Want to learn how to get rid of gnats? So read this post to the end to discover 22 easy ways to kill gnats effectively and fast.
Gnats are nuisance pests as they annoy people, lay eggs around your home, and spread diseases. If you are having the same issue, we have here a list of solutions on how to get rid of gnats effectively.
Gnats are small flying insects with transparent wings. Some types of gnats can bite human and animals, leaving rashes or reddish welts on the skin.
These creatures can be eliminated with non-toxic traps, proper disposal of wastes, sealing off holes and cracks around the house, pouring some ammonia down the sink, and use of some essential oils.
Before we start with the effective solutions, let us take a look at the types of gnats:
- Fungus Gnats – Also known as winter gnats, they live in over watered soil, areas with drainage problems or water leaks. They may carry diseases such as pythium.
- Eye Gnats – Also called grass flies, this type thrives in moist soils, gardens, crop fields, flower beds, compost piles and decaying weeds. These are very small and are attracted to fluids secreted by nose, ears, and eyes.
- Buffalo Gnats – They breed in streams, rivers, lakes or any other running water source. They also swarm around animals, birds, humans, and bite to get their protein needs to lay eggs.
- Sand Gnats – These gnats live in dry, dark areas, hollow trees, animal burrows, and dead leaf litter.
22 Ways on How to Get Rid of Gnats
Even if you are implementing a good tactic to keep insects away, you will still have to deal with a gnat problem whether it is in your kitchen, dining room, garage or working area.
Here are the best solutions to eliminate gnats and houseflies from your premises.
- 1. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
- 2. Ammonia
- 3. Citronella Oil Spray
- 4. Get Rid of Gnats’ Food Supply
- 5. Cover Trashcans Properly
- 6. Find and Destroy Their Breeding Source
- 7. DEET Insect Repellents
- 8. Lemongrass Essential Oil
- 9. Sticky Trap
- 10. Vegetable Oil
- 11. Tobacco Layer
- 12. Fruit Trap
- 13. Red Wine
- 14. Bleach
- 15. Alcohol Spray
- 16. Seal Off All Cracks and Holes
- 17. Egg Bait Trap
- 18. Vanilla Repellent
- 19. Diatomaceous Earth
- 20. Re-pot Your Plants
- 21. Yeast
- 22. Essential Oil Diffuser
1. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Many insects, including gnats and house flies, are attracted to the scent of apple cider vinegar. It is one of the recommended solutions on how to get rid of gnats in the house quickly due to its efficiency.
To make a trap, you will need a small jar or bowl with a lid, apple cider vinegar, and dish soap. You can also try to use white vinegar if apple cider is not available.
- Pour 10 to 20 ml of apple cider vinegar into a bowl or jar.
- Add 5 to 8 drops of dish soap (preferably lemon-scented) and mix it well.
- Cover the jar or bowl with a plastic wrap.
- Create small holes using a toothpick or fork, enough to allow the flies to enter the container.
Once you are done, place the apple cider vinegar trap where the gnats are swarming. These insects will get attracted by the smell and will try to enter through the holes.
As they touch the surface of the solution, they won’t be able to escape due to soap. When the container fills up, dispose of and refill it.
If you often see gnats flying around your kitchen, this could mean that they are living inside the drain. You can use ammonia to kill these insects along with their larvae and eggs.
Here’s how to get rid of gnats in kitchen using ammonia.
- Before you start, wear mouth and eye protection as ammonia produces a foul odor and is toxic to humans.
- Pour 1 cup or 230 ml of ammonia into your kitchen sink. This will kill the adult, larvae, and eggs hiding inside.
- Let it sit and dilute itself for a few hours before using the sink for washing your dishes.
If ammonia is not available, you can put two or three tablespoons of baking soda into the drain. Add one cup of white vinegar and let it sit for a couple of hours.
3. Citronella Oil Spray
Citronella oil is considered as an all-natural insect repellant. It can deter mosquitoes, gnats, and other breeds of flies, reducing the number of small creatures nearby. This makes it one of the best solutions on how to get rid of gnats and fruit flies.
To make this spray, you will need citronella oil, dish soap, and an empty spray bottle.
- Mix two spoons of citronella oil with two cups of water.
- Add three to six drops of liquid dish soap.
- Pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
Spray this mixture near the garbage cans, near plants, or around your home. This mixture is harmless for plants and pets and it leaves a pleasant citrus smell.
4. Get Rid of Gnats’ Food Supply
Like many insects, gnats also feed upon leftovers and other foods available in the counter. The best method to keep them from visiting is to eliminate their food supply.
These annoying creatures are attracted to decaying organic matter, which makes old fruits and tossed out foods tempting to them.
- Clean your dining room and kitchen regularly. Never leave used dishes in the sink as food scraps attract not only gnats but also cockroaches, ants, and flies.
- Store food in a wrapped or airtight container. Even if the food does not require to be refrigerated, consider putting it in as you eliminate gnats.
- Throw away rotting vegetables, fruits, and other decayed organic material. It is one of the effective ways on how to get rid of gnats inside the house.
