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.
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.
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 Moth||Common Eastern Bumble Bee||Gray Hairstreak Butterfly||Oak Treehopper||Sleepy Orange Sulphur|
|Achemon Sphinx Moth||Common Gray Moth||Great Black Wasp||Oil Beetle||Slender Meadow Katydid|
|Acorn Weevil||Common Green Darner||Great Golden Digger Wasp||Oldwife Underwing||Slug Caterpillar Moth|
|Agapostemon Sweat Bee||Common Greenbottle Fly||Great Oak Dagger||Oleander Hawk Moth||Small Carpenter Bee|
|Ailanthus Webworm Moth||Common Looper||Great Spangled Fritillary||One-Eyed Sphinx Moth||Small House Fly|
|Ambiguous Moth||Common Oblique Syrphid Fly||Great Tiger Moth||Orange Assassin Bug||Small Milkweed Bug|
|Ambush Bug||Common Sanddragon||Greater Arid-Land Katydid||Orange Meadowhawk||Small Minnow Mayfly|
|American Bumble Bee||Common Thread Waisted Wasp||Green Lacewing||Orange Sulphur||Smaller Parasa|
|American Carrion Beetle||Common Whitetail Skimmer||Green Mantisfly||Orange Virbia Moth||Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth|
|American Cockroach||Confused Eusarca||Green Stink Bug||Orange-Patched Smoky Moth||Snakefly|
|American Copper||Convergent Lady Beetle||Gypsy Moth||Orange-Tipped Oakworm Moth||Snow Mosquito|
|American Dagger Moth||Corn Earworm Moth||Hackberry Emperor||Ox Beetle||Snowberry Clearwing Moth|
|American Ermine Moth||Cottonwood Borer Beetle||Hag Moth||Painted Lady Butterfly||Snowy Urola|
|American Idia||Cottonwood Leaf Beetle||Halloween Pennant||Painted Lichen Moth||Soldier Beetle|
|American Lady Butterfly||Crambid Snout Moth||Hangingfly||Painted Tiger Moth||Soldier Beetle|
|American Pelecinid Wasp||Cranefly||Hardwood Stump Borer Beetle||Pale Beauty||Soldier Fly|
|American Salmonfly||Cross-Striped Cabbageworm Moth||Harlequin Bug||Pale Green Weevil||Southern Emerald Moth|
|Antlion||Cuban Cockroach||Harnessed Tiger Moth||Pale Metarranthis||Southern Flannel Moth|
|Antlion||Cuckoo Bee||Hazelnut Lace Bug||Pandorus Sphinx Moth||Southern Sculpted Pine Borer Beetle|
|Antlion||Cuckoo Wasp||Hermit Flower Beetle||Paper Wasp||Southern Tussock Moth|
|Aphids||Curve-Toothed Geometer Moth||Himmelman's Plume Moth||Parthenice Tiger Moth||Southern Yellowjacket|
|Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly||Dark-Banded Geometer||Hoary Edge Skipper||Pearl Crescent Butterfly||Southwestern Eyed Click Beetle|
|Arched Hooktip Moth||Deer Fly||Holly Borer Moth||Pennsylvania Firefly||Southwestern Squash Vine Borer Moth|
|Ashy Gray Lady Beetle||Delicate Cycnia||Horace's Duskywing||Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle||Soybean Looper|
|Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle||Diana Fritillary||Horntail Wasp||Periodical Cicada||Spangled Flower Beetle|
|Augochlora Sweat Bee||Diaphania costata||Horse Fly||Picture-Winged Fly||Spanish Moth|
|Bald-Faced Hornet||Dimorphic Tosale Moth||Horse Lubber Grasshopper||Pigeon Tremex||Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly|
|Banded Alder Borer Beetle||Dirt-Colored Seed Bug||Horse-Bean Longhorn Beetle||Pigweed Flea Beetle||Spider Wasp|
|Banded Horntail||Dobsonfly||Hover Fly||Pine Imperial Moth||Spider Wasp|
|Banded Longhorn Beetle||Dog Day Cicada||Hummingbird Moth||Pine Sawyer Beetle||Spider Wasp|
|Banded Net-Winged Beetle||Dogbane Leaf Beetle||Imperial Moth||Pink Underwing Moth||Spiny Oak Slug Moth|
|Banded Tiger Moth||Dreamy Duskywing||Implicit Arches||Pink-spotted Hawkmoth||Spiny Oakworm Moth|
|Banded Tussock Moth||Earth-Boring Scarab Beetle||Io Moth||Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth||Spotted Apatelodes|
|Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth||Eastern Amberwing||Iron Clad Beetle||Pipevine Swallowtail||Spotted Beet Webworm Moth|
|Basswood Leafroller||Eastern Carpenter Bee||Iron Cross Blister Beetle||Planthopper||Spotted Cucumber Beetle|
