Fungus Gnat Control

AgentShamrock

New Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Hi all!
My name is Shannon and I'm new to the tortoise life and got my little leopard tortoise hatchling, Tonka, back in March. After perusing through the many threads about the importance of maintaining humidity, I put a greenhouse cover over Tonka's enclosure to keep the humidity up. I do daily mistings to keep the area about 80% humidity, but it seems that this has made fungus gnats inescapable. I've gone as far as completely changing out the substrate (Orchid bark, coco coir, coco husk pieces, plain planting soil, with some sphagnum moss and exo terra forest plume moss in select areas since Tonka seems to like hunkering down in it) and boiling all of the new substrate in an effort to get rid of the little beasts, but of course they're back. I even had my roommate bring me some isopods home to put in, but I've only seen one underneath some of the moss so I'm not sure if the others died. I haven't had much luck with vinegar traps with my houseplants before (and currently difficult to find apple cider vinegar due to the whole pandemic situation), but I do have an order of sticky traps coming within the next few days. I was looking for a bit more of a permanent solution to the fungus gnat infestation. Does anyone have any experience with using Mosquito Bits in their substrate? Evidently it's a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis and while they claim it's safe for pets/people and only targets mosquito and fungus gnat larvae, I'm apprehensive of putting anything in Tonka's substrate if I don't know exactly what it'll do. For those who have used it, would you advise removing the substrate into a separate container and treating it that way? Or does anyone have any experience putting it directly into the enclosure? I know the gnats aren't going to harm Tonka, but I do have 2 aloe plants in there that I'm worried they might start destroying the roots on. Also they're driving me up a wall because they insist upon landing in my coffee and flying in my face.

On a side note, does anyone know a good place to purchase springtails that won't bake if temps are 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer? I'd like some other little clean-up crew members aside from the isopods that will focus more on any fungal spores. I'm a vet student (with far more experience with dogs and cats), so I tend to be very cautious about the potential for infections. Also a picture of Tonka!
 

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Dbrocato2

Active Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
146
Location (City and/or State)
Taunton, MA
Hi all!
My name is Shannon and I'm new to the tortoise life and got my little leopard tortoise hatchling, Tonka, back in March. After perusing through the many threads about the importance of maintaining humidity, I put a greenhouse cover over Tonka's enclosure to keep the humidity up. I do daily mistings to keep the area about 80% humidity, but it seems that this has made fungus gnats inescapable. I've gone as far as completely changing out the substrate (Orchid bark, coco coir, coco husk pieces, plain planting soil, with some sphagnum moss and exo terra forest plume moss in select areas since Tonka seems to like hunkering down in it) and boiling all of the new substrate in an effort to get rid of the little beasts, but of course they're back. I even had my roommate bring me some isopods home to put in, but I've only seen one underneath some of the moss so I'm not sure if the others died. I haven't had much luck with vinegar traps with my houseplants before (and currently difficult to find apple cider vinegar due to the whole pandemic situation), but I do have an order of sticky traps coming within the next few days. I was looking for a bit more of a permanent solution to the fungus gnat infestation. Does anyone have any experience with using Mosquito Bits in their substrate? Evidently it's a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis and while they claim it's safe for pets/people and only targets mosquito and fungus gnat larvae, I'm apprehensive of putting anything in Tonka's substrate if I don't know exactly what it'll do. For those who have used it, would you advise removing the substrate into a separate container and treating it that way? Or does anyone have any experience putting it directly into the enclosure? I know the gnats aren't going to harm Tonka, but I do have 2 aloe plants in there that I'm worried they might start destroying the roots on. Also they're driving me up a wall because they insist upon landing in my coffee and flying in my face.

On a side note, does anyone know a good place to purchase springtails that won't bake if temps are 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer? I'd like some other little clean-up crew members aside from the isopods that will focus more on any fungal spores. I'm a vet student (with far more experience with dogs and cats), so I tend to be very cautious about the potential for infections. Also a picture of Tonka!
I've been looking at Mosquito bits as well.. not sure is others here have used it. Im changing my substrate tomorrow to get rig of my fungus nats and mites I've noticed.
 

ErinH

Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
43
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento California
Ugh. Also looking for solutions to this. I tried diatomaceous earth but it just ends up wet and useless. I'm Afraid of mosquito bits getting ett!? Looking at pill bugs but I'm not sure if they're laying in the substrate or the plants. Annnnnoying.
 

