Flies

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Shelley
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Joined: 23 May 2017, 15:09

Flies

Post by Shelley » 23 May 2017, 15:12

I changed my 2-year-old tortoise's soil in her indoors enclosure about a month ago and since then I've had a terrible problem with little black flies all over it and crawling around the house as well now. I've previously used Homebase topsoil but they've stopped doing it and have used Wickes topsoil this time. The soil is generally dry and I've even stopped misting it for a while to see if even that amount of moisture was causing the flies to breed. I've got a venus fly trap on her table and a sticky fly paper near it but I'd like to tackle the source of the flies. Any ideas please?

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lin
Posts: 635
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Flies

Post by lin » 24 May 2017, 22:31

Hi Shelly. Sorry this was missed.

The black flies are usually caused by moisture but as you have allowed the substrate to dry out then your next best options are already being covered. The flytraps are a brilliant idea and a lot of us use the Sundew plants that the flies are attracted to the sticky honeydew. Hopefully someone else will come up and offer their ideas but if nothing works then maybe a change of topsoil.

Lin

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Flies

Post by Nina » 24 May 2017, 22:41

Apologies from me too for not answering sooner. I agree with all of what Lin has said. Just for information, those little bugs aren't actually flies -- they are called fungus gnats and they don't really do any harm, but they are a nuisance.

My tortoise table is underneath a window and I have loads of plants on the window sill that all need watering and I get lots of fungus gnats. The sticky fly strips are actually very good and I have been fairly successful in getting rid of most of them by hanging several fly strips in the area. Lin is right about moisture, and there isn't much you can do about it because plants in pots and the soil in the table needs to be watered periodically. Changing soil would work, as they lay their eggs in the soil, but they will just reappear as soon as you water the new substrate. I hardly have any at the moment for some reason, but last year I had a real problem with them and found that several long sticky strips worked pretty well (the ones I used came on a little reel, like an old-fashioned reel of film, and you just pulled one end out and it was about two feed long).

Nina

Shelley
Posts: 6
Joined: 23 May 2017, 15:09

Re: Flies

Post by Shelley » 26 May 2017, 20:58

Thanks Lin and Nina for your really helpful advice. It's also good to identify what the flies are! I wasn't able to find a sundew plant at my local nursery and just got a standard venus fly trap so I may look a but further afield for a sundew to try and attract the flies. I am hoping this is a freak occurrence and when I change the substrate I hope they won't return as I haven't had this problem before. And in the meantime the sticky fly strips will have to do. Thanks again and I'l keep my fingers crossed they buzz off!

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Flies

Post by Nina » 26 May 2017, 22:52

Hi Shelley,

I hope you are successful in getting rid of them! Just for info -- Venus Flytraps like a really moist environment, so you can stand the pot in a saucer with some water in it -- but it must be rainwater. Ordinary tap water will burn the roots and kill the plant, so only use rainwater to water the plant. I made the mistake once of watering mine with tap water and I just about killed it.
Let us know how you get on.

Nina


Shelley wrote:
> Thanks Lin and Nina for your really helpful advice. It's also good to
> identify what the flies are! I wasn't able to find a sundew plant at my
> local nursery and just got a standard venus fly trap so I may look a but
> further afield for a sundew to try and attract the flies. I am hoping this
> is a freak occurrence and when I change the substrate I hope they won't
> return as I haven't had this problem before. And in the meantime the sticky
> fly strips will have to do. Thanks again and I'l keep my fingers crossed
> they buzz off!

Dbeddoe
Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Jan 2020, 15:22

Re: Flies

Post by Dbeddoe » 11 Jan 2020, 15:25

I have just started getting this problem for the first time and surprisingly it’s since I changed the substrate to using wickes
Topsoil! I have not been impressed with it, to the point of finding 2 pieces of glass inside! And have now been swarmed with these flies too!

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Flies

Post by Nina » 11 Jan 2020, 16:01

I've found bits of plastic and glass in most of the topsoil I've bought (not many, but occasionally). They always say that it's filtered/sifted, but I guess some bits get through -- really irritating though. I don't think that the Wickes topsoil could be the cause (although I supposed that it could have had some of the gnats' eggs in it, even though it was sterilised). They just seem to come when soil is damp. Do you have plants growing in your substrate? I've certainly had fungus gnats in another room where I had lots of plants on the windowsill, not near the tortoises.

Funnily enough we've just had another question about those, and here is what I wrote (along with a link to the fly catching strips, which work really well -- hope it helps.
___________________
Ahh yes, those little flies. They are called fungus gnats and they tend to breed in damp soil and especially if you have plants growing in the soil. I get them in my tortoise table on and off, and sometimes there are a lot and they are a nuisance, although they don't actually damage the plants or the tortoise. They will die out if the soil is completely dry, but of course you don't want the soil to be completely dry. What I've done in the past, and it has worked really well, is to get some of those fly paper strips and hang them above the table, and it is amazing how many of those things they catch -- and they eventually went away. Do get the fly paper that is just sticky -- not anything that has insecticide on it -- as you don't want anything with insecticide near tortoises, but they work surprisingly well. Here is a link to them on Homebase https://www.homebase.co.uk/rentokil-fly ... s-_p150441 but you can get them in lots of places. These ones are sort of decorative and come in a roll, where you just pull the end of the roll out to a long strip and hang above the table (with the tail of the strip hanging down as far into the table as you can, without touching anything and so the tortoise can't reach it, and it will soon be full of those little gnats that have stuck to it and then when it's covered in them (yuck!), you just throw it away and put another one up. I think you catch so many that it doesn't give them a chance to breed and they eventually die out. Good luck!



Nina

Dbeddoe
Posts: 2
Joined: 11 Jan 2020, 15:22

Re: Flies

Post by Dbeddoe » 12 Jan 2020, 16:26

Thank you for your help!
I will definitely look into getting those.
I have just bought a Venus fly trap too - although I doubt it will get them as quickly as the tape so a definite need to buy!

Thank you again.

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Nina
Posts: 1027
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Flies

Post by Nina » 12 Jan 2020, 22:13

My venus fly trap never seemed to catch any, but I might not have had it close enough. I do know someone who used a venus fly trap and she said it caught lots of them. I'm not sure that the fungus gnats are heavy enough to trigger the traps to close, but it's definitely worth trying.

Nina

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lin
Posts: 635
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Flies

Post by lin » 12 Jan 2020, 23:29

I find the sundews trap the little flies better than anything.
Lin

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Nina
Posts: 1027
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Flies

Post by Nina » 13 Jan 2020, 08:03

That's good to know. Thanks, Lin.

Nina

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