Fungus gnat larvae

Sciara fly
or Fungus Gnat

Bradysia spp

More detailed info can be found here


Several species of Sciarid Fly can cause problems, but the most commonly encountered seems to be Bradysia paupera.
Eggs are laid into moist soil or organic debris. The larvae are translucent white with no legs and a distinct black head, and about 6mm long when fully grown. They feed on fungi and decaying plant material, but will also feed on live plant roots, and can burrow into seedlings and the stems of newly taken plant cuttings.
Where the larvae have damaged the plants, will provide an entry for Fusarium fungus to attack.


A preventative measure is to use an inorganic growing medium, especially with a top dressing of (3mm) grit.

Also, granules containing diazinon or bromophos (if available!) can be incorporated into the seed compost.

Fungus gnat adults

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Yellow sticky trap for sciara


Soak compost with insecticide. In some countries dimethoate, malathion and diazinon are still available. Otherwise, permethrin or pyrethrum sprays.

Very dilute tar-based disinfectant, such as Jeyes Fluid, will kill the larvae.

A green method of control is to place a few insectivorous plants, such as Pinguicula (See photo below) or Drosera (Sundew) around the propagator - these will catch most of the adult sciara fly.

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