If you’re dealing with pesky little insects buzzing around your home, chances are you have gnats. Even though gnats are harmless to humans, the more they breed, the more they can create an ongoing, frustrating problem for your home.
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As you’re making your way through the swarms, you’ll most likely be wondering how to get rid of gnats. In this article, I’ll go over the necessary steps you’ll need to take to get rid of gnats and prevent future gnat infestations. We’ll also look at where gnats come from and some of the more common gnat varieties that can quickly become a nuisance in your life.
But What Exactly Are Gnats?
Before I go over how to get rid of gnats, let’s first explore what this pesky household pest is all about. The gnat is a small flying insect that includes fruit flies, fungus gnats, and drain flies. However, there are some differences between the three main species:
- Fungus gnats: Fungus gnats are a dark color, have long legs, and mostly live in the soil.
- Fruit flies: Fruit flies have a round shape, are brown in color, and love hanging around over-ripened pieces of fruit.
- Drain Flies: Drain flies have larger wings – or moth-like wings, and are attracted to water.
Whether you have fungus gnats, fruit flies, or drain flies – they all breed quickly. This means that if you have gnats starting to invade your home, you must take care of them immediately before they get out of hand.
How Do You Get Rid of A Gnat Infestation?
Gnats are outdoor insects but can quickly make their way into your home. They do this by finding small cracks or even a few small holes in your foundation, doors, windows, and even walls. However, eliminating any food source or standing water outside your home can keep the gnat population at bay.
Fungus gnats, drain flies and fruit flies love to hang around your trash cans, fruit, or any other wet places where they might be rotting fruit, vegetation, or organic matter. This includes areas within the house such as sinks, drains, toilets, or other areas where standing water may be present, like overly damp potting soil.
Don’t panic! Here are some of the more common ways you can prevent and even kill gnats.
Top 5 Ways to Get Rid of Gnats
There are various ways to get rid of these small flying insects. You can try and prevent gnats from taking over your home all by yourself, or you can reach out for professional help from a pest control service. You may need to repeat or do multiple treatments to get rid of these small flies.
#1. DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Gnat Trap
A vinegar and dish soap trap is one of the most popular methods of dealing with a gnat problem. It’s cost-effective, safe and simple to make. Simply stir a few drops of dish soap, a tablespoon of sugar, and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a bowl.
Place the bowl of liquids in the area where you notice a high population of gnats. This could be in your bathroom, kitchen, or any other area with water or rotting organic matter. Sugar mixed with apple cider vinegar is meant to attract the gnats, but the dish soap traps gnats in the solution and eventually drowns them.
If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar at hand, you can use a mixture of stale wine and dish soap instead. If you want to use this method to control a gnat infestation that seems to be getting out of hand, you can set out a few bowls of this red wine mixture in several areas around the house.
Another version of this wine trap is the fruit trap. The idea uses rotten fruit like an overripe banana and a sheet of plastic wrap. Place plastic wrap over a bowl filled with overripe fruit and poke holes into the wrap’s surface. The gnats will smell the fruit, enter through the holes in the plastic and eventually become trapped. This trap is not only good for keeping gnats away, it also works incredibly well with fruit flies!
#2. Use a Spray
Spraying those gnat-filled areas can be both quick and effective if you have a smaller infestation of gnats. Making the spray bottle solution is easy. Simply place one tablespoon of vinegar with ten drops of dish soap into a plastic spray bottle. If you find gnats hovering around the garbage disposal, trash bin, or your indoor potted plants, all you have to do is spray the mixture directly onto the swarm. It will kill them quickly!
Another way to treat the infestation is to use a gentle insecticide spray containing a mixture of dish soap and neem oil diluted in warm water. Spray directly onto your house plants. Ensure you wash any solutions made with dish soap off of your plants at least two hours after spraying to protect the plants.
#3. Pour Bleach Down Your Drains
One of the more popular hangouts for gnats is around your garbage disposals, kitchen sink drains, bathroom sink, and bathtub. To take care of gnats collecting in these areas, pour a mixture of one-half cup of bleach and warm water down the drain to kill the gnats. Make sure you pour the diluted bleach solution slowly until all gnats disappear.
