getting rid of gnats

How to Get Rid of Gnats | Simple Home Strategies

Gnats are certainly among the most annoying insects in existence! Although they usually don’t bite, once they get into your house they just keep multiplying and getting rid of them can be incredibly hard. In this article, we’ll show you how to get rid of gnats successfully.

What Are Gnats?

We all know that gnats are annoying little bugs, but what exactly are they? To an entomologist, the word gnat actually represents many different species, but they are all a member of the family Nematocera. This is a family of small flies that also includes mosquitoes and midges.

Although the family of gnats includes a number of species, fungus gnats are certainly the most common and they are the ones you’ll most likely find in your home or garden. They are often confused with fruit flies, but in fact, these are two completely different insects.

Video Guide: How To Get Rid Of Them

The video guide below shows some innovative home remedies for killing these pests.

Fungus gnats do not bite. According to The Washington Post, they thrive in warm and humid environments.

Temperature and humidity are also the main factors that determine the length of the lifecycle of these insects. They thrive at temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit and in these conditions, their life cycle lasts from three to four weeks. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, the life cycle of a fungus gnat has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

A single fungus gnat female can deposit up to 300 eggs during its life. While adult gnats are just annoying, larvae can actually damage plants.

Gnat Infestations

As we have already mentioned, gnats require humid and warm conditions in order to reproduce. More importantly, gnat larvae need to feed on organic matter (Source).

Decaying organic matter, such as rotting produce, attracts gnats, but they can also feed on plant tissue. For these reasons, gnat infestations are quite common in closed spaces like homes or greenhouses, as well as in open spaces where plants are grown such as backyards or gardens. Once they find an adequate spot, gnats will quickly reproduce with females laying a large number of eggs which are invisible to the eye which easily turns into an infestation that can be hard to get rid of.

What Causes Gnats?

When it comes to home infestation, gnats can simply enter your home through an open window or door. However, their eggs and larvae can also be present in fruits and vegetables, so you might essentially bring them into your home with your produce.

According to the Do-It-Yourself Pest Control website, gnat infestations can also appear when there is fungus growth in dark and moist corners of a house with improper ventilation. Attics, crawl spaces, and even insides of walls with wooden construction are all places where fungus growth can occur, which then serves as food for gnats and thus fosters an infestation. Furthermore, since gnats generally like humidity, they might appear near plants that are overwatered.

Other places that can become a breeding ground for gnats include trash cans and drains that aren’t cleaned on a regular basis.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Plants

Some common methods for fighting gnats include glue-coated fly traps and different versions of homemade fly traps. For example, a fruit trap can be made easily by putting some rotting fruit into a jar to lure the gnats in. Cover the jar with a piece of plastic wrap a poke small holes into it. This way, the flies will remain trapped inside. This solution might work when you are dealing with gnats outside of your house, but hardly anyone wants to keep a piece of rotten fruit in their kitchen. Alternatively, vinegar or wine can also be used in gnat traps.

Video Guide: Gnat Plant Removal

All of this methods have a chance of reducing the number of the annoying insects, but the only surefire way of getting rid of gnats is finding the breeding source and removing it. According to the Do-It-Yourself Pest Control website, gnats actually feed on the roots of the plants.

Therefore, if you notice gnats flying around a specific plant, they are most likely breeding in the soil around this plant. According to Planet Natural, carnations, African violets, and geraniums are all especially sensitive to gnat infestations. If you notice one of these plants starts turning yellow and wilting, and infestation might be the cause.

Once you locate the specific place, you can either remove the soil or try drying it out which will most likely kill larvae. However, eggs might still remain in the soil. If the infestation persists, you might need to apply a top coating to the soil or to the plants. Various solutions for this can be found in gardening equipment stores.

How To Get Rid Of Gnats In The House

Whether you have them in the bathroom, kitchen, or living room, there are some natural ways to get rid of them.

First of all, there are some measures you can take to prevent gnat infestations from occurring in the first place. If you notice these little buggers flying around your house, try to not leave any fruit or produce within their reach. Keep products in closed containers or in the fridge, instead. Cleaning all trash cans, drains, and any food containers on a regular basis might also help prevent gnats. For example, a fruit bowl can easily have remnants of fruit on it which attract gnats.

If the infestation persists, it’s necessary to find the source and remove it. It could be anything – check potted plants inside your house, drains, and any places where there is excessive moisture. If the gnats are coming from your drains, the Organic Lesson website recommends pouring bleach into the drain in question (don’t mix with ammonia)

Eliminating With Apple Cider Vinegar

Making an apple cider vinegar trap is one of the easiest and most popular ways to deal with gnats on your own. Gnats are attracted to the sweet smell of vinegar. You could just leave a container with some apple cider vinegar outside, but you can also try adding a couple of drops of dish soap to break the surface tension (WikiHow) and to make the solution poisonous to the gnats.

