Current DateOctober 26, 2021

How to get rid of gnats (and prevent them from coming back)

Is your house infested with gnats and you want to get rid of them quickly? Then, you are in the right place.

These little beasts are some of the most annoying insects you’ll ever come across. Attracted to food, humidity, and garbage cans, they will invite themselves into your house and soon enough you’ll have an uncontrollable invasion.

Indeed, present throughout the year, but especially in summer, gnats will invade your kitchen, which provides ideal conditions for their proliferation.

While harmless for the most part, they are very annoying due to their constant buzzing and flying, which can really test a person’s patience.

Want to know how to get rid of them? Read on…

What are gnats?

The gnat is a tiny insect of the Diptera order. It measures indeed only a few millimeters and resembles a mosquito. But unlike mosquitoes, gnats generally do not sting, except for a few species.

The gnat is harmless except for annoying us with its presence. It only lives a few days and the only goal of its short life is to find another gnat for reproduction and thus procreate the species.

The female lays 75 to 200 eggs which hatch quickly in the form of small white worms. The worms eat organic matter in composts and potting soil, but they do not attack the plants.

Gnats are attracted to heat and humidity, which is why they are attracted to the heat we give off and royally annoy us by flying in our faces.

What are gnats attracted to your kitchen?

Gnats are attracted to places that are suitable for their reproduction because their life cycle is very short. This is why they are very often found in the kitchen because they can find all the products that attract them such as fruits, vegetables, or plants that are damaged or at an advanced stage of decomposition. 

They are also attracted to household garbage which often contains a lot of decomposed products. Like many other insects, gnats also like to lay eggs in stagnant water. A female gnat is capable of laying several hundred eggs in a single laying so you have to be very vigilant if you do not want to be invaded.

In short, anything that generates a strong odor, whether it smells good or bad, can attract these insects. As you know, heat greatly amplifies odors. This is why gnat infestations occur more in the summer.

Signs of a gnat infestation

  • A significant presence of gnats flying in your premises.
  • Maggots crawling on the floor, usually in the evening.
  • Pupae on the ground, near joints, or under your sinks.
  • Many cobwebs in your house.
  • Gnats in your bathroom or kitchen, sometimes on the walls.

How to get rid of gnats?

First, get rid of anything that can attract gnats. Don’t delay throwing away any rotting fruit or vegetable! As their name suggests, “fruit flies” are particularly fond of very ripe or damaged fruits and their juices.

Likewise, don’t keep your trash indoors for too long, as garbage like empty bottles or jars contains sweet scraps that attract midges. Also, avoid leaving dirty dishes lying around in your sink. In general, be sure to maintain a healthy kitchen by regularly cleaning all areas where leftover food collects.

You can also use a simple vinegar trap to get rid of midges: pierce the lid of a container and fill it with apple cider vinegar. Then place the container where the midges are most present to attract them and lock them inside.

1.     Eliminate waste and bad odors

The first step is obviously to have a clean house. If you leave food lying around, let garbage and trash accumulate, your house will be a gnat magnet In addition, you may well attract other pests: cockroaches, flies, rodents, etc… Here are some recommendations to follow:

  • Take out the trash regularly,
  • Clean your house at least once a week,
  • Clean the hotplates, worktops, tables, etc. after each use,
  • Do not allow dishes to accumulate in the kitchen sink.

2.     The famous homemade gnat trap

This homemade trap will attract the gnats that have taken up residence in your house and will allow you to get rid of them without using chemicals.

What you will need:

  • A glass jar or a tin can.
  • A holed cover (you can make it with cardboard or plastic wrap).
  • Apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)

How to make it:

  • Fill your jar up to half with apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar with a few drops of lemon)
  • Close the lid and poke small holes large enough for the gnats to enter.
  • Place your jar where you located the gnats.

Attracted to the vinegar, the gnats will enter the jar, but will not be able to exit. Once it’s full, you just have to throw it away and repeat.

3.     Plunge the room into darkness as a temporary solution

Unlike spiders, flies are attracted to light; they will not stay in a dark room, especially if they spot a bright spot.

So here’s what you can do:  turn off the light in the room where they are located and leave a light source in an adjoining room. For example, close the shutters in one room and leave them open in another. The gnats will quickly leave you alone.

4.     Install window screens

To prevent gnats and all kinds of insects for that matter to enter your house, there’s nothing like a window screen! If your windows do not have these screens, you will most like encounter uninvited guests in your home.

There are also insect screens for doors that you can get in case you like to leave your doors open.

5.     Garlic as a repellent

Garlic is known for its flavorful taste and amazing medicinal properties. But what most people do not know is that it can also serve as a repellent for annoying insects. Indeed, the strong pungent smell of garlic repels many insects and pests, including gnats.

To make an efficient natural insect repellent, all you have to do is soak a few garlic cloves in mineral or paraffin oil for a day and then spray the gnat-infested regions with the strained oil combined with a teaspoon of liquid wash.

