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Non-Toxic Lawn Treatment for Gnats

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Depending on your region, climate, and soil conditions, your lawn can fall prey to fungus gnats. These pernicious, swarming insects typically favor wet and humid climates, but if your have an adjacent garden with decaying flowers and vegetables, fungus gnats may extend their home to your lawn. Their larvae feed on grass roots and can seriously damage your lawn.

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Traditionally, Americans choose to bombard fungus gnats with pesticides, which eventually seep into the soil and weaken it, making it even more susceptible to disease and pest infestations. At some point, lawn care may become unmanageable. You'd have to amend your soils and wait through several seasons to see results.

Fungus Gnats: Non-Toxic Lawn Solutions for
You can recognize fungus gnats by their dark and slender bodies that resemble adult mosquitoes. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (NSAIS) recommends that you try beneficial nematodes as part of your lawn care regimen if you detect these gnats. Nematodes are multi-cellular organisms that become parasites in the soil, attacking the target insect larvae before it can hatch. They shouldn't affect other organisms or deplete nutrients from the soil.

There is nearly a half million different species of nematodes, so you may need to order some that are known to feast on fungus gnats. The NSAIS recommends that Hypoaspis miles, a predatory mite available for commercial purchase. You apply them with a hand sprayer. Nematodes can be destroyed by exposure to strong light, so it's best to put them down on grey days, during light showers, or at sunset. You may need to pre-water your lawn, since nematodes thrive in moisture. Repeat applications can increase killing power.

Armed with nematodes and a better understanding of fungus gnats, you should be able to keep your lawn pest free and looking healthy throughout the year.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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