SassyGardenerInMS
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Mississippi

Tangerines Trees and Bugs... Please Help!!!

So I have started about 400 tangerine trees from seed and they were doing great until about two weeks ago. Suddenly I have these little flies, similar in size to gnats and a little smaller than typical fruit flies that I am used to, and they are somehow killing my new plants. They are swarming all around the plants and not sure how they are hurting them but every morning now when I come out there are leaves gone from the top of about 15 to 20 of the plants. These plants are still in the young stage. They are maybe 2-3 months old and about 1-2 inches in height. Most have just a very thin stem with 2 leaves so far on top. When I come out in the am, I find the top 2 leaves of numerous plants completely gone. I have seen no other bugs around them. These plants are kept in a greenhouse. Each one of these plants has about 6 or 7 of these little flies crawling around it at all times, therefore I have concluded that it must be these bugs. I tried neem oil and another insecticide as well to no avail. Planting these was a lot of work and I would hate for it all to be for nothing so if anyone could help I would SOOOO appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
Jessica

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27902
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Although difficult to be definitive on description alone, I believe the bugs are fungus gnats. They are probably not actually hurting your seedlings but their presence is an indication that you are probably overwatering, which will adversely affect most citrus in any stage.

Start by letting the surface of the soil dry. Adult insects can be vacuumed up or trapped in shallow plates/bowls/trays of soapy water or yellow sticky traps (or yellow plasticware coated with petroleum jelly). Once the soil surface is dry try sprinkling the surface with sharp sand or horti/agricultural grade (not pool filter) diatomaceous earth. Simple very dilute soap (not detergent) solution spray will be effective in killing them.

Watering with dilute cinnamon stick and chamomile tea will help kill fungi in soil that the gnat maggots live on.
Last edited by applestar on Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Do the little bugs tend to crawl around on the soil and only fly up when disturbed? Then it is fungus gnats. But fungus gnats won't eat the leaves of your plants. The gnats mainly eat the fungus in the soil, but they lay eggs in the soil which hatch into larvae which eat the roots of the plants.

Type fungus gnats into the Search the Forum Keyword Box for lots more info here about them.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SassyGardenerInMS
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Mississippi

I have been watering them about twice a week. I was told by someone else to possible spritz them with soapy water just after watering. How many times do you think I should be watering and would you recommend the soapy water usage?
Jessica

SassyGardenerInMS
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Mississippi

Rainbow- they do seem to only fly mostly when I have disturbed them. Otherwise they are laying on top of the soil for the most part.
Jessica

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Almost for sure fungus gnats then. Like I said, do the search...339 hits.

But yes, fungus gnats would be a sign that your soil is staying too moist, too much of the time and twice a week sounds like too much, although I can't say for sure not knowing how big the pots are or the kind of soil. But you want to let at least the top inch or so of soil dry out between waterings.

And read what applestar said aabove about cinnamon and chamomile in the water you water with.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SassyGardenerInMS
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Mississippi

I am so silly that I totally missed the post by Apple. I will start trying these remedies today. Thanks so much to all.
Jessica

Return to “FRUIT FORUM”