The term “gnat” means different things to different people, but generally they’re small biting and non-biting flying insects that often appear in groups. Sometimes spelled “nats” or “knats”, the annoyance they cause when flying around your home remains the same no matter what the name. Although there’s no scientific consensus on exactly what the word gnat means, there’s one thing everyone agrees on. Gnats are bothersome, even the non-biting ones. This is especially true when they fly in swarms. Everyone wants to know how to get rid of gnats, and if there are easy ways to do it. Keep reading to learn the fastest, easiest and most effective ways to kill gnats now and prevent future infestations.
Moisture is a big part of the cause. Gnats are attracted to moisture and moist, organic materials. Their life cycle is tied to water and this is why they can be particularly prevalent during rainy seasons. Once a gnat infestation has occurred, getting rid of them comes down to taking one or more specific actions:
#1 – Dry things out
Moisture encourages the breeding of gnats both indoors and outside, so drying things out is the first and most important step whenever possible. Drain any areas of standing water near your home and boost ventilation in areas that get moist. A dehumidifier is a great tool for drying things out in specific indoor areas. Use a room fan to disperse the dry air coming from the dehumidifier and boost its effectiveness. Never allow open access to any kind of moist foods.
#2 – Purchased gnat traps
Gnats are usually attracted to the smell of fermenting fruit and this is how some purchased traps work. These traps can be found at your local department store and are simple to use. Place the trap where you would normally see hordes of gnats, add whatever attractant came with the kit, then let it sit overnight. Dispose of the trap in the morning or whenever it seems overloaded. Traps are a great background option while you’re taking other more active steps. One of the easiest to use gnat traps are sticky pads that have been treated with an attractant.
#3 – Vinegar and Dish Soap
There’s an old saying that vinegar kills everything. Does this apply to gnats? Yes, and in an automatic sort of way. Pour apple cider vinegar into a bowl (it smells like rotting fruit) and then mix in a drop or two of dish soap . Gnats will be attracted to the smell, fall into the mixture, drown and dissolve.
#4 – Candle trap
Moths are not the only insect attracted to the sight of a flame. Gnats will be drawn towards a lit candle and this is a powerful weakness you can exploit. Place a candle in the kind of candle holder that has a built-in dish, then fill the dish with water and light the candle and place it out of reach of children. Gnats will be attracted to the flame, then fall into the water after getting singed.
#5 – Garlic water
Fungus gnats are the most common type to infect plants, and garlic water is a powerful way to get rid of them. Peel all the cloves from one head of garlic, then put them in a blender with 2 cups of water. Blend the mixture until it’s a smooth slurry, then add it to one gallon of water. Let the mixture sit for one day to transfer the essential oils to the water, then strain the liquid through cloth to remove solids and make it suitable for spraying. Spray plants or other areas that attract gnats and repel them.
#6 – Hot pepper spray
A number of spices like cayenne pepper will definitely get rid of gnat infestations, but you do need to be careful if you make any kind of hot peppers into a spray. The essential oils can cause burning of eyes and lips if handled poorly. And of course, keep this spray out of reach of children.
#7 – Lemon Juice Spray
Lemon juice is highly acidic and can be used to clear a home of many pests (including gnats). You can make an effective spray by mixing water with lemon juice in a one-to-one ratio, spraying door sills regularly to keep gnats away.
#8 – Vacuum collection
Gnats are small and they don’t usually move quickly. This is why vacuuming them directly out of the air works well in your home. Gnats breed quickly, so the more vacuuming you do the less powerful your infestation will become. There’s no faster way to eliminate swarming gnats in your home than with a vacuum cleaner.
#9 – Plumbing drain infestation solution
If gnats are flying around a sink, you probably have a drain infestation. Some people recommend pouring bleach down the drain to kill eggs and larvae, but bleach is damaging to the environment and is especially bad for septic systems. Hydrogen peroxide is a much safer choice that’s just as effective as bleach. Hydrogen peroxide also eliminates odours cause by microbial infection of drains
#10 – Hire a pro
If you can’t beat a heavy infestation of gnats on your own, it’s time to call a professional. Many people find that they can keep gnats down on their own after a professional extermination company does the heavy lifting. Always ask for and follow up on at least three references for at least three different pest control companies. Getting different opinions on how to solve the problem helps you see the best course of action.