Insect List

According to InsectIdentification.com, these are some of the most well-known flying insects, which is generally what a ‘gnat’ is:

Flying Insect List    
Abbott's Sphinx MothCommon Eastern Bumble BeeGray Hairstreak ButterflyOak TreehopperSleepy Orange Sulphur
Achemon Sphinx MothCommon Gray MothGreat Black WaspOil BeetleSlender Meadow Katydid
Acorn WeevilCommon Green DarnerGreat Golden Digger WaspOldwife UnderwingSlug Caterpillar Moth
Agapostemon Sweat BeeCommon Greenbottle FlyGreat Oak DaggerOleander Hawk MothSmall Carpenter Bee
Ailanthus Webworm MothCommon LooperGreat Spangled FritillaryOne-Eyed Sphinx MothSmall House Fly
Ambiguous MothCommon Oblique Syrphid FlyGreat Tiger MothOrange Assassin BugSmall Milkweed Bug
Ambush BugCommon SanddragonGreater Arid-Land KatydidOrange MeadowhawkSmall Minnow Mayfly
American Bumble BeeCommon Thread Waisted WaspGreen LacewingOrange SulphurSmaller Parasa
American Carrion BeetleCommon Whitetail SkimmerGreen MantisflyOrange Virbia MothSmall-Eyed Sphinx Moth
American CockroachConfused EusarcaGreen Stink BugOrange-Patched Smoky MothSnakefly
American CopperConvergent Lady BeetleGypsy MothOrange-Tipped Oakworm MothSnow Mosquito
American Dagger MothCorn Earworm MothHackberry EmperorOx BeetleSnowberry Clearwing Moth
American Ermine MothCottonwood Borer BeetleHag MothPainted Lady ButterflySnowy Urola
American IdiaCottonwood Leaf BeetleHalloween PennantPainted Lichen MothSoldier Beetle
American Lady ButterflyCrambid Snout MothHangingflyPainted Tiger MothSoldier Beetle
American Pelecinid WaspCraneflyHardwood Stump Borer BeetlePale BeautySoldier Fly
American SalmonflyCross-Striped Cabbageworm MothHarlequin BugPale Green WeevilSouthern Emerald Moth
AntlionCuban CockroachHarnessed Tiger MothPale MetarranthisSouthern Flannel Moth
AntlionCuckoo BeeHazelnut Lace BugPandorus Sphinx MothSouthern Sculpted Pine Borer Beetle
AntlionCuckoo WaspHermit Flower BeetlePaper WaspSouthern Tussock Moth
AphidsCurve-Toothed Geometer MothHimmelman's Plume MothParthenice Tiger MothSouthern Yellowjacket
Aphrodite Fritillary ButterflyDark-Banded GeometerHoary Edge SkipperPearl Crescent ButterflySouthwestern Eyed Click Beetle
Arched Hooktip MothDeer FlyHolly Borer MothPennsylvania FireflySouthwestern Squash Vine Borer Moth
Ashy Gray Lady BeetleDelicate CycniaHorace's DuskywingPennsylvania Leatherwing BeetleSoybean Looper
Asian Multicolored Lady BeetleDiana FritillaryHorntail WaspPeriodical CicadaSpangled Flower Beetle
Augochlora Sweat BeeDiaphania costataHorse FlyPicture-Winged FlySpanish Moth
Bald-Faced HornetDimorphic Tosale MothHorse Lubber GrasshopperPigeon TremexSpicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
Banded Alder Borer BeetleDirt-Colored Seed BugHorse-Bean Longhorn BeetlePigweed Flea BeetleSpider Wasp
Banded HorntailDobsonflyHover FlyPine Imperial MothSpider Wasp
Banded Longhorn BeetleDog Day CicadaHummingbird MothPine Sawyer BeetleSpider Wasp
Banded Net-Winged BeetleDogbane Leaf BeetleImperial MothPink Underwing MothSpiny Oak Slug Moth
Banded Tiger MothDreamy DuskywingImplicit ArchesPink-spotted HawkmothSpiny Oakworm Moth
Banded Tussock MothEarth-Boring Scarab BeetleIo MothPink-Striped Oakworm MothSpotted Apatelodes
Banded Woollybear Caterpillar MothEastern AmberwingIron Clad BeetlePipevine SwallowtailSpotted Beet Webworm Moth
Basswood LeafrollerEastern Carpenter BeeIron Cross Blister BeetlePlanthopperSpotted Cucumber Beetle