Read more: 15 Simple Ways to Kill Mosquitoes
5. Cover Trashcans Properly
Covering waste and garbage cans around your house will prevent gnats and other insects from invading the area.
Open trash cans outside allow gnats to feast and these small creatures will soon enter your premises.
- Take out the trash every day and set it outside properly. Avoid keeping trash bags in the house overnight and make sure that garbage cans are concealed. You want to keep the foul odor contained well.
- Wipe down the surfaces and lid of trash containers with bleach. This will kill gnats and other insects instantly upon contact.
6. Find and Destroy Their Breeding Source
Gnats usually lay their eggs in damp, over-watered soil as larvae require moist organic material to develop. Finding and destroying the breeding source of gnats can reduce their number efficiently.
- If overwatered soil in a pot is the source, refrain from watering until it becomes dry. Allow the top two inches to dry completely before watering the plant again.
- Another option is to cover the gnat-ridden soil with a 2-inch layer of coarse sand.
- If the source is outside, disinfect the area with Clorox and water. Sprinkle some borax to kill and prevent the insects from coming back.
- Do not over-water houseplants to prevent gnats from laying their eggs in the soil.
To check whether your potted plants need to be watered, place a finger in the soil up to your first knuckle. If the soil at the bottom is still wet, there is no need to water your plant.
7. DEET Insect Repellents
DEET repellents available in the market are the most effective when it comes to eliminating different types of insects. However, this may cause health problems if used in high concentrations.
It is important to use products that contain DEET with caution.
8. Lemongrass Essential Oil
The strong scent of lemongrass oil can keep gnats and fruit flies away. This oil will not kill the flies but will discourage them to enter your premises. Follow these steps to make a homemade spray against these annoying insects.
- Mix 10 to 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil with 2 cups of hot water.
- Pour the solution in a spray bottle.
- Sprinkle this solution around your living room, dining room, kitchen and other areas where you always see gnats.
This method also works to deter ants and spiders.
9. Sticky Trap
There are many bright colored sticky traps available in the market that you can use to capture gnats and other pests. You can also make your own natural sticky trap by using honey and yellow index card.
Here’s how to get rid of gnats in yard with homemade trap.
- Add a thin layer of honey on a yellow index card.
- Tape a stick or straw to the card to make a small flag.
- Place this trap into the soil of pest-ridden plants.
- Once the card fills up with dead insects, replace the card.
Bright colors like yellow attract gnats. If yellow index card is not available, you can try light orange or another bright color. The scent of honey will attract gnats, but you can also use another sticky substance like petroleum jelly.
10. Vegetable Oil
For gnats hiding in the kitchen sink drain, one of the effective solutions is vegetable oil. It creates a thick covering around these insects, making the immobile. In some cases, gnats will try to escape and you will need to tape the drain closed to trap them.
- Pour 60 ml or ¼ cup of vegetable oil or olive oil into the sink.
- Spread over some oil around the drain to make sure that it is covering all sides. This will kill most of the gnats, but some of them may try to escape through the holes.
- Use several strips of tape to seal it off.
- Leave it for several hours before peeling off the tape. You should find gnats stuck on the bottom.
Follow this procedure multiple times until you get rid of all gnats.
11. Tobacco Layer
Many people have reported that sprinkling a thin layer of tobacco on the soil can deter gnats.
To apply this method, break three to four cigarettes. Dust it over the soil to discourage fungus gnats from laying eggs.
12. Fruit Trap
Gnats and fruit flies are strongly attracted to overripe fruits, especially bananas. If you have gnats infestation, here’s how to get rid of gnats in yard and around your house.
- Put a banana peel or several pieces of rotting fruit in a big jar.
- Cover the container with plastic and make small holes using a toothpick.
- Place this fruit trap where you see a lot of gnats and fruit flies.
- After a couple of hours, the container will be full of insects. Immerse it in a pail of soapy water for 10 minutes to kill all flies.
- Follow this process as necessary.
Read more: What Kills Termites Naturally and Fast
13. Red Wine
Just like the vinegar trap, red wine can also attract gnats and fruit flies. You can use this method if you have some leftover wine or a small amount to spare.
Here’s how to get rid of gnats in house using red wine.
- Combine one-half cup of red wine with 1 ½ cups of water.
- Add five drops of dish soap and stir the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a small container.
- Cover the top of the container with plastic and create small holes.
- Place this container in the affected area as bait.
As soon as they smell the scent of red wine, gnats will enter the container from which they cannot escape.
Bleach is also excellent option to try to eliminate gnats around the kitchen and bathroom sink. However, this may not solve the problem if gnats are thriving deep within the drainage system.
- Pour scalding water in the sink.
- Wear mouth and eye protection.
- Add one cup of bleach for each drain.
Do not mix bleach with ammonia as this can be dangerous to your health.
15. Alcohol Spray
Another effective solution to eliminate fungus gnats is by making an alcohol solution. You will need to test it out first to make sure that the spray will be safe for the plant and will not burn the leaves.
