How to Get Rid of Gnats
It is normal to get worried when you find strange insects flying and crawling around your home. Aside from the fact that their infestation may be problematic to you, your pets and other members of your home, you may fear that they are dangerous to your health. Gnats are some of the pests that like to infest human dwellings in large numbers. If you are looking for an effective method to manage a gnat infestation, then you are in the right place. This post will provide you with tips and a few effective methods to get rid of this insect and prevent future reinfestation. Scroll down for details.
What Are Gnats?
There is no unanimity among scholars and scientist as to what constitutes a gnat. While most scientists argue that they are a group of non-biting insects, others stated otherwise. However, gnats are a group of different species of small flying insects usually in the family Anisopodidae, Mycetophilidae, and Sciaridae as well as in the Diptera suborder Nematocera. The insects that fall within this category includes both biting and non-biting ones.
Furthermore, gnats mostly fly in large numbers and they are mostly seen in summer. They usually create their dwellings on wet soil or in places where there is water. This is especially because the females lay their egg closed to aquatic vegetation or on water. Gnats lay so many eggs at a time as a single female can lay up to 1,000 eggs in a lifetime. This makes it even difficult to get rid of the insects when they infest your home. The eggs usually hatch over several days with the larvae appearing like small worms.
After this stage, the larvae with pupate for a few days and then metamorphosis into winged adult gnats. Gnats have a short lifespan as they only last about 7 to 10 days in their adult stage.
Are Gnats Harmful to Human Health?
As already mentioned, there are there two different types of gnats – biting and non-biting species. Adult biting gnats such as black fly also known as buffalo gnat may bite humans. It is reported that their bite is as painful as that of fire ants. Another type of gnats called biting midges may also bite humans and feed on their blood. Biting midges are also referred to as sand flies and they are really small and somewhat hard to identify with bare eyes.
Some gnat larvae are aquatic but others are free living. These larvae usually feed on plants but you may find a few that are carnivorous in nature. The infestation of your home by the latter may be problematic and may even be harmful to your health if you are allergic to their bites. Plant-feeding larvae also known as fungus gnats are considered pests as they may cause little or no harm to your plants. However, in large numbers, gnat larvae may stunt the growth of plants and reduce their productivity significantly.
For this reason, it is advised to take active steps to get rid of fungus gnats if you manage a greenhouse, a garden, or if you keep potted plants in your home. Another type of gnats known as fruit flies feed on fruits and may cause damage if you store some in your home. Non-biting gnats, on the other hand, don’t harm humans and they don’t damage plants but they can constitute a nuisance in your home.
Generally, gnats can bite your and other members of your family which may have a negative effect on your health. It is reported that some gnats are vectors that may transmit diseases from one victim to another thus causing harm to human health and that of their livestock.
Benefits of Gnats
Just like other creatures in the ecosystem, gnats play important roles. It is reported that some pleurothallis orchids in South America are pollinated by tiny gnats. Also, after gnat eggs hatch in water, the pupa will rise to the water surface where they serve as a nutritious meal for fishes.
How to Get Rid of Gnats
Whether the gnats infesting your home are biting or non-biting species, it is pertinent to take active steps to get rid of them and prevent their future infestation. There are many ways to get rid of these insects and this section will provide you with a detailed list of some of them. Read on for more information.
Purchase an Insecticide
If you are dealing with a heavy gnat infestation in your home or garden, then you may want to consider purchasing an insecticide that is specially formulated to get rid of the insects. There are so many insecticides formulated to get rid of gnats and the most popular ones are the Bonide Systemic Insect Control and the Earth Juice GoGnats Insect Control Liquid Concentrate.
Insecticides are highly effective and most of them will kill gnats almost instantly. They are also useful for getting rid of gnat larvae and pupa thereby preventing and control their infestation at early stages. Insecticides for gnats are usually offered at an affordable price and they come in large containers that will allow for multiple uses and the effective management of heavy infestation. However, most homeowners don’t like the idea of using insecticides in their dwellings.
This is probably due to the fact that most insecticides on the market are chemical based and some ingredients used may be toxic to human health, as well as that of pets and plants in and around the home. When choosing the best insecticide for gnat infestation, it is advised to go for a product that is safe for you, members of your household,
Another way to get rid of the gnats in the home and garden is by spraying repellents. Gnat repellants are formulated with ingredients that the insects hate. Once you spray it in your home and garden, it will do a great job to keep gnats at bay. Unlike insecticides, gnat repellents, especially those made with natural ingredients are safe to use in homes and gardens as they don’t pose any risk to human health as well as that of pets and plants. Gnats repellents are offered at a budget-friendly price but this method may not be ideal when dealing with a heavy infestation.
