Getting Rid of Gnats and Keeping Them Away


It’s happened to all of us. You forgot about an old piece of fruit or overwatered your houseplants. Now you have a cloud of pesky gnats to deal with. If you’ve ever had a barbecue or garden party invaded by these annoying pests you know they can drive you and your guests crazy, and send everyone running for cover. Gnats are not only annoying; they can infest your home and quickly ruin your outdoor activities. So, what are the best ways to get rid of gnats so they’ll stay gone? To answer this question, we need to get to the bottom of, what is a gnat and where do they come from?

What Is a Gnat?

A gnat is any member of thousands of species of tiny winged insects that fly around, bite, and annoy people. Related to flies, gnats include midges, fruit flies, sandflies, fungus gnats, and many more. Different gnat species bite people, feed on plants, prey on other insects, and suck blood from mammals and reptiles. All species represent hygiene hazards, carrying bacteria, diseases, and allergens. While humans rarely get sick from gnat bites, these pests are annoying, and their bites can hurt and itch. They also contaminate food, clog drains, stunt plant growth, and irritate pets. Other than that, they are a pleasure to have around. Now that you know what a gnat is, here’s what they are attracted to.

What Are Gnats Attracted to?

Gnats are wildly attracted to the two things they need for feeding and reproduction: moisture and decaying organic matter. Any source of still water outdoors or in your home will attract gnats. They often cluster around a clogged drain or overwatered houseplants, which serve as their water source. The scents of decaying fruit, vegetables, flowers, gardens, and floral perfumes or body lotions also draw gnats like magnets. When these conditions exist in your home or yard, this is what attracts gnats the most. It’s like an open invitation for gnats. So the best ways to get rid of gnats always start with ridding your home or property of rotting food, vegetation, and standing water.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Your House

There are many tricks for getting rid of gnats in your house. But the best ways to get rid of gnats all work better when you first rid your home of what attracts gnats the most: excess water and decaying food. You can get a great start by wiping down the shower, bathtub, sink, and counters when you’re done with them. Make sure your drains run well. And promptly remove any garbage and leftover food, fruits, or vegetables. Then, implement these additional methods for how to get rid of gnats in your house.

Make a Gnat Trap

Making a simple gnat trap is one of the best ways to get rid of gnats. Here are instructions for four easy traps that are highly effective:

  • Mix a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of dish soap in a small bowl. Set it in the kitchen or bathroom, wherever you have a gnat problem. The gnats feed on the sweet mixture, then get caught by the soap and drown.
  • If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, use red wine and skip the sugar.
  • Place a piece of overripe fruit in a jar. Cover the opening with plastic wrap, with a few holes poked in. Gnats crawl through the holes to reach the fruit but cannot get back out. Nobody said gnats are smart, just annoying.

Use Flypaper

Yep, good old-fashioned flypaper works well to catch and kill gnats. Just hang the sticky spirals anywhere you see gnats hovering. When they bump into the paper, they become stuck and die. When the paper is full of dead gnats and flies, shudder and discard.

Clean Drains

Gnats can make use of a tiny bit of excess water, like that found in dirty drains. The slime, grime, and organic matter that can collect on the sides of the drain pipe hold water drops that gnats drink from and lay their eggs on.

This drain-cleaning regimen will kill any viable gnat eggs and leave the adults no place to hide:

Combine 1 cup vinegar with ½ cup salt and ½ cup baking soda. Pour it down the problem drain and let it sit overnight. In the morning, flush it down with a large pot of boiling water.

Use an Insecticidal Spray

When you have a bad infestation, one of the best ways to get rid of gnats is to reach for the insecticide spray. Choose wisely if you have pets or small children to keep them safe. There are also some natural options available that won’t harm humans or pets. But a quick spray is a simple way to kill the adult gnats you can hit.

Call a Professional Pest Control Company

Mosquito Joe’s comprehensive pest control services will clear these pesky gnats out of your way. Our gnat exterminators help identify places on your property that harbor or attract gnats. We then apply a spray that kills eggs and adults, interrupting the gnat life cycle to rid your property of these troublesome biters. Once you have cleaned your home and yard of what attracts gnats the most, our professional service is one of the very best ways to get rid of gnats.