Beautiful Wood-Nymph MothEastern PondhawkIronweed BorerPleasing Fungus BeetleSpotted Tree Borer Beetle
Beech Blight AphidEastern Tent Caterpillar MothIronweed Root MothPlume MothSpotted-Winged Antlion
Bee-Like Tachinid FlyEastern Tiger SwallowtailIvory Marked BeetlePolka Dot Wasp MothSpring Azure Butterfly
Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat BeeEastern YellowjacketJapanese BeetlePolyphemus MothSpur-throated Grasshopper
Big Dipper FireflyEastern-Eyed Click BeetleJulia Longwing ButterflyPoplar- Borer-BeetleSquash Bug
Big Poplar Sphinx MothEastern-tailed Blue ButterflyJuvenal's DuskywingPorcelain GraySquash Lady Beetle
Black and Red Blister BeetleEbony JewelwingLace-BugPotter WaspSquash Vine Borer Moth
Black and Yellow Mud DauberEdwards Glassy Wing MothLarge Flathead Pine Heartwood Borer BeetlePotter WaspSt
Black Blister BeetleEight-Spotted Forester MothLarge Lace-Border MothPredaceous Diving BeetleStag Beetle
Black Carpenter AntElderberry Borer BeetleLarge Maple Spanworm MothPredatory Stink BugStained Lophosis Moth
Black FireflyElm Seed BugLarge Tolype MothPromethea MothStinkbug
Black Saddlebags SkimmerEmerald Ash BorerLarger Elm Leaf BeetlePromiscuos Angle MothStriped Blister Beetle
Black SwallowtailEuropean HornetLaudable ArchesQuestion Mark ButterflyStriped Cucumber Beetle
Black Witch MothEvergreen Bagworm MothLaurel SphinxRabbit Bot FlySummer Fishfly
Black-and-White Click BeetleFaint-Spotted Angle MothLeaf Miner FlyRainbow Scarab BeetleSwamp Cicada
Blackberry LooperFall WebwormLeaf-Footed BugRed Admiral ButterflySwamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle
Black-Bordered Lemon MothFalse Bombardier BeetleLeaf-Footed BugRed Flat Bark BeetleSycamore Tussock Moth
Black-Tailed Bee FlyFalse Chinch BugLeaf-Footed BugRed Headed Ash BorerTachinid Fly
Black-Waved Flannel MothFalse Underwing MothLeast SkipperRed Oak BorerTachinid Fly
Blinded Sphinx MothFamiliar BluetLesser Maple Spanworm MothRed Paper WaspTarantula Hawk
Blue DasherFiery Searcher Caterpillar HunterLesser Meadow KatydidRed SaddlebagsTawny Mole Cricket
Blue MorphoFiery SkipperLeucospid WaspRed-and-Black Mason WaspTen-Lined June Beetle
Blue-Eyed DarnerFig Sphinx MothLocust Borer BeetleRed-Banded Hairstreak ButterflyTephritid Fruit Fly
Blue-fronted DancerFire-Colored BeetleLong-Horned Slug MothRed-Bordered EmeraldTersa Sphinx Moth
Blue-Winged WaspFireflyLong-Legged FlyReddish Potato BeetleThe Badwing
Bold Medicine MothFive-Banded Thynnid WaspLong-legged FlyRed-Footed CannibalflyThe Beggar
Bordered Plant BugFive-Spotted Hawk MothLong-Tailed SkipperRed-Fringed Emerald MothThe Hebrew Moth
Boxwood Leaftier MothFlatheaded Hardwood BorerLuminescent Click BeetleRed-Headed Bush CricketThe Joker
Braconid WaspFlatid PlanthopperLuna MothRed-Legged BuprestisThe Wedgeling
Broad-Headed SharpshooterFlesh FlyLunate Zale MothRed-Legged GrasshopperThistle Down Velvet Ant
Broad-Necked Root BorerFlower FlyManto Tussock MothRed-Lined Carrion BeetleThread-Waisted Wasp
Broken-Backed BugFlower FlyMany-Spotted Tiger MothRed-Lined PanopodaThread-Waisted Wasp
Brown MantidflyFlower FlyMarch Brown MayflyRed-Shouldered BugThree Lined Potato Beetle
Brown Marmorated Stink BugFlower FlyMargined Blister BeetleRed-Shouldered Ctenucha MothTiger Bee Fly
Brown Panopoda MothFlower FlyMargined Burying BeetleRed-spotted Purple AdmiralTobacco Hornworm Moth
