An image of a common fungus gnat

How to get rid of gnats

Gnats are a flying insect which pose practically little to no harm to humans, but can be very annoying. Many gnats feed on plants and pollen and some are even carnivorous, chewing on dead organic matter. You can observe many male gnats forming a large swarm at dusk during the warm summer seasons. Nevertheless, gnats are still a pest and we are going to provide you with some information to kill gnats in your house. Gnats are usually a bit smaller than a common fruit fly and black in color. Although there are many different species of gnats, depending on the gnat’s diet and food source, the color will vary upon closer inspection.

Home remedies to kill gnats

Probably the most effective method to solving the question “how to get rid of gnats” is to simply purchase a gnat trap. Very convenient and quite inexpensive, a gnat trap resembles a fly strip. Actually, if you wanted to, I would just buy a fly strip since they are the same thing. Since there are many different species of gnats, a strip of sticky tape hanging from your ceiling will eliminate almost any house gnat, including fungus gnats and sand gnats. Amazon offers many great gnat trap product, but always perform research and read the product reviews before buying. Never again will you have that annoying swarm of gnats inside your house.

Another great home remedy to killing gnats is to create your own vinegar trap. First, you will need the following:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Warm water
  • A small bowl

Mix two tablespoons of vinegar, one tablespoon sugar and about 20 drops of soap with a couple cups of water. Mix well, using the heat of the water to your advantage to dissolve everything. Place the new gnat-killing liquid somewhere in your house where you see gnats flying. They will become attracted to the smell of the apple cider vinegar and drink the liquid because of the sweet taste from the sugar. Little do they know the soap will trap them and never let go. This is essentially creating a prison cell for our little gnat friend.

Some have the problem of gnats in their sink in the kitchen or bathroom. If you have gnats near your bathroom sink, the best method you can do is to pour some ammonia or bleach down the sink. NEVER mix both at the same time as this will produce a poisonous gas. I prefer to use ammonia, just buy a bottle and flush it down your sink to get rid of any bathroom gnats. Gnats can actually live and grow deep inside of your pipes, and flushing this potent liquid down will kill all gnats in the way. I’ve actually heard that even vegetable oil will kill anything in your sink too. A less dangerous method to kill gnats in your drain is to pour some boiling hot water down your sink. This will also clean out your pipes and unclog it.

Get rid of gnats indoors

An alternative to the soap and vinegar technique is to use red wine. The catch is that there is no need to add any soap to the wine since it is an alcohol and will trap the gnats anyways. This said, I still mix in a bit of soap for added effectiveness. Remember that for this to work there is no need for expensive amazing wine, you can use any type of wine to attract and kill gnats. Take the wine and pour it into a wine glass or other container. Then wrap the top with plastic wrap and poke some holes in the wrap with a toothpick. Leave this container near the center of a room with gnats and leave overnight. You can literally get rid of gnats overnight with this technique!

If you’ve read my article about getting rid of fleas, then you will be well familiar with using a fogger. There are many fogging products on the market because they are very effective and work great. Essentially what they do is create a poisonous gas that kills almost any insect or bug inside your house, including gnats. You will want to leave the house for a period of 8 hours while the fogger is working and ensure to air out your house to let it ventilate out any fumes. Getting rid of gnats with a fogger is a great proven way to eliminate many bug problems, but it will cost time and money.

The simplest natural way to killing gnats involves using a mason jar. First, fill the mason jar with some apple cider vinegar. Then, poke¬†about 20¬†quarter-inch holes in the lid and leave overnight. Gnats are attracted to the smell and will enter the jar, but will be unable to leave because of their terrible processing skills. They will look for something to land on to rest their wings, but won’t notice the holes in the lid they flew through. Basically, they will fly in, get tired, and take a rest on the vinegar. Little do they know that the gnats will get trapped in the vinegar and die.


Methods to prevent gnats

First things first, clean up your house. Do you dirty dishes and put them away. Never leave any food out in the open where a gnat or fruit fly might find it and lay eggs. Start a habit of cleaning dishes as soon as you are finished with them and you will eliminate 90% of all gnats. This will prevent gnats because they are attracted to food and by removing the food, you are essentially removing their reason for being inside your house.