Professional pest control eliminates nasty gnat infestations effectively and efficiently. For small, localized issues, there are some DIY approaches that can help stop a few gnats from becoming a significant problem. To clear up a few gnats on your own, we recommend the following approaches.

Lure Gnats to Sticky Cards

Several companies produce bright yellow sticky cards to trap gnats. These cards can be placed near potted plants or in the kitchen where gnats collect. The color attracts gnats to the cards, but a tiny smear of honey can make them even more enticing.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a fine powder from fossilized microscopic organisms. The tiny particles shred gnat eggs, larvae, and adults on contact. Sprinkle a layer of DE on top of the soil of your houseplants. This kills the eggs laid on the soil and prevents adults from reaching the soil to lay new eggs.

Drench the Soil

Another simple remedy that’s good for gnats in your house plants is a soil drench using hydrogen peroxide. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with four parts water. Pour over the soil of each plant until it runs out of the drainage holes. The peroxide kills gnat larvae on contact without hurting the plants.

How to Get Rid of Gnats Outdoors

There are several good ways to get rid of gnats outdoors. Here are some actions you can take:

  • Stop overwatering your plants.
  • Fix leaky pipes and faucets.
  • Clean up all dropped fruits and vegetables and weeds that have been pulled.
  • Replace exterior lighting with “bug light bulbs,” yellow bulbs that don’t attract gnats as much as conventional white lighting does.
  • Cover garbage receptacles with a tight lid.
  • Hire a professional gnat control service like Mosquito Joe.

Wave Goodbye to Gnats with Mosquito Joe

For a few gnats, give the DIY approach a try. But the best way to get rid of gnats on a large scale is with Mosquito Joe®. Our gnat control is efficient, effective, and hassle-free. We provide customized pest control services across the country. We do the job right the first time, and all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our own Satisfaction Guarantee. We know how to make the outdoors fun again!


When is DIY a Horrible Idea?


When you are in the pest control industry, sometimes you find yourself searching for odd things on the internet. My browser history is full of things like “How much blood can a mosquito consume in one meal?” or “How many times do a mosquito’s wings beat per second?” This week as I was doing some online research, I came across an article about DIY pest control sprays that included things such as vinegar, active yeast, and detergent.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of DIY projects for the house. The aforementioned products are harmless, but this did bring up a great question. Should pest control be something that gets added to your “things to do” list around the house? Is do-it-yourself mosquito control or really any DIY pest control a good idea? The short answer is — No! It’s definitely something you should leave to the professionals. There are a few reasons why. Let’s take a closer look.

Risks of Using Unproven Chemicals and Sprays

When you schedule a professional barrier spray application, you are assured of several things. First, the chemicals used are legal in your state. Second, they will be applied in a way that most effectively addresses the specific pests you are dealing with. Did you know that there are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes and some are better targeted by certain chemicals than others? No single pesticide or DIY pest control formula is effective against all mosquitoes. A local pest control expert will know the specific species you’re battling and how best to control them. Third, you can trust that a pro will apply the correct amount of treatment to kill pests effectively without harming the local environment.

Remember, effective pest control makes use of substances that can be toxic to pests. Therefore, it must be done carefully, with experience, knowledge and skill, to ensure that only the targeted pests are affected. All too often, when DIY pest control fails to deliver relief from pests, people get desperate and seek out illegal sources for potentially harmful do-it-yourself extermination. It’s important to note that these compounds are regulated to protect you, your family, your pets, and the environment. Working outside of such parameters could easily do serious damage.

Lack of Knowledge of Pests’ Biology and Behavior

Effective pest control is about far more than just dumping a bunch of treatment on your property. The proper treatment must be chosen to address your environment and to meet your needs for the specific pests you’re battling. Furthermore, the timing, location, and method of application are critical to success. For example, did you know that the pupal stage of fleas is impervious to the same chemicals that kill adults and eggs? Or that mosquitoes can go dormant in winter? Spraying do-it-yourself mosquito spray at the wrong time or in the wrong place can threaten your property and pets without ever affecting your intended target.