|Beautiful Wood-Nymph Moth||Eastern Pondhawk||Ironweed Borer||Pleasing Fungus Beetle||Spotted Tree Borer Beetle|
|Beech Blight Aphid||Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth||Ironweed Root Moth||Plume Moth||Spotted-Winged Antlion|
|Bee-Like Tachinid Fly||Eastern Tiger Swallowtail||Ivory Marked Beetle||Polka Dot Wasp Moth||Spring Azure Butterfly|
|Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee||Eastern Yellowjacket||Japanese Beetle||Polyphemus Moth||Spur-throated Grasshopper|
|Big Dipper Firefly||Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle||Julia Longwing Butterfly||Poplar- Borer-Beetle||Squash Bug|
|Big Poplar Sphinx Moth||Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly||Juvenal's Duskywing||Porcelain Gray||Squash Lady Beetle|
|Black and Red Blister Beetle||Ebony Jewelwing||Lace-Bug||Potter Wasp||Squash Vine Borer Moth|
|Black and Yellow Mud Dauber||Edwards Glassy Wing Moth||Large Flathead Pine Heartwood Borer Beetle||Potter Wasp||St|
|Black Blister Beetle||Eight-Spotted Forester Moth||Large Lace-Border Moth||Predaceous Diving Beetle||Stag Beetle|
|Black Carpenter Ant||Elderberry Borer Beetle||Large Maple Spanworm Moth||Predatory Stink Bug||Stained Lophosis Moth|
|Black Firefly||Elm Seed Bug||Large Tolype Moth||Promethea Moth||Stinkbug|
|Black Saddlebags Skimmer||Emerald Ash Borer||Larger Elm Leaf Beetle||Promiscuos Angle Moth||Striped Blister Beetle|
|Black Swallowtail||European Hornet||Laudable Arches||Question Mark Butterfly||Striped Cucumber Beetle|
|Black Witch Moth||Evergreen Bagworm Moth||Laurel Sphinx||Rabbit Bot Fly||Summer Fishfly|
|Black-and-White Click Beetle||Faint-Spotted Angle Moth||Leaf Miner Fly||Rainbow Scarab Beetle||Swamp Cicada|
|Blackberry Looper||Fall Webworm||Leaf-Footed Bug||Red Admiral Butterfly||Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle|
|Black-Bordered Lemon Moth||False Bombardier Beetle||Leaf-Footed Bug||Red Flat Bark Beetle||Sycamore Tussock Moth|
|Black-Tailed Bee Fly||False Chinch Bug||Leaf-Footed Bug||Red Headed Ash Borer||Tachinid Fly|
|Black-Waved Flannel Moth||False Underwing Moth||Least Skipper||Red Oak Borer||Tachinid Fly|
|Blinded Sphinx Moth||Familiar Bluet||Lesser Maple Spanworm Moth||Red Paper Wasp||Tarantula Hawk|
|Blue Dasher||Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter||Lesser Meadow Katydid||Red Saddlebags||Tawny Mole Cricket|
|Blue Morpho||Fiery Skipper||Leucospid Wasp||Red-and-Black Mason Wasp||Ten-Lined June Beetle|
|Blue-Eyed Darner||Fig Sphinx Moth||Locust Borer Beetle||Red-Banded Hairstreak Butterfly||Tephritid Fruit Fly|
|Blue-fronted Dancer||Fire-Colored Beetle||Long-Horned Slug Moth||Red-Bordered Emerald||Tersa Sphinx Moth|
|Blue-Winged Wasp||Firefly||Long-Legged Fly||Reddish Potato Beetle||The Badwing|
|Bold Medicine Moth||Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp||Long-legged Fly||Red-Footed Cannibalfly||The Beggar|
|Bordered Plant Bug||Five-Spotted Hawk Moth||Long-Tailed Skipper||Red-Fringed Emerald Moth||The Hebrew Moth|
|Boxwood Leaftier Moth||Flatheaded Hardwood Borer||Luminescent Click Beetle||Red-Headed Bush Cricket||The Joker|
|Braconid Wasp||Flatid Planthopper||Luna Moth||Red-Legged Buprestis||The Wedgeling|
|Broad-Headed Sharpshooter||Flesh Fly||Lunate Zale Moth||Red-Legged Grasshopper||Thistle Down Velvet Ant|
|Broad-Necked Root Borer||Flower Fly||Manto Tussock Moth||Red-Lined Carrion Beetle||Thread-Waisted Wasp|
|Broken-Backed Bug||Flower Fly||Many-Spotted Tiger Moth||Red-Lined Panopoda||Thread-Waisted Wasp|
|Brown Mantidfly||Flower Fly||March Brown Mayfly||Red-Shouldered Bug||Three Lined Potato Beetle|
|Brown Marmorated Stink Bug||Flower Fly||Margined Blister Beetle||Red-Shouldered Ctenucha Moth||Tiger Bee Fly|
|Brown Panopoda Moth||Flower Fly||Margined Burying Beetle||Red-spotted Purple Admiral||Tobacco Hornworm Moth|
|Brown-Shaded Gray||Flower Longhorn Beetle||Masked Hunter||Regal Moth||Tri-Colored Bumble Bee|
