Tiny flying bugs living in the dirt of my dwarf key lime?

Mrs V asks: Tiny flying bugs living in the dirt of my dwarf key lime?
They are not fruit flies. They are living in the dirt, and they fly. They are small like fruit flies, but more like little gnats. How do I get rid of them? I just got some miracle grow fertilizer for rhododendrons (recommended for dwarf citrus) will this kill them? Is there something else that I can use that will not harm my plants. They have just started to come out of their winter dormancy. Looking for advice. I have been gardening for several years. Thanks

The answer voted best is:

Answer by ranger_co_1_75
You have soil maggots. They turn into flys and look for some damp soil to lay eggs in and spread their species.
Let the soil dry out so they can’t live in it. OR just go down to the garden shop and tell them you have soil maggots and they will give you the right pesticide to kill the nasty boogers.

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  1. If your dirt is very moist, let it dry out a bit…usually when I see the little knats it’s because the soil is too wet.
    To catch knats now…try putting a couple of ounces of white wine in the bottom of a glass and add a couple drops of dishsoap. If the knats are attracted to the wine, they’ll drown in it because the soap changes the surface tension and they fall in. Clear juice (like apple) can also work but wine seems to be best with my knats.

    A spray of a little dishsoap, some cayenne pepper and a few ounces of water sprayed right on the soil surface (or preferably directly onto the knats) might help too.

  2. A few solutions:

    • Check out Safer’s Sticky Stiks. The insects are attracted to the yellow color and are trapped when they land on the sticky surface. These things work great, and would be my top choice.

    • Try sprinkling cinnamon and/or find sand on top of the soil.

    • Only water when needed. Soil gnats need water to survive.

    • Remove all dead foliage. These critters love to eat dead and decaying plant matter.

    • Take an unused jar and drill a hole in the lid. Put about 1/4 inch of apple juice into the jar. Add some yellow food coloring if you want to make it extra attractive. Place the lid on the jar, and set it right next to the affected houseplant. The pests will find their way into the jar, but won’t get back out again.

    • Isolate affected houseplants so that you keep the infestation contained.

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