggs. I suggest either fine orchard bark; or coconut coir.....both are good substrates; and are easily boiled before using. You can also add pill bug (aka ro;;ie pollies); and they will eat the gnats.
 

MangoTheTortoise123

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please use no pesticides....they are bad for your tortoise. One thing you can do is to boil your substrate before adding it. It kills any hidden adults and the eggs. I suggest either fine orchard bark; or coconut coir.....both are good substrates; and are easily boiled before using. You can also add pill bug (aka ro;;ie pollies); and they will eat the gnats.

I know pesticides are bad so I was wanting to use some kind of natural one. Do you know if diluted hydrogen peroxide would be ok to use? The plants aren't in my tortoise's enclosure so I'm only concerned about it being safe for her to be eating them afterwards. I would wash the plants off well before feeding too of course.

Does baking the soil in the oven work the same as boiling it? There are many bugs in the soil though.
As for the pill bugs that sounds like a good idea but I'm concerned about the pill bugs getting out of control. Is there any chance that can happen? Also, do I get the pill bugs on amazon or something?
 
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eric joranson

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pill bugs (amphipods) can be found underneath wood piles; and under rocks where I am; and are found in most places. The ones that roll up like a armadillos when disturbed . I have never heard of them getting out of control; but I have seen my tortoise eat one now and then. But if its seeing bugs that bothers you; then this might no be the road to take. Neither gnats or pill bugs are harmful to your tortoise. I suggest you go and get a fresh bag of coconut coir or fine orchard bark. Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil.....wring it out and add to enclosure.' after thoroughly cleaning out enclosure. Not all gnats come from your substrate; and can come from outside; seeking the moist environment in the enclosure. If that is the case; then expect them to return.
 

JoesMum

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Pill bugs are unlikely to get out if control and you just toss a few outside if there are too many.

As suggested, just pick up rocks, bits of wood, paving slabs or garden furniture and there's likely to be one or two underneath :)
 

MangoTheTortoise123

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pill bugs (amphipods) can be found underneath wood piles; and under rocks where I am; and are found in most places. The ones that roll up like a armadillos when disturbed . I have never heard of them getting out of control; but I have seen my tortoise eat one now and then. But if its seeing bugs that bothers you; then this might no be the road to take. Neither gnats or pill bugs are harmful to your tortoise. I suggest you go and get a fresh bag of coconut coir or fine orchard bark. Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil.....wring it out and add to enclosure.' after thoroughly cleaning out enclosure. Not all gnats come from your substrate; and can come from outside; seeking the moist environment in the enclosure. If that is the case; then expect them to return.

These plants aren't in my tortoise's enclosure, they are outside in a plant box. The soil is pretty most right now so I'm going to remove the top inch or so then wait for it to dry out before re-watering.
I wouldn't mind if there were pill bugs in the soil, I just want to get rid of the gnats because there are so many and the larvae will damage the roots of my plants. I will try to look for some pill bugs in my backyard.. I think I saw one the other day actually.

Thanks. :)
 
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MangoTheTortoise123

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Pill bugs are unlikely to get out if control and you just toss a few outside if there are too many.

As suggested, just pick up rocks, bits of wood, paving slabs or garden furniture and there's likely to be one or two underneath :)

I will start looking for pill bugs. Hopefully they take care of the gnat problem.

Thanks :)
 

MangoTheTortoise123

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I planted two dahlia bulbs and some hollylock bulbs in a garden box with plans to feed it to my tortoise when they get bigger and start to bloom. The plants have been doing well for a few weeks and grew quite a bit are stilll growing fine as far as I can tell but recently I discovered tons of little bugs with tiny wings all over the soil. I used organic soil, so I think the bugs came with it. I did some research and I think they are fungus gnats.. not positive though. I know that the soil is very wet right now and I know fungus gnats like that. My mom watered then we had lots of rain, that and there was some yellow stuff growing on top of the soil (I scooped it out) before the bugs took over is why I believe they might be fungus gnats. I can try to upload some pics if anyone can identify bugs.
So far I have put a small jar filled halfway with apple cider vinegar and put seram wrap with poked holes over the jar. I also made some homemade sticky traps with yellow card stock and Vaseline, if the homemade sticky traps don't work I will just buy some. I'm also planning on trying the potato slices when I can run to the store. I have sweet potato but not sure if that will work the same?

I'm waiting for the soil to dry before I start with any sort of pesticide. I was wondering if anyone knows of safe and effective use pesticides to use since I do want to feed the plants to my tortoise. I heard neem oil is a good natural pesticide, does anyone know if that is safe or if I need to wait a period of time before feeding plants to my tortoise after using it?

Thanks so much. :)

Just wanted to mention that these plants are not in my tortoise's enclosure but are outside in a planter box on my back patio.
Sorry, I realized I didn't really make that clear.
 

Reptilian Feline

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Look for Neem-oil. Organic gardencentres might have it, or look for it (more expensive) in health stores. It can be used to take care of garden pests as well as lice on dogs and cats, and help keep a healthy scalp on humans.
 

MangoTheTortoise123

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Look for Neem-oil. Organic gardencentres might have it, or look for it (more expensive) in health stores. It can be used to take care of garden pests as well as lice on dogs and cats, and help keep a healthy scalp on humans.

Great! I'll try the Neem-oil. I just ordered some pill bugs online yesterday since I had no luck finding them in my backyard, I plan to put the pill bugs in the soil to clean up first then use Neem-oil. If I do this while the pill bugs are in the soil will it harm them or just make them leave the plants? I would feel bad if I put them in just to harm them later so I want to know if I should pick them out.

Thanks so much :)
 

stevenf625

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pill bugs are great but be careful not to have a water dish with slick sides in the enclosure as the pill bugs will drown themselves in it.
 

MangoTheTortoise123

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The pill bugs will be going into soil in a planter box I have outside not in an enclosure so no need to worry about drowning. Thanks for the info though! :)
 

Reptilian Feline

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Great! I'll try the Neem-oil. I just ordered some pill bugs online yesterday since I had no luck finding them in my backyard, I plan to put the pill bugs in the soil to clean up first then use Neem-oil. If I do this while the pill bugs are in the soil will it harm them or just make them leave the plants? I would feel bad if I put them in just to harm them later so I want to know if I should pick them out.

Thanks so much :)
I don't know what effect the neem-oil will have on the pill bugs, so pick them out before you use the neem-oil.
 
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