#4. Make a Candle Trap
To make a candle trap, place a candle in a candlestick holder and fill the holder up halfway with water. Turn the lights off and light the candle. The gnats are naturally attracted to the candle’s flame. Once the little critters get too close to the flame, they burn and fall into the water below.
This type of trap may not be as effective as the vinegar trap since there are a few factors to consider for this type of trap to work correctly. It only works at night, and you’ll have to turn all of your lights off for the gnats to flock only toward the candle. As a safety precaution, make sure you blow out the candle before you go to sleep.
#5. Hire a Dependable Pest Control Company
One of the most effective ways to stop gnats from taking over your home is by hiring a local and dependable professional pest control company. These companies are well trained in dealing with a gnat infestation. They will help prevent them from laying eggs, control adult gnats from reproducing, and create a customized treatment plan designed to take care of your problem.
Most companies offer affordable prices and free estimates on all pest control work. Contact a couple and compare. You’ll soon find a company that knows your gnat situation and will offer you the best products and services to get rid of them.
Some Other Ways to Get Rid Of Gnats
There are other basic methods you can try to control, remove and prevent ant infestations in your home and garden. These methods are relatively affordable and easy to make and use. Read the products’ labels and ensure you keep them away from children and pets if they contain harsh toxic chemicals.
Flypaper and sticky traps are sold almost anywhere. You can even buy it bulk online! It is a trusted method that has been used for decades. Using them is simple. Unroll the paper and hang it like a ribbon from areas where insects hang out.
The bugs fly into the paper and get stuck, eventually dying. The only drawback is that these yellow sticky traps can look unsightly and catch all types of insects such as flies and wasps, but also beneficial insects like bees.
Boiling water is one of the most common methods of dealing with problematic insects. All you have to do is pour boiling water down infested drains or garbage disposal. You can also pour baking soda, vinegar, salt, and bleach down the drain first, then follow it with a generous amount of boiling water. It will kill the little darlings instantly.
Diatomaceous Earth is made from ancient diatom remains and crushed into a powder. Diatoms are single-cell algae such as plankton. This powder works wonders as a natural insect repellent. For it to be effective, sprinkle the powder on the ground or on the soil in house plants where you see gnat activity. Gnats such as fungus gnats love to make their home in potted plants.
The powder works by sucking the moisture out of the soft-tissued insects, eventually drying them out. This dry powder will dry out the fungus gnat and reduce its chances of laying eggs. However, this method is messy, and you will have to reapply it to be effective.
Like pouring hot water down a drain, pouring drain cleaner can also help control these pesky flies. Pour these cleaners down drains where you suspect gnat infestation. However, most cleaners will only kill the adult gnats. You may have to combine drain cleaner and hot water for it to be more effective.
This product is yet another way to control soil-loving fungus gnats. This product is sprinkled into the soil of a potted house plant or mixed into the soil before planting.
It releases a biological larvacide called BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis). The larvae feed on the BTI and eventually die. You can also sprinkle it in standing water to kill any outdoor larvae.
How to Prevent Future Gnat Infestations
Once you have taken care of your gnat problems, there are a few things that you can do to keep these irritating bugs from coming back:
- Clean up any leftover food or spills from sweet beverages such as wine and sodas.
- Take out the trash nightly and place it in a tightly sealed trash can.
- Let your plants dry out for a while, and water plants only when necessary. Overwatering your indoor plants will provide moisture to the ground making the perfect environment for gnats to live and lay eggs. Make a drainage hole in your pots so that excess water can escape.
- Put ripe fruit in your refrigerator. The smell of ripening fruit attracts gnats. If you leave pieces of fruit lying around on counters or tables, you’ll soon have gnats, and fruit flies swarming over them.
- Gnats love moisture. You must keep your home less humid, repair any broken or leaking pipes and clean up damp or standing water.
- Keep your drains and garbage disposal clean and free of food particles and fungus gnat larvae.
Final Thoughts On Getting Rid Of Gnats
Homeowners don’t have to share their homes with gnats. You can easily take care of most of the gnat problems you’ll face with a few simple steps and some easy-to-make gnat-repellent recipes. By ensuring areas are clean and dry, most of your gnat problems will be gone.
However, if the gnat problems persist, you may have to seek outside help from a local pest control company to help you trap gnats and keep them at bay. It may take a few treatments, and be diligent with cleaning in high gnat traffic areas, but soon you’ll have your gnat-free home back!
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