Fruit Fly / Fungus Gnat Problem...Neem Oil Safe?

amfire125

Established Member
Lately I've noticed some fruit flies and/or fungus gnats in and around my cham's enclosure. I regularly change out gutloading fruit and veggies in the cricket bin...and dispose of things well, so I'm still experimenting to find the source. I'm also experimenting to determine if I do in fact have fungus gnats in my plants in the enclosure (using potato wedges). I also use vinegar solutions around my home to catch fruit flies regularly.

Anyways, my question is if anyone knows for sure if neem oil is safe for chams to use in the plant soil? I found some threads on this, but they were very outdated and nobody really seemed sure on this topic. I know the best solution would be to pull the plants out and repot them, but that would be best for the plants...and not necessarily for my cham... I never handle, free-range, or move my cham out of his enclosure...and so pulling out 75% of his plant coverage while I repot them doesn't seem ideal for the sake of his stress level. I'm hoping to find a solution to this problem that I can do all inside his enclosure.

I really am open all feedback and suggestions. The fruit flies or gnats truly don't seem to be bothering my cham at all, but they're certainly bothering me. Obviously I want to avoid this getting worse and becoming a problem for my cham as well.
 

amfire125

Established Member
If anyone is curious...I'm not sure neem oil is actually safe and there's a more recent thread that has some great advice on this topic... The one bottle of neem oil spray I found at Lowe's today said "organic" but it said "not safe for pets" and immediately turned me away.
 

amfire125

Established Member
Thanks, haha. I'm still trying to figure out the source of my pests. I've gotten rid of most of them with the classic diy vinegar solution all over my room...but now my room smells like vinegar. I'm not convinced they're fungus gnats from the plants in the enclosure so now I'm looking into bigger, possibly long-term, solutions lol. Fun times. :rolleyes:
 

Jordanworks479

Established Member
Thanks, haha. I'm still trying to figure out the source of my pests. I've gotten rid of most of them with the classic diy vinegar solution all over my room...but now my room smells like vinegar. I'm not convinced they're fungus gnats from the plants in the enclosure so now I'm looking into bigger, possibly long-term, solutions lol. Fun times. :rolleyes:
Every time I order bsfl from joshs frog the substrate there in always has fungus gnats in it.
 

Angelwolf

Chameleon Enthusiast
I too have this same problem, but have had no luck with keeping carnivorous plants alive. And the gnats don't really come out, exceot for misting time, when I get 50 of them in my face, so I don't know that sticky cards would work, either. I was thinking about trying to put a thin smear of Vaseline on the cage glass, in the hopes that they would get caught in it, and it wouldn't hurt my cham if she came into contact with it. Another thought I had was to get a cheap green anole and throw it in with her, thinking that maybe it would eat the gnats off and if my cham ate fht anole, no big deal, because some people feed them off to their chams.
 

amfire125

Established Member
I too have this same problem, but have had no luck with keeping carnivorous plants alive. And the gnats don't really come out, exceot for misting time, when I get 50 of them in my face, so I don't know that sticky cards would work, either. I was thinking about trying to put a thin smear of Vaseline on the cage glass, in the hopes that they would get caught in it, and it wouldn't hurt my cham if she came into contact with it. Another thought I had was to get a cheap green anole and throw it in with her, thinking that maybe it would eat the gnats off and if my cham ate fht anole, no big deal, because some people feed them off to their chams.
Someone suggested a similar idea (maybe they said a gecko instead of anole, but same general idea) in another similar currently ongoing thread on this topic. While I don't personally prefer this method, it might work well for your situation. I also don't prefer carnivorous plants.

Would a peppermint plant repel gnats? And be safe for a cham?
I would just check the safe plant lists if you want to put it in the enclosure, but even if it's not on the lists wouldn't it be okay to place one nearby? Or is there still a possibility that the odor would be annoying to them? I'm the worst with plant advice, lol, sorry.

Occasionally I see someone [in any thread] mention how we get wrapped up in the degree of how delicate we think the chams are. Yes, they are fragile compared to other pets (like dogs), but I do think it's easy to worry too much. At least I know it is for me, haha. I think it's because it's harder to read these animals compared to other pets. I bring it up because someone strongly recommended that I shouldn't put my vinegar solution jars near his enclosure because of the odor... I put one right next to his enclosure (not inside!) anyways because the fruit flies had to go! Absolutely nothing has changed in his behavior. In fact he climbs the vines, branches, and screen right next to it and I don't think he even knows it's there. Granted, it is a diluted solution, and everybody's situation is different. Sorry for the soap box speech, I just think if you want to try a peppermint plant near the enclosure then go for it! Inside the enclosure is always another topic since he/she might eat it, and I'm sorry I don't know off the top of my head if it's a toxic one or not.
 

amfire125

Established Member
I know everyone is giving me good advice. I really appreciate it! I'm trying to figure out what will work best for me and my cham. Honestly I'm hoping winter leaves me with a reprieve from this whole situation. The little pests have gone down significantly in the past few weeks. I might have successfully found the source of them and eliminated it naturally, which would be great. Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself. I also hope they don't come back in another season, but only time will tell.

Thanks to all!
 

Angelwolf

Chameleon Enthusiast
You can try cinnamon in the soil I haven’t tried it but I read about it google that and see if it looks like something you can do
That is a thought. Especially since my setup is a bioactive one, so there's no getting rid of the source, since I'm pretty sure that source is the damp soil. Chams have a very poor sense of smell anyway, so I don't think odors are anything to worry about. And putting something near the cage, as opposed to in the cage, won't do much good, since my cage is glass and the gnats stay inside until I open it to mist/feed.
 
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