6.     Place lavender packets your windows

Lavender is one of the repellent plants because its odor is very unpleasant to mosquitoes. You can use it in different ways to get rid of gnats:

  • Place pots of lavender in front of your windows to repel flying insects. Alternatively, you use lavender packets sold in stores.
  • Spray some lavender essential oil on your light bulbs before turning them on. No gnats or any mosquitoes will dare to approach.
  • To prevent the gnats from coming to you directly, mix 100 ml of lavender oil with your skin moisturizer. The application of the resulting lotion will give you a feeling of freshness and will be an excellent barrier to gnats and mosquitoes.

7.     Cloves and citrus fruits

Inserted in citrus fruits, cloves are a natural repellent to place anywhere in your house to get rid of gnats and mosquitoes. For example, you can plant ten cloves in an orange and put the orange in the room you want to clear of the insects. Repeat the operation every two days.

8.     Essential oils

Essential oil of eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, lemongrass are great tools to get rid of gnats. Spray the oil around your windows, or even throughout the house, especially the kitchen, where the gnats are most often located.

Say goodbye to gnats and hello to a nice smelling house!

9.     Place geraniums at the edge of the windows

If you have a gnat problem and love to garden, geraniums may be the answer to your prayers. This flower is not loved by these insects: if you put them on the edge of your windows in pots or planters, we guarantee that they will leave you alone!

10.     Use a sticky gnat trap

If you feel that the natural methods mentioned above are not effective enough, you can opt for a sticky gnat trap. These are sticky strips of paper that attract the gnat and trap them, prevent them from flying back out. They are certainly not very aesthetic but they are very effective. You just need to place the sticky strips in your kitchen or the rooms affected. Then you just have to wait for the gnats to stick to it. 

This solution is very effective if the number of gnats present in your house is significant.

11.     Buy an electric insect killer

Another solution is the electric insect killer. This tool is more aesthetic than sticky paper. It works by attracting the gnats (or any flying insects) to the ultraviolet light that it generates. While very effective, you have to be careful where you place it in your house. This is because it kills flies by electrocution when they come into contact with the grid. Pieces can then be projected around the device. Therefore, you should not place this tool on the work surface on which you prepare your meals.

12.     Gnat sprays

This option is last on our list for a specific reason. Gnats are relatively easy to get rid of naturally. It is therefore not necessary to use chemical products inside your house for a problem that can be solved in a more natural way. However, if after trying all the tips given above, your gnat problem persists, then it might be time to take a more radical approach by procuring a bug/gnat spray.

Make sure to follow the directions of the manufacturer to avoid the health consequences that may occur from inhaling such chemicals.

How to prevent gnats from getting inside your house

Prevention is better than cure. While the tips given above will help you get the gnats out of your house, the best course of action is to prevent them from getting in in the first place. Here are some tips to keep gnats out of your house:

  • Store all your food in your refrigerator. This advice is very important and especially necessary for perishable goods like fruits, meat, vegetables, fish, etc.
  • Close your red wine bottles properly because gnats are strongly attracted to them.
  • Never leave stagnant water in the sink, pots, glasses, etc. because the female gnats will come and lay their eggs in them, worsening the infestation.
  • Always wash your dishes because gnats are attracted to dirty dishes.
  • Clean your house well: you must wash the table, the worktops, the floor properly to leave nothing for the gnats. In addition, it is also important to wipe dry the aforementioned surfaces after cleaning because the gnats are attracted to moisture.
  • Empty your trash regularly and leave it always closed. Loving all rotting matters, the gnat really finds its happiness in your trash. Your trash can should also be cleaned and disinfected fairly regularly.
  • Ventilate your home well, sudden changes of air will push them outside.
  • If you have plants in your house, avoid too frequent or too heavy watering of your plants and wait for the soil to dry out before watering them again.
  • Clean the table well and wash the dishes immediately after eating so as not to attract flies.

Can gnats cause disease?

Most species of gnats do not sting and generally do not carry disease vectors. However, there are some species, like the eye gnat, that can sting and cause certain diseases that are more or less dangerous for our health, most notable conjunctivitis also known as pinkeye.

Are gnats dangerous for pets?

Sandflies are a subfamily of insects from the order of the Diptera that feed on blood like mosquitoes. This little gnat is very difficult to spot because it is very small (about 2 mm) and moreover it makes no noise when flying.

Furthermore, sandflies only come out at night. They mainly take advantage of their hiding places to lay eggs. A female can lay up to 200 eggs in a single lay. Sandflies are especially fond of nature and are almost always found in the countryside and only during the summer months.

They can transmit various diseases such as leishmaniasis or parasitosis. However, these diseases are rarely transmitted to humans but on the other hand, dogs are the main victims. 

To protect your dog against this insect, you can put on a collar that contains deltamethrin. This product is used as an insecticide and repellent which scares away the small gnats thanks to its neurotoxic properties. 

This collar will also allow your dog to be well protected against other insects, fleas, ticks, and also mites. For humans, the same repellents can be used to repel gnats. You can spray the repellant on your body or clothes.

Last Words

Gnats are highly attracted to humidity, heat, and rotten foods, which makes your kitchen (when not properly maintained) a gnat paradise. They also reproduce quickly, and even though they are generally harmless, they can quickly become very invasive and particularly annoying. Indeed, whether they’re in your plants or your kitchen swirling around the fruit basket, no one likes gnats. We hope this article provided the much-needed help to you to get rid of your gnat problem.