ErinH

Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
43
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento California
Hi all!
My name is Shannon and I'm new to the tortoise life and got my little leopard tortoise hatchling, Tonka, back in March. After perusing through the many threads about the importance of maintaining humidity, I put a greenhouse cover over Tonka's enclosure to keep the humidity up. I do daily mistings to keep the area about 80% humidity, but it seems that this has made fungus gnats inescapable. I've gone as far as completely changing out the substrate (Orchid bark, coco coir, coco husk pieces, plain planting soil, with some sphagnum moss and exo terra forest plume moss in select areas since Tonka seems to like hunkering down in it) and boiling all of the new substrate in an effort to get rid of the little beasts, but of course they're back. I even had my roommate bring me some isopods home to put in, but I've only seen one underneath some of the moss so I'm not sure if the others died. I haven't had much luck with vinegar traps with my houseplants before (and currently difficult to find apple cider vinegar due to the whole pandemic situation), but I do have an order of sticky traps coming within the next few days. I was looking for a bit more of a permanent solution to the fungus gnat infestation. Does anyone have any experience with using Mosquito Bits in their substrate? Evidently it's a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis and while they claim it's safe for pets/people and only targets mosquito and fungus gnat larvae, I'm apprehensive of putting anything in Tonka's substrate if I don't know exactly what it'll do. For those who have used it, would you advise removing the substrate into a separate container and treating it that way? Or does anyone have any experience putting it directly into the enclosure? I know the gnats aren't going to harm Tonka, but I do have 2 aloe plants in there that I'm worried they might start destroying the roots on. Also they're driving me up a wall because they insist upon landing in my coffee and flying in my face.

On a side note, does anyone know a good place to purchase springtails that won't bake if temps are 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer? I'd like some other little clean-up crew members aside from the isopods that will focus more on any fungal spores. I'm a vet student (with far more experience with dogs and cats), so I tend to be very cautious about the potential for infections. Also a picture of Tonka!
Also. Tonka is so cuuute!
 

Blackdog1714

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
2,484
Location (City and/or State)
Richmond, VA
Blue Catch 24 PCS Fly Trap , Fly Trap Tape 13.75 for 24 rolls. Please read directions and roll the tube first it comes out so much easier. Works like a champ-Old School Is Back!

1596372477115.png
 

AgentShamrock

New Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Thank you all for all your replies! I have gotten some sticky traps for the gnats, and I did try out doing a drench with the mosquito bits on the substrate. I found that the mosquito bit drench was not very effective in getting rid of the gnats, however it could've been that I didn't do the drench often enough or I didn't use enough mosquito bits when drenching. I tried the mosquito bits on my houseplants as well, but I still had fungus gnats running amok in those too. I also changed out the substrate and boiled fresh substrate in a big pot for several minutes which seemed to help keep the fungus gnats off it for a longer time, but eventually they returned. What I ended up doing is having my roommate grab me some pill bugs from the horse barn she works at (since the horses eat the grass, they can't spray anything over there for weeds and pests) and I popped them into the enclosure! Turns out they came with some springtails, too, and now that both the pill bugs and springtails have colonized the enclosure, I haven't seen a fungus gnat in weeks. I think there's just not enough food for the gnat larvae, and maybe they're getting eaten by the other fellas in the enclosure. It is a little disconcerting to see the springtails all running around the foodbowl when I take it out for the evening, but at least they can't fly! And for anyone wondering how to keep the gnats out of your houseplants, I find that putting a 2-inch layer of sand on the top of the soil plus watering with diluted hydrogen peroxide (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water) when you see gnats is very effective as it kills the larvae (supposedly). You may have to repeat the process a couple of times. But this is only for houseplants, don't put hydrogen peroxide in your tortoise's substrate! Hope this helps anyone wondering what happened with the mosquito bits!
 

ErinH

Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
43
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento California
Thank you all for all your replies! I have gotten some sticky traps for the gnats, and I did try out doing a drench with the mosquito bits on the substrate. I found that the mosquito bit drench was not very effective in getting rid of the gnats, however it could've been that I didn't do the drench often enough or I didn't use enough mosquito bits when drenching. I tried the mosquito bits on my houseplants as well, but I still had fungus gnats running amok in those too. I also changed out the substrate and boiled fresh substrate in a big pot for several minutes which seemed to help keep the fungus gnats off it for a longer time, but eventually they returned. What I ended up doing is having my roommate grab me some pill bugs from the horse barn she works at (since the horses eat the grass, they can't spray anything over there for weeds and pests) and I popped them into the enclosure! Turns out they came with some springtails, too, and now that both the pill bugs and springtails have colonized the enclosure, I haven't seen a fungus gnat in weeks. I think there's just not enough food for the gnat larvae, and maybe they're getting eaten by the other fellas in the enclosure. It is a little disconcerting to see the springtails all running around the foodbowl when I take it out for the evening, but at least they can't fly! And for anyone wondering how to keep the gnats out of your houseplants, I find that putting a 2-inch layer of sand on the top of the soil plus watering with diluted hydrogen peroxide (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water) when you see gnats is very effective as it kills the larvae (supposedly). You may have to repeat the process a couple of times. But this is only for houseplants, don't put hydrogen peroxide in your tortoise's substrate! Hope this helps anyone wondering what happened with the mosquito bits!
This gives me hope! Thank you for sharing!
 