|Buck Moth||Flower Longhorn Beetle||May Beetle||Reticulated Netwinged Beetle||True Katydid|
|Buffalo Treehopper||Flower Longhorn Beetle||Meadow Fritillary Butterly||Rhinoceros Beetle||Tulip-Tree Beauty Moth|
|Burrowing Mayfly||Flower Longhorn Beetle||Meal Moth||Robber Fly||Tulip-Tree Silkmoth|
|Burying Beetle||Forage Looper Moth||Mealy Bug Destroyer Larvae||Robberfly||Tumblebug|
|Bush Cicada||Forbes' Silk Moth||Mexican Tiger Moth||Robberfly||Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle|
|California Root Borer Beetle||Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid||Milkweed Assassin Bug||Robberfly||Two-Lined Spittlebug|
|Calligrapha Beetle||Four-Toothed Mason Wasp||Milkweed Bug||Robberfly||Two-Marked Treehopper|
|Camel Cricket||Galium Sphinx Moth||Milkweed Tussock Moth||Robinson's Annual Cicada||Two-Spotted Long-Horned Bee|
|Canadian Tiger Swallowtail||German Cockroach||Mimosa Yellow Sulphur||Rose Chafer||Two-Tailed Swallowtail|
|Carolina Locust||Giant Darner||Mini Bagworm||Rosy Maple Moth||Velvet Ant|
|Carolina Pine Sawyer||Giant Ichnemon Wasp||Mint-Loving Pyrausta Moth||Round-Headed Apple Tree Borer||Viceroy|
|Carolina Tiger Beetle||Giant Ichneumon Wasp||Modest Sphinx Moth||Rustic Sphinx Moth||Vietinghoff's Ground Beetle|
|Cassius Blue||Giant Ichneumon Wasp||Monarch Butterfly||Rusty-Tipped Page||Vine Sphinx Moth|
|Cecropia Silk Moth||Giant Leopard Moth||Morning-glory Prominent||Sachem Skipper||Virginia Creeper Sphinx|
|Changeable Grass-Veneer||Giant Mayfly||Mosquito||Saddleback Caterpillar||Virginia Flower Fly|
|Chickweed Geometer||Giant Mesquite Bug||Mottled Grass Veneer Moth||Salt-and-Pepper Looper Moth||Virginian Tiger Moth|
|Cicada Killer||Giant Stonefly||Mottled Gray Carpet Moth||Satin Moth||Walnut Sphinx Moth|
|Clay-Colored Billbug||Giant Swallowtail Butterfly||Mottled Tortoise Beetle||Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moth||Wandering Glider|
|Click Beetle||Globemallow Leaf Beetle||Mournful Thyris Moth||Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth||Wasp Moth|
|Close-Banded Yellowhorn Moth||Glowworm||Mourning Cloak Butterfly||Scentless Plant Bug||Waved Sphinx Moth|
|Clouded Skipper||Gold-and-Brown Rove Beetle||Mydas Fly||Scoliid Wasp||Wavy-Lined Emerald Moth|
|Clouded Sulphur||Gold-Backed Snipe Fly||Nason's Slug||Scorpionfly||Wavy-Lined Heterocampa|
|Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly||Golden Northern Bumble Bee||Nessus Sphinx Moth||Shining Leaf Chafer||Wee Harlequin Bug|
|Clymene Haploa Moth||Golden Tortoise Beetle||Net-Winged Beetle||Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp||Weevil Wasp|
|Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle||Goldenrod Stowaway||Northern Caddisfly||Showy Emerald Moth||Western Cicada Killer|
|Coffinfly||Grape Leaffolder||Northern Mole Cricket||Silver-Spotted Skipper||Western Conifer Seed Bug|
|Colorful Zale||Grapevine Beetle||Northern Paper Wasp||Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly||Western Flying Adder|
|Columbine Duskywing||Grapevine Epimenis Moth||Notch-Tipped Flower Longhorn Beetle||Six-Spotted Neolema||Western Hercules Beetle|
|Common Coneheads||Grapevine Hoplia||Nysa Roadside Skipper||Skiff Moth||Western Tiger Swallowtail|
|Wheel Bug||White-Margined Burrower Bug||Zebra Conchylodes Moth||Slaty Skimmer||Western Wood Cockroach|
|White Admiral Butterfly||White-Marked Tussock Moth||Zebra Swallowtail||Yellow-Collared Scape Moth|
|White Furcula||White-Ribboned Carpet Moth||Zig-Zag Furcula Moth||Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee|
|White Oak Borer Beetle||White-Spotted Sawyer Beetle||Woodrat Bot Fly||Yellow-Fly|
|White Slant-Line Moth||Widow Skimmer||Yellow Jacket||Yellowjacket Fly|
|White-Blotched Heterocampa||Wood Leopard Moth||Yellow Slant-Line Moth||Yellow-Striped Armyworm Moth|
|White-Dotted Prominent||Yucca Moth||Zabulon Skipper|
|White-lined Sphinx Moth||Yucca Plant Bug||Zebra Butterfly|