Brown-Shaded GrayFlower Longhorn BeetleMasked HunterRegal MothTri-Colored Bumble Bee
Buck MothFlower Longhorn BeetleMay BeetleReticulated Netwinged BeetleTrue Katydid
Buffalo TreehopperFlower Longhorn BeetleMeadow Fritillary ButterlyRhinoceros BeetleTulip-Tree Beauty Moth
Burrowing MayflyFlower Longhorn BeetleMeal MothRobber FlyTulip-Tree Silkmoth
Burying BeetleForage Looper MothMealy Bug Destroyer LarvaeRobberflyTumblebug
Bush CicadaForbes' Silk MothMexican Tiger MothRobberflyTwice-Stabbed Lady Beetle
California Root Borer BeetleFork-Tailed Bush KatydidMilkweed Assassin BugRobberflyTwo-Lined Spittlebug
Calligrapha BeetleFour-Toothed Mason WaspMilkweed BugRobberflyTwo-Marked Treehopper
Camel CricketGalium Sphinx MothMilkweed Tussock MothRobinson's Annual CicadaTwo-Spotted Long-Horned Bee
Canadian Tiger SwallowtailGerman CockroachMimosa Yellow SulphurRose ChaferTwo-Tailed Swallowtail
Carolina LocustGiant DarnerMini BagwormRosy Maple MothVelvet Ant
Carolina Pine SawyerGiant Ichnemon WaspMint-Loving Pyrausta MothRound-Headed Apple Tree BorerViceroy
Carolina Tiger BeetleGiant Ichneumon WaspModest Sphinx MothRustic Sphinx MothVietinghoff's Ground Beetle
Cassius BlueGiant Ichneumon WaspMonarch ButterflyRusty-Tipped PageVine Sphinx Moth
Cecropia Silk MothGiant Leopard MothMorning-glory ProminentSachem SkipperVirginia Creeper Sphinx
Changeable Grass-VeneerGiant MayflyMosquitoSaddleback CaterpillarVirginia Flower Fly
Chickweed GeometerGiant Mesquite BugMottled Grass Veneer MothSalt-and-Pepper Looper MothVirginian Tiger Moth
Cicada KillerGiant StoneflyMottled Gray Carpet MothSatin MothWalnut Sphinx Moth
Clay-Colored BillbugGiant Swallowtail ButterflyMottled Tortoise BeetleScarlet-Bodied Wasp MothWandering Glider
Click BeetleGlobemallow Leaf BeetleMournful Thyris MothScarlet-Winged Lichen MothWasp Moth
Close-Banded Yellowhorn MothGlowwormMourning Cloak ButterflyScentless Plant BugWaved Sphinx Moth
Clouded SkipperGold-and-Brown Rove BeetleMydas FlyScoliid WaspWavy-Lined Emerald Moth
Clouded SulphurGold-Backed Snipe FlyNason's SlugScorpionflyWavy-Lined Heterocampa
Cloudless Sulphur ButterflyGolden Northern Bumble BeeNessus Sphinx MothShining Leaf ChaferWee Harlequin Bug
Clymene Haploa MothGolden Tortoise BeetleNet-Winged BeetleShort-Tailed Ichneumon WaspWeevil Wasp
Coconut Rhinoceros BeetleGoldenrod StowawayNorthern CaddisflyShowy Emerald MothWestern Cicada Killer
CoffinflyGrape LeaffolderNorthern Mole CricketSilver-Spotted SkipperWestern Conifer Seed Bug
Colorful ZaleGrapevine BeetleNorthern Paper WaspSilvery Checkerspot ButterflyWestern Flying Adder
Columbine DuskywingGrapevine Epimenis MothNotch-Tipped Flower Longhorn BeetleSix-Spotted NeolemaWestern Hercules Beetle
Common ConeheadsGrapevine HopliaNysa Roadside SkipperSkiff MothWestern Tiger Swallowtail
Wheel BugWhite-Margined Burrower BugZebra Conchylodes MothSlaty SkimmerWestern Wood Cockroach
White Admiral ButterflyWhite-Marked Tussock MothZebra SwallowtailYellow-Collared Scape Moth
White FurculaWhite-Ribboned Carpet MothZig-Zag Furcula MothYellow-Faced Bumble Bee
White Oak Borer BeetleWhite-Spotted Sawyer BeetleWoodrat Bot FlyYellow-Fly
White Slant-Line MothWidow SkimmerYellow JacketYellowjacket Fly
White-Blotched HeterocampaWood Leopard MothYellow Slant-Line MothYellow-Striped Armyworm Moth
White-Dotted ProminentYucca MothZabulon Skipper
White-lined Sphinx MothYucca Plant BugZebra Butterfly

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