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We've had a minor fruit fly infestation for a couple of weeks now, and we've been setting out traps and paper and being more careful about keeping food under wraps. But they've persisted... A couple of days ago, looking for high-traffic areas, I finally found that they were extremely numerous around our indoor aglaonema!

Naturally we've set traps there, but I wonder if we can also kill the food source. It seems like it puts out some kind of long fat pods, which research suggests might turn into flowers except this gets very little light, so who knows if they ever will. The pods seem to secrete a sticky, probably sugary sap, which I guess is what's attracting the fruit flies.

Should I just nip these off? Will I harm the plant and/or my chances of ever getting flowers?

aglaonema with sap secreted from pod

  • Are you sure your problem are fruit flies, and not fungus gnats? Fruit flies are attracted by rotting fruit, fungus gnats by (wet) plant container soil. Since they are around your plant I suspect you have fungus gnats instead of fruit flies. It is very unlikely that fruit flies are attracted by these unripe pods on your plant, so please wait with removing them unless you are really certain... – benn Jul 26 at 10:11
  • I would guess fruit flies, because they are very much attracted by our fruit fly traps, both the commercial ones and the homemade sugar water + detergent + old banana. Disturbing soil doesn't reveal any tiny insects. – Luke Sawczak Jul 26 at 15:49
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As has been pointed out in the comment by benn there are two kinds of flies that can be found inside that are a very annoying.

Fruit fly eggs come in with bananas or other tropical fruit. They are attracted to sweet and cider vinegar is used to attract them into traps.

Fungus gnat larvae live in the soil and hatch into weak flyers as detailed in my answer here. They are not attracted by sweet. The adults tend to fly towards windows or people which are warmer than the rest of the environment. Control is with yellow sticky strips and less watering.

The aglaonema is an aroid and the flowers are modified leaves called spadix. They are not particularly attractive and can have sticky sap on them. To assist controlling your pest problems remove the spadix by pulling them out. The plant will grow new ones as it matures and has sufficient light.

To sum up:

  • move all fruit from kitchen counters to the fridge to prevent more fruit fly hatching
  • remove the aglo flowers as a just in case control measure
  • set out yellow sticky traps for fungus gnats
  • set out fruit fly traps
  • check all your plants by gently moving the top of the soil around. If you see small flies then it's likely you have fungus gnats in the soil. Dust the top of the soil with diatomaceous soil and water less
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