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Gnat in my house…

By Penny Stine

When I brought in some of my outside planters from the patio last fall, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was bringing in more than just pots of basil and rosemary. When I noticed little critters flying around the plants in the living room, my fears were confirmed.

When my husband complained of excessive fruit flies in late fall, long after I quit keeping peaches and tomatoes all over the kitchen counter, I remained mum.
He continued to question why we had pesky little critters in the house when it was so obviously winter outside of the house…

I finally confessed that my garden in the living room might be part of the problem. By the time I confessed, he had already discovered that pea shoot salad was pretty tasty and didn't suggest I throw out all my plants in an effort to rid the house of pests. Yay for that, since I attribute my less-intense dislike of winter and January in part to the additional plants in my living room. 

Nonetheless, I was tired of the bugs, too, so I did some research and figured out they were probably some form of gnat, since they didn't fall for the fruit fly trap of apple cider vinegar and soap.



Julie, in the online dept. here at the Sentinel, said she had tried putting sand all over the soil in her houseplants to rid them of their gnats. So I went to True Value on 12th for inspiration and sand. I talked to a guy who was extremely helpful. (I love True Value on 12th - they're always extremely helpful - and they usually know what they're talking about. Plus, they have an in-store cat named Smudge. Or Mudge. Or something similar.)


The guy at True Value told me I probably wouldn't want to use any of their usually recommended houseplant bug killers, since I was regularly eating many of my plants, but he said he'd heard you could sprinkle pepper or any kind of red chile powder on the soil to keep the gnats from laying eggs. So I bought a bag of sand, brought it home and mixed it with chile powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper and sprinkled a layer of doctored sand over all of my indoor plant boxes.
That was a week ago. So far, there are still a few gnats here and there, but they do seem to be disappearing. It could be wishful thinking on my part, or it could be proof that it works.
In the meantime, yay for my chisel class at Crossroads Gym, which enabled me to pick up the 50-pound sack of sand and throw it over my shoulder and walk casually out of the hardware store. (While gasping on the inside, because 50 pounds is pretty stinkin' heavy for an old broad like me!)


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