Gijoux

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
357
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi all!
My name is Shannon and I'm new to the tortoise life and got my little leopard tortoise hatchling, Tonka, back in March. After perusing through the many threads about the importance of maintaining humidity, I put a greenhouse cover over Tonka's enclosure to keep the humidity up. I do daily mistings to keep the area about 80% humidity, but it seems that this has made fungus gnats inescapable. I've gone as far as completely changing out the substrate (Orchid bark, coco coir, coco husk pieces, plain planting soil, with some sphagnum moss and exo terra forest plume moss in select areas since Tonka seems to like hunkering down in it) and boiling all of the new substrate in an effort to get rid of the little beasts, but of course they're back. I even had my roommate bring me some isopods home to put in, but I've only seen one underneath some of the moss so I'm not sure if the others died. I haven't had much luck with vinegar traps with my houseplants before (and currently difficult to find apple cider vinegar due to the whole pandemic situation), but I do have an order of sticky traps coming within the next few days. I was looking for a bit more of a permanent solution to the fungus gnat infestation. Does anyone have any experience with using Mosquito Bits in their substrate? Evidently it's a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis and while they claim it's safe for pets/people and only targets mosquito and fungus gnat larvae, I'm apprehensive of putting anything in Tonka's substrate if I don't know exactly what it'll do. For those who have used it, would you advise removing the substrate into a separate container and treating it that way? Or does anyone have any experience putting it directly into the enclosure? I know the gnats aren't going to harm Tonka, but I do have 2 aloe plants in there that I'm worried they might start destroying the roots on. Also they're driving me up a wall because they insist upon landing in my coffee and flying in my face.

On a side note, does anyone know a good place to purchase springtails that won't bake if temps are 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer? I'd like some other little clean-up crew members aside from the isopods that will focus more on any fungal spores. I'm a vet student (with far more experience with dogs and cats), so I tend to be very cautious about the potential for infections. Also a picture of Tonka!
We would not recommend using soils or moss with your Leopard Tort. A good layer of moistened to wet coco coir topped with about the same amount of moistening Orchid bark should maintain your humidity, especially with the green house you mention. The Tort might eat the moss and become impacted and the soils all come from compost sources which contain any number of poisonous plants and chemicals. Getting rid of the excess soils, moss and keeping the food mess removed each day helps keep the gnat population down.
 

stigrk

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Oslo, Norway
We have an 11 month old Herman and we had horrible problems with fungus gnats a couple of months back.

We used a product called gnatrol which is based on the bacteria you mentioned earlier and in combination with the yellow butterfly shaped sticky traps.

The sticky traps gets a lot of the adults and the gnatrol kills the larvae witihin a day or two.

However, eggs and pupae survives so the treatment have to be repeated several times to get them all. We did 3 times with a week between.

While that bacteria is very species specific and will only harm insect larvae I took no chances and took the tortoise out of the enclosure before every treatment.

This what we did:
• In the evening just before the time the tortoise usually calls it a night we took it out and let it sleep in a spare plastic box enclosure we keep. This we place somewhere dark so the tortoise does not get too stressed up.
• With the tortoise gone we take out all objects like food, water dishes, hides etc and treat the enclosure with gnatrol, with the lights in the enclosure switched off (gnatrol is destroyed by UV light)
• After 4-5 hours we mist the enclosure thoroughly with clean water, we empty the mister. This makes sure there is not an excess of gnatrol on the surfaces in the enclosure.
• The next morning after 1-2 hours of UV exposure in the enclosure we reintroduce the tortoise

This is probably overkill since gnatrol is supposed to be harmless to everything but certain types of insect larvae but better safe than sorry.

It also did not seem to stress out the tort too much, at least it went straight back to its ususal routine every time.

We have hardly seen a fungus gnat in the enclosure after this treatment 😊 (1,5 months now).

I bought a large stack of the sticky traps and they catch a couple of flies a week but these might come from the outside.
 
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