- Combine 1/2 cup of vodka with 1 ½ cup of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
- Alternatively, mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 liter of water.
- You can also combine one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water and one teaspoon of wine.
Test the solution with one leaf and leave it on for a few days. If the mixture does not burn any part of the leaf, this should be safe to use. If the leaf gets burned, add more water to dilute the mixture further.
Use this solution to spray gnat-ridden plants. Mist the flowers, stems, leaves, and soil with the mixture. Repeat the application every three days to kill all gnats.
16. Seal Off All Cracks and Holes
One of the best ways to prevent gnats and other insects from entering your home is to check if there are no cracks or holes in the walls, doors, and windows. These insects are tiny and they can easily come through small gaps.
- Seal all holes that you can find with silicone caulk, plaster, glue or putty. Block off any space that may allow them to enter.
- Consider installing door and window screens to prevent gnats and other insects from entering your house.
- Fix broken screens as they can develop tears or holes.
By sealing all cracks and holes, you will not only keep gnats from getting it, but this will also make your house more energy efficient.
17. Egg Bait Trap
This trap is very effective against eye gnats, making it one of the best solutions on how to get rid of gnats outdoors. Use this bait in the open air as it will produce a foul odor.
To make this trap, you will need four eggs, 1-gallon container, and multiple 1-liter plastic bottles.
- Crack four eggs in a gallon container.
- Fill the container with water and mix well.
- Pour the contents into 1-liter bottles. Fill only about ¼ of the bottle with the mixture. Save the remaining content in the refrigerator.
- Create some holes in the upper part of the bottles.
- Hang these bottles around your garden to trap eye gnats.
Once the bottles are filled with dead gnats, change the mixture and repeat the process.
18. Vanilla Repellent
For outdoor activities, you can apply vanilla over your skin to prevent gnats from biting or annoying you. It is very simple to make a gnat repellant using vanilla as the main ingredient. This concoction also works well against flies and mosquitoes.
- Add one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in a small container.
- Add one tablespoon of water. You can also include a few drops of citronella oil, peppermint oil or lemongrass oil for additional benefits. Mix it well.
- Apply this mixture onto expose areas of the skin.
- Bring this concoction when you go out to keep gnats and other insects away.
To make this repellent effective, make sure that you purchase pure vanilla extract. It contains vanilla extracted from vanilla beans.
Some stores sell vanilla that contains additives such as alcohol and sugar. Those will not be effective against gnats and may attract them instead.
19. Diatomaceous Earth
Sprinkle your potted plants with diatomaceous with diatomaceous earth to dehydrate larvae or gnats that hide on the plant. This is effective especially for a severe gnat infestation. It is also used against black flies, whiteflies, cockroaches, and other flying insects.
This works by puncturing the exoskeleton of insects and absorb their body fluids. As long as you reapply diatomaceous earth, gnats tend to stay away, preventing any infestation.
20. Re-pot Your Plants
If allowing the soil to dry does not eliminate the infestation of gnats, consider removing the plant from its pot to a new one with fresh soil.
- Check your plants for signs of decay. If the roots or bulb appear to be decaying, the chances of saving the plant may be low. Dispose of dead plants as soon as possible as gnats are attracted to decaying plant matter and fungus.
- For healthy plants with gnat-ridden soil, carefully transfer it from its current pot. Wear gloves and remove the soil that gnats may have laid eggs in. Make sure that the new pot contains fresh soil.
- Discard or clean the old pot with soap and hot water.
Read more: 15 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Flying Ants
Insects and other bacteria feed on yeast, making it an effective method to capture gnats and fruit flies. It may take a few weeks to kill or eliminate all the flies, but you can speed this up by locating their breeding sources.
Here’s how to get rid of gnats outside your home using a simple yeast trap.
- Add ½ cup of warm water in a small glass jar.
- Add a package of dry yeast to the water and one teaspoon of sugar. Mix it to activate the yeast.
- After a few minutes, the yeast will start to expand and produce carbon dioxide.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a plastic bag.
- Make a small hole in the side of the bag and secure it with a rubber band.
This yeast trap with attract not only gnats but also flies. They will enter the plastic through the small hole. Once captured, most will not be able to come out.
22. Essential Oil Diffuser
If you do not have enough time to create DIY repellents and traps, but you do not want to use commercial sprays that contain harmful chemicals, you can always use an essential oil diffuser.
There are numerous essential oils that you can try to deter gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, and other annoying insects that visit your home. The best essential oils for gnats include:
- Tea tree
Just add a few drops of your desired essential oil into the diffuser and enjoy its aroma while keeping gnats and other insects at bay.
Gnats are annoying insects that are attracted to rotting plants, fruits, and standing water. They lay hundreds of eggs and invade a kitchen fast. Because these flying insects carry diseases and some species bite, it is important to know how to get rid of gnats as soon as possible.
Luckily, there are many easy solutions that you can try to eliminate and prevent them from coming back. Try some of the procedures mentioned above to keep your home and family safe from these insects.
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