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4 Simple Tips On How To Get Rid Of & Prevent Gnats

how to get rid of gnats inside and out

Are you looking around your kitchen and seeing a horde of little flying insects? Are you concerned about the potential health risks that may come with these little creatures that are covering your fruit bowl? Don’t worry! I’m going to teach you how to get rid of that pesky gnats infestation!

gnats

What are Gnats?

Before you can find the right solution for your gnat problem, you need to know what you are dealing with. A gnat is a small black or brown insect. They may look similar to a fly; however, they are smaller.

These tiny pests are usually slender in their body with fragile and small wings. You may assume they are all fruit flies, but there are a variety of different types of adult gnats that may make their way into your home. 

In general, you may find that gnats are broken down into two primary categories: biting and non-biting varieties. The gnats that get into your home are usually the non-biting varieties. Gnats are not strong fliers, so they may stick to one area of your kitchen or your home rather than moving around like a fly.

Although gnats have many similarities, you should be aware that most homes are infested with three primary types of gnats: fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. The drain flies may also be called phorid flies.

Related: How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies

gnats

Types of Gnats

Identifying the type of gnats that may infest your house is a critical part of finding a solution to get rid of them. When you are looking into how to get rid of gnats, you want to focus on eliminating the right type of gnat.

Fruit flies are often found in your kitchen and usually have a rounded brown body with red eyes. You will often notice these annoying pests hanging out above your fruit bowl. When I notice that fruit flies have made their way into my kitchen, I make sure to take measures to eliminate them before they are able to cause problems. 

Related: How to Get Rid of Silverfish Quickly & Effectively

Drain flies differ from fruit flies in the way they appear. You may notice that some flies in your home look similar to small moths. The flies will spend time around your drains, so you can find them in any bathroom, your kitchen, or other spaces with a drain. 

The final type of gnat that you may notice in your home is a fungus gnat. The gnat has a long black body with long legs. You will notice that it seems to spend time around your potted plants or similar areas of your home. You may also see fungus gnats in your yard and garden, so be aware that this gnat is found in many different areas with soil.

Although other types of gnats may fly in through an open door or window, they are usually found in outdoor spaces. The three primary types that you will find in your home are the ones to consider when you are looking for natural remedies to get rid of gnats.

Related: How To Get Rid Of Ants

gnats

Where Gnats Come From

Gnats are a pest that commonly comes from an outdoor space. They are attracted to rotting fruit, damp soil, and similar environments. In most cases, they need a reasonable amount of moisture in the air to grow, live, and thrive. A humid environment with warm temperatures is ideal for most gnat species.

They may get into your home from a variety of sources. For example, they can fly in through an open door or window. Due to their small size, gnat populations can also get in your home through small openings that you’ve overlooked.

The exact source of the gnats in your home may vary. Generally, they stay around your home due to the items that attract them to your space, such as rotting fruits and vegetables, over-watered houseplants, or smells from your drains.

gnats

How to Get Rid of Gnats By Type

When I notice gnats in my home, the first consideration is the type of gnat. When you want to get rid of gnats, it is easier to focus on eliminating their food source. Since the foods that gnats in your home eat may vary based on the type of insect, identifying the pests is the first part of eliminating them.

Fruit flies are an easy insect to address. Remove their food source by putting fruits and vegetables in your fridge or in an appropriate bin. They will not have access to the food, so they will leave your home. You also want to make sure you rinse any fresh produce you bring home from the store before you put it away, since the flies may get into your home by traveling on your purchases. See my article on how to get rid of fruit flies naturally for more info.

Drain flies are attracted to items in your drains. If you want to get rid of their food source, then you must clear out your drains and garbage disposal. Flush out your drains with an appropriate drain cleaner. You may want to consider home remedies to clear out any clogged pipes or drains. If the problem persists after using a natural remedy, then consider a more powerful drain cleaner. Keep in mind that you want to follow the directions for any drain cleaner to avoid undue risks to your pipes.

If you notice that problems with drain flies persist after cleaning out your pipes and drains, then you want to call a plumber. You may have a leak in your pipes, which is preventing your drains from clearing out. After a plumber fixes your pipes, you may notice that the problem with drain flies is resolved.

Fungus gnats spend time around your houseplants and organic matter, which may seem difficult to handle at first glance. When it comes to fungus gnats, the key is to avoid putting too much water in your plants. You can use a turkey baster to help you measure out water for your plants and reach high places at the same time. Alternatively, avoid watering your plants for a short time and then measure out water based on the type of plant.

You can also replant your houseplants in a new pot with fresh soil. By changing out the moist soil, you are getting rid of the fungus gnats. Just keep in mind that you want to water your plants based on their needs and not put in excess water after you replant in fresh soil. Fungus gnats are attracted to moist, damp soil and humid conditions, so you want to limit the environmental factors that attract the gnats.

gnats

Natural Traps for Gnats

Sticky traps that capture the small flying insects are a good way to get rid of gnats. The easiest trap to set is apple cider vinegar. Put the apple cider vinegar in a container and cover it with plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap to the container with a rubber band and then poke small holes into the plastic wrap. 

