Many people may think they have suddenly found themselves in Florida after encountering swarms of “love bugs”. This pest, usually only encountered during a getaway to the coast, has come to visit Birmingham and the surrounding area.
Our recent invaders, fungus gnats, are related to love bugs, mosquitoes, biting midges and sand flies. Compared to their kin they are quite harmless as they don’t bite, sting or pose a threat to our crops or ornamental plants.
Fungus gnat eggs are laid under debris and decaying vegetation which the larvae then feed on. This pest is beneficial in nature because the adults provide a food source for various birds and the larvae aide in decomposing plant material.
Though most insecticides will kill adult fungus gnats on contact, treatment is impractical because of the high populations. The swarms of fungus gnats should run their course within four to five weeks so there is light at the end of the “tunnel of love”.