Some popular store-bought gnat repellents are Shabby Chick Natural Insect Repellent and BUG SOOTHER Spray. Alternatively, you can make your own homemade gnat repellent. The process is pretty easy and it will allow you to control the ingredients you use to ensure that only those that are safe for you and your plants are included. Here are a few easy to make homemade gnat repellent:
Fresh Garlic or Garlic Oil
Garlic has been used for many decades as a mosquito repellent but the spice is also effective against gnats. The insects don’t like the scent of garlic and will find your home or garden inhabitable when you spray a repellent made of it. The garlic gnat repellent is easy to make and you can complete the process using any one of these two methods:
Take half of a garlic clove, peel them properly and place them in 1 tablespoon of mineral oil for about 24 hours. When you are certain the garlic bits are well soaked, strain the oil and transfer it into a spray bottle. Add about half a cup of water and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Shake well and spray on your plants and other areas of your home you intend to protect.
Alternatively, you can just get 2 tablespoons of garlic oil and add it to a spray bottle. Add in about half a cup of water and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Shake well and spray around your home and garden.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is one of the essential oil loved by most people but the same cannot be said for small insects including gnats. You may find it sweet smelling but gnats detest it and will usually do their best to avoid areas with lavender oil. To enjoy the benefits of lavender against gnat, it is advised to purchase 100 percent pure lavender oil. Do not dilute it. Get a sponge and a small plate. Place the sponge in the plate and soak it with the lavender essential oil. Place the plate with the sponge in your living room to protect your home from gnats.
You can also place it in other rooms in your house for the best result. If you can get lavender oil, it is advised to place dried lavender leave on place through which the pests gain access to your home. If the gnat infestation you are trying to manage is in your garden, then you can spray the oil mixed with an equal part of dishwashing liquid on your plants. Alternatively, you can add lavender among the collection of plants in your garden.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil is another essential oil that gnats hate. The process of making lemongrass gnat repellent is the same as those listed above. First, mixed the oil with warm water and dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray in your garden or other places you want to prevent. Alternatively, you can plant lemongrass in your garden. The process should be repeated regularly until you are satisfied that you have gotten rid of all the gnats.
Other Methods to Get Rid of Gnats at Home
Alcohol or Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Apple cider vinegar has a lovely smell that gnats and fruit flies love. The insects are attracted to the formula thus making it a good way to get rid of them. The apple cider vinegar method of getting rid of fruit flies is highly effective and it is easy to accomplish. All you have to do is get about half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a bowl. Pour the vinegar into the bowl and place it in the area infested with gnats. The will be attracted by the apple cider vinegar and they will all die in it.
For the best result, it is advised to make multiple bowls of the vinegar and drop it in all places infested with the pest. To make a trap, you can get several cups and add half a cup of the vinegar in each of them. Cover with a plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Now make small holes with a sharp pointed object. Gnats will be attracted to the cups and they will get in but they will not be able to get out.
Alternatively, you can use alcohol. Mix one part alcohol with two parts water and mix well. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz on your garden, your home and other places you want to protect. You can also pour the mixture in cups and cover with plastic wraps. Secure them with rubber bands and make tiny holes on the surface. Place the cups in your garden or indoors to attract and trap gnats.
Honey Trap or Fruit Trap
Gnats are attracted to sweet food substances. This makes fruits and honey the best way to attract and trap the pests. They are also attracted to bright colors. The first method to get rid of gnats involve using honey and a few pieces of bright colored plastic. Apply honey on the plastic and place it in places of active infestation. Any gnat that sits on the plastic will stick to it and remain on it until its death.
To make a fruit trap, on the other hand, you have to get several banana peels depending on the population of gnats that are infesting your home. The insects are attracted to banana thus allowing you to trap them with this method. Place banana peels in a jar and cover with a plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Make small holes on the surface for the best result. Fruit flies that goes in may not be able to come out. Repeat the process after every 24 hours.
Cinnamon, Yeast or Baking Soda
Cinnamon is one of the ingredients that are effective for getting rid of gnats especially fungus gnats and their larvae. To use this method, get powdered cinnamon and sprinkle them in your garden and other places infested with gnat larvae. The spice is effective for getting rid of fungi which are the major source of food for gnat larvae. This will go a long way to control the population of the pest.
Repeat the process weekly for the best result. Alternatively, you can sprinkle baking soda on your garden. Also, you can mix baking soda with dishwashing liquid and water. Add the mixture to a spray bottle and squirt on affected areas.
The yeast method is another effective way to get rid of gnats. This is especially because the insects love yeast. Mix one part yeast and two parts sugar in small bowls, add water and stir well. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Make small holes using a toothpick and place in places of active infestation. Gnats will be attracted and trapped. Repeat the process regularly for the best result.
Make Your Home Inhabitable
- Keep your home tidy at all times.
- Wash dishes and utensils immediately after use.
- Ensure that the lid of your garbage can are tightly sealed at all times.
- Take out the garbage regularly.
- Keep fruits covered or in the refrigerator.
- Remove fruit trees or plants that attract gnats.