If you prefer to use over-ripe fruit for your trap, then place the fruit in a jar with vinegar. Use a piece of paper and turn it into a cone before placing it into the jar. The cone-shaped paper will allow the flies into the jar but prevents them from leaving.

You can also use drops of dish soap in vinegar as a DIY pest control trap. The dish soap causes the gnats to sink and drown in the vinegar. The gnat trap makes it easy to get rid of the flying insects.

Tips to Prevent a Gnat Infestation

After you eliminate the gnats, you want to take DIY measures to prevent them from returning to your house. By following a few simple tips, you can limit the risk of a new infestation of the pesky pests.

clean and put away dirty dishes

Tip #1: Keep Your Dishes Clean

The obvious way to prevent fruit flies and other gnats from sticking around your home is to keep the kitchen clean. When you finish with your dishes, clean them up, and put them away. It will eliminate a common food source for flies in your kitchen.

Store fruits and vegetables properly

Tip #2: Put Fruits and Vegetables in the Fridge

Don’t keep out your ripe fruits and vegetables. Clean them and then put them into your fridge or an appropriate covered bin. If you leave your ripe fruit out, then it will attract gnats to your kitchen.

change potting soil

Tip #3: Change Your Potting Soil

Changing your potting soil has two benefits: it improves the health of your plants and it gets rid of poor quality soil that attracts fungus gnats. Change out the potting soil when you notice the gnats and pay attention to your watering habits. Make sure that you do not over-water your plants.

dry damp areas

Tip #4: Clear Up Damp Areas

Do not allow water to sit and fester in your yard or home. Clean up any damp areas and keep the moisture levels in your home low. Ideally, you want to use a dehumidifier or a similar tool for your basement or any other spaces that have a high level of humidity. It will discourage gnats from staying in your home.

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how to get rid of gnats inside and out

How to Get Rid of Gnats

Jill Nystul
By following a few simple tips, you can limit the risk of a new infestation of the pesky pests.
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cost $15

Equipment

  • Dehumidifier or something similar

Ingredients
  

  • 1 dish sponge
  • 1 bottle dish soap
  • 1 bag poting soil You may need more if you have a lot of plants to change the potting soil for.

Instructions
 

  • Keep Your Dishes Clean. The obvious way to prevent fruit flies and other gnats from sticking around your home is to keep the kitchen clean. When you finish with your dishes, clean them up, and put them away. It will eliminate a common food source for flies in your kitchen.
    clean and put away dirty dishes
  • Put Fruits and Vegetables in the Fridge. Don't keep out your ripe fruits and vegetables. Clean them and then put them into your fridge or an appropriate covered bin. If you leave your ripe fruit out, then it will attract gnats to your kitchen.
    Store fruits and vegetables properly
  • Change Your Potting Soil. Changing your potting soil has two benefits: it improves the health of your plants and it gets rid of poor quality soil that attracts fungus gnats. Change out the potting soil when you notice the gnats and pay attention to your watering habits.
    change potting soil
  • Clear Up Damp Areas. Do not allow water to sit and fester in your yard or home. Clean up any damp areas and keep the moisture levels in your home low.
    dry damp areas

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MORE IDEAS FROM

Homekeeping Tips

  • I thought my kitchen was clean, but every summer, like clockwork, they would show up. I tried no dishes in the sink rule, no food on the counters rule, etc. Until one day my garbage disposal broke and had to be replaced. Whalah! No more gnats. Since then, I have cleaned my disposal weekly, and they haven’t appeared. Some may call this overkill, but I cook a lot. I chose the Lemi Shine brand and it works great.

  • Jillee may have this covered somewhere but it’s the best remedy I ever tried.

    You will need:

    1 small plastic soda bottle

    Wide clear tape (must be clear so they can’t see it)

    Apple cider vinegar

    Dishwashing liquid, whatever kind you have on hand

    Strong sharp scissors

    1) Use scissors to cut bottle about 2 in. from where it begins to widen at top. Remove and discard top unless you have a way to repurpose it.

    2) Turn neck of bottle upside down and insert into body of bottle.

    3) Tape well, sealing the two parts so no gnats can escape through the taped part.

    4) Fill about a third full with apple cider vinegar.

    5) Carefully squirt just a little dishwashing liquid into the vinegar. Don’t put so much it changes the smell of the vinegar. All you want to do is make it so they can’t swim on top of the liquid.

    6) Set out on counter somewhere it won’t be disturbed. You don’t want to scare the gnats.

    7) Leave out overnight and wake up to a bottle full of gnats you can then discard.

    To this let me add, clean with real citrus extracts and lavender oil. They hate it. (I haven’t had a gnat since doing these things.)

  • Avoiding/ reducing fungus gnats, water your plants from the bottom (place pot in a container with water and let it soak up what it needs). This way you can keep the top layer of soil dry. Another trick is sprinkle cinnamon on top of the soil in your plants. This will kill the fungus that attracts the gnats. Neither of these tips will help with the gnats already flying around your home just reducing laying of eggs. Follow Jillee’s tips for that.

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