As for trash, buy a trash can that has a lid. This is very beneficial in many ways. It will cover up the nasty smells emanating from your trash and stop that embarrassing conversation with a neighbor or guest. They will also prevent sickness because keeping trash away from children and pets will keep bacteria and viruses from spreading. When the trash it full, take it out and put it in another trash can with a lid. Why would you put your trash outside in a bucket where gnats could swarm outside? To keep gnats away from your trash, ensure that there is a lid to all trash barrels. Keeping the odor contained will keep gnats away.

If you have indoor plants, then there is a high chance the gnats are reproducing and coming out of the soil in the plant. I recommend replacing and changing the pot soil of the plant to get rid of any gnat eggs fast. Buy some quality top soil, which will help nurture your plant and eliminate any unwanted pests or weed seeds.

Try to refrain from over watering plants because some species of gnats will live in the soil and by watering the plants, you will be nurturing their habitat. Always make sure that your plant has a damp environment to grow in, but keep an eye out for emerging gnats in the soil. Check to ensure the plant has adequate drainage capabilities by checking the bottom of the pot. A great way to prevent gnats from nesting in your plant pots is to pour sand over the top layer of the soil. This creates a barrier that gnats can’t enter. You can get rid of gnats super fast just by placing some sand over your soil.

Check all the doors and windows in your house for holes or cracks. Take a walk around the outside of your house and fill any holes with caulk or glue. There should be no holes for gnats to enter your house. During the summer months, it is likely that you will want to open your house and allow the breeze to cool down your rooms. This can allow gnats to enter, so install a tight mesh bug-proof screen in each window.


Do gnats bite?

One of the most popular question I get asked is “Do gnats bite?”. This question is hard to answer because not all species of gnats bite. Some gnats bite animals and livestock, but won’t bite humans. Other species will never bite at all. Buffalo gnats, for example, can travel up to 10 miles for just to get a short drink of blood. Biting gnats will bite just about anything they can get their teeth on.

Many people confuse gnats for mosquitoes or horseflies and will automatically assume that all gnats bite. Anyways, gnats have four cutters inside their mouth that allows them to cut the skin and draw blood. Biting gnats will drink the blood and fly away before getting swatted at. The common procedure of medical aid for a gnat bite is the same for a mosquito bite. Just take a warm shower, and try not to itch and eventually your immune system will take care of the problem.

What attracts gnats?

There are many things that attract gnats, but usually they are attracted by a strong smell. The smell of anything rotten such as rotten flesh, rotten food, and even rotten wood can create a scent that attracts gnats. Sugar, such as that in a soda can will also be a lighthouse to any lurking gnats. Vinegar and those dirty dishes sitting in your sink are both prime examples of things they are searching for.

Where do gnats come from? Moist fruits and vegetables like that bag of potatoes hidden under your cupboards and pantries will also start to attract gnats if left alone long enough. Remember that fungus gnats thrive on decaying organic matter, so anything that was once alive and is now dead will be a perfect meal to a fungus gnat. Remove any fruit that is starting to show signs of rotting or already has a few gnats flying around it immediately.

Natural gnat repellent

There are many gnat-killing sprays on the market, but they also contain dangerous chemicals which can be a health hazard to children and pets. We want to focus on a natural organic gnat repelling substance. Rubbing alcohol is a great solution, just fill a spray bottle with some rubbing alcohol and spray directly on any flying gnats to kill them instantly.

Another homemade gnat repellent is citronella. Citronella works amazingly well at getting rid of many pests and insects, especially annoying gnats. To keep gnats away from buzzing around your head, simply light a citronella candle and let it do its magic. Citronella sprays are also available for purchase.

Vanilla is a great way to freshen up your house and to deter gnats from living in your house. Buy a small bottle of vanilla extract and fill a water bottle with two spoonfuls of vanilla and the rest with water. This will create an amazing smell that won’t kill gnats, but will keep them away. It will also neutralize any bad odors caused by your trash can eliminating the need to take your trash out so often. Dryer sheets are a simple little trick to help too. Hang some dryer sheets in your walk ways and near your garden to keep away gnats naturally.


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