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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Plants / gnats or flies in hvac
Posted:  08 Apr 2016 00:19  
Hi - hoping for help - We have a customer whose property manager hired an "expert" pesticide company who is telling them that the bugs they are seeing are because the plants company is keeping their plants too wet and doesn't know what they are doing or talking about.  Basically, they are seeing dead gnat type insects on desks below their HVAC vents.  We were told that this had happened before (prior to us servicing plants there) - our plants are dry between visits - there is nothing on the sticky traps or on the windowsills or near the plants. Does anyone have info on anything like this to share with them.  Our client is in between a rock and a hard place with us and his management company.  Thoughts?
Posted:  08 Apr 2016 15:34  
Funny you should bring this up.  We used to service a building in Newark, NJ, with a couple of tenants and the lobby areas.  Every year, twice a year, in March/April and again in September/October, we'd get a call from the office manager at one of our accounts complaining of gnats flying in everyone's faces.  Each time, we'd put in sticky traps and find nothing coming up from the soil in the plants.  We'd continue to get complaints, and we'd either drench with Marathon II or apply beneficial nematodes.  After a few weeks, no more complaints.  The cycle would repeat itself six months later.

At one point, I decided to hang the sticky traps from the HVAC registers (output and return).  BINGO!  Gnats were trapped blowing into the office through the registers, but were not trapped on the returns (probably because the air flow through the output registers is much higher and stronger than into the returns).  So the gnats were originating somewhere else in the building and being sucked through the system into the tenant space we were servicing.  Perhaps they were coming from a foodservice establishment or from the trash dumpster room.  Whatever it was, it was putting a strain on our relationship with our client until the traps told the tale.

This client has since moved to another building in the neighborhood, same plants, no more gnats in the past two years.  Go figure.
Posted:  08 Apr 2016 16:41  
BTW, the pest control service will always blame the plants.  But we've found huge swarms of them originating in waste bins in kitchens in offices where fruit juice, coffee and food remains have not been emptied or have leaked through the liner into the bin and started to grow mold that the gnats feed on.  I once opened the lid of one and a thousand weak-flying gnats drifted up like a cloud.  Not fruit flies, fungus gnats, verified ID.  So it's not ALWAYS the plants that are the culprits.
Posted:  08 Apr 2016 21:51  
We find that complaints like this are common in the spring when mulch is put on outside beds.  They get pulled inside and we get blamed.  When the mulch dries out, the complaints stop.
Posted:  09 Apr 2016 14:48  
Julie, that hadn't occurred to me, probably because the building in question is devoid of outdoor plant life.  Even the street trees are fossilized.
Posted:  12 Apr 2016 13:17  
Thanks for your info - good to know we are not alone.
Posted:  28 May 2016 14:19  
Yeah I too agree. My friend hired a pest company, pest control termites Sacramento and they gave him totally a different advice.
Posted:  30 May 2016 03:29  
JoeSmall, what did the pest control contractor tell your friend?

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