How to Get Rid of Gnats

An educational guide to help you get rid of unwanted Gnats.

How To Get Rid Of Gnats
The name gnats actually refers to a range of small winged insects that are in the same grouping of flies. Despite what you may have heard, gnats are adults, not baby flies. In reality, gnats are typically either fungus gnats or fruit flies. They may or may not bite based on the species and may be in search of food via blood, insects, or plants. You will know you have a gnat infestation if you see the adults flying around in the air.

Why Get Rid Of Gnats
While incredibly annoying, you may think that gnats are harmless and be tempted to just leave them alone. This is a bad idea regardless of the type of gnat you have. Fruit flies will lay eggs in overripe or fermenting fruit and then their larvae eat the fruit after hatching. Once this has happened, their numbers grow and of course, the fruit in question is no longer edible.

In the case of fungus gnats, the eggs are laid in damp soil surrounding overwatered plants. Upon hatching, they feed on organic, decomposing material within the soil. Their eating habits commonly affect the roots as well as root hairs of your plants. While they tend to do the most damage to smaller plants, they can also be deadly for larger ones, especially in the case of extremely big groups of gnats. They can affect edible as well as ornamental plants.

Killing Fungus Gnats
The steps to controlling the gnats will depend somewhat on the type that you are dealing with. If your problem is fungus gnats, you should figure out which of your plants have wet soil. Then, you can wait until the soil dries completely until you water it again. Letting the soil dry out fully will kill any larval stages of the gnats within the soil. You can then get rid of the adult gnats from by the plants and any surrounding windows using a vacuum cleaner and its hose.

Eliminate The Food Source
For nearly any type of gnat that you want to get rid of, your goal should be to locate their food source and get rid of it. Since some gnats feed on fruit, you should make sure that you don’t have any fruit exposed to the open air. Instead, put it in the fridge or in another sealed container; this will also prolong its ripeness.

Using Flyswatters
Although not flies, you can kill gnats using a flyswatter. That being said, killing individual insects like this can be incredibly time consuming, even if you opt for an electric version that electrocutes the gnats on contact. The additional problem with these methods is that they can kill beneficial insects.

Consider Ultraviolet Insect Traps
If there are gnats inside your home, you may want to invest in an electric insect trap that emits an ultraviolet light when plugged into your electricity. The gnats and other insects will be attracted to the light then become stuck on the trap’s sticky surface. Like flyswatters, however, this method will only target individual gnats. To actually get rid of them once and for all, you have to target the source of the problem.

Use Basic Kitchen Ingredients To Kill Gnats
If you are just concerned about a handful of gnats sitting by your fruit basket, you can kill them with a simple mixture of items you already have. Mix two tablespoons vinegar, a liter water, a tablespoon sugar, and several drops of dish soap. The gnats will be attracted to the smell but become stuck in the soap, leading to them drowning. You can also add apple cider vinegar to this mixture. Or if you have some extra wine laying around, just add a bit of liquid dish soap to a glass of wine; the insects will be attracted to the sugar in the drink and the soap will produce the same result as in the other mixture. You can even make a similar solution and put it in a spray bottle to target gnats on sight.

Getting Rid Of Gnats By Bathroom Drains
In the case of gnats that are hovering by the drains in your bathroom, whether your tub or your sink, you can make a diluted bleach solution and put it to good use. Just mix a gallon of water with a half cup of bleach and pour it down your drain; the problem should be resolved.

Trap Them With Plastic Wrap
Another simple homemade trap for gnats involves taking a small container like a mason jar and putting an overripe or rotten banana or other fruit inside. Mash it in the container to make it even more attractive to the gnats then cover the whole thing with plastic wrap. Stab a few holes in the plastic and gnats will be able to get in, but not out.