Pest control professionals recognize insect habitats and the telltale signs of nests and eggs, so they can concentrate their efforts where they will produce the best results. Some pest control solutions are designed to exploit the insects’ natural behavior. Effectively applying them requires both training and experience. Too many do-it-yourself mosquito sprays spread toxics with little rhyme or reason, and limited results. This can also harm beneficial insects and the environment.

Incomplete Coverage and Unreliable Results

DIY pest control can not only be ineffective, but it can also actually worsen your pest problems. Most likely your property has predator bugs that kill and eat the biting pests you want to eliminate. You could end up killing the predators, allowing the fast-breeding pests to survive, which can lead to a population boom. A pest-control professional will know what to apply, where, and how much to effectively eliminate pests without eliminating all the beneficial predators, too.

DIY home pest control can also present a problem when it comes to resistance – similar to the overuse of antibiotics. Insects, just like bacteria, are fast to reproduce with exceptional adaptation and survival mechanisms. This means they can eventually develop a resistance to the compounds used to control them. Just as the overuse of antibiotics can lead to highly resistant infections, indiscriminate use of do-it-yourself extermination can cause local pests to become more resistant to your DIY pest control methods.

Why Professional Pest Control Is the Best Choice

Mosquito Joe® pest control service professionals undergo extensive training to identify and target specific pests in your community with the most effective methods available. We do so swiftly and efficiently without the wasteful use of ineffective substances. Unlike DIY pest control efforts, our work is supervised by certified entomologists – real bug nerds. This ensures we always use the best pest control practices and have the most up-to-date information to alleviate your pest problem.

Professional pest control offers the following benefits compared to DIY pest control:

  • It’s cost-effective based on better long-term results.
  • It’s efficient at eliminating problem pests.
  • It targets the specific pest in your area, based on your unique conditions.
  • It’s environmentally conscious.

The Advantages of Working with Mosquito Joe

Our professional pest control services are available in locations across the country. We study the specific pests that inhabit areas where you live so we can tailor our pest control efforts to the problems you face.

Unlike DIY pest control efforts, all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee. So, you can count on us to do the job right the first time. Request a quote online today! We’re not only studying bugs; we’re also making the outdoors fun again!


How Far Can a Tick Jump?


Have you ever wondered, How far can a tick jump? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dig into the cool facts about how ticks travel so you can be better protected from the nasty little suckers.

We make no bones about it; BUGS are our business. So we make it our business to know everything about bugs. To battle bugs effectively, we have to know the answer to all kinds of bug questions. Yes, we’re nerds when it comes to bugs.

Take the tick, for example. Ticks are pests that cause all kinds of problems for humans and pets that venture outdoors. The results of their bites can range from mild skin irritations to serious health consequences. There’s a ton more to know about ticks, but we’ll focus on a few questions that may have been “bugging” you for a while.

Now, we understand that most people don’t think about ticks like we do, at least not until they become a problem. But there are a few tick questions we get quite often, one of the most common being: How far can a tick jump? This is actually more of a trick question than a tick question.

Despite being outfitted with four pairs of legs, adult ticks don’t jump at all. Each leg is covered with short, spiny hairs and ends in a couple of tiny, curved claws. Between the two claws is a small, sticky pad. The hairs, claws, and sticky pads are all designed to assist the tick in locating, grasping, and crawling onto its host — no jumping required. And it’s wired to crawl upwards once it does attach.

Unlike the enormously strong flea legs, a tick’s legs are not geared for locomotion so much as for grasping. They seem to get around quite a bit, so people often ask, “Can ticks jump and fly?” No, they can’t jump, and ticks don’t have wings, so they can’t fly either. They are essentially grounded, but not in a good way! Living close to the ground doesn’t mean ticks can’t move up in the world. They still manage to get around quite well.

So, how fast do ticks move? On their own, not very fast. If they were a vehicle, they would be a tractor, slow and plodding. But they are skilled at utilizing other means of transportation. Our response to the question “Do ticks jump or fly?” is that they don’t need to. They have found more efficient ways to get around, much to our disadvantage.

How Ticks Move in Nature

So, if ticks do not fly or jump, how do they reach your property? How do ticks travel? A tick’s primary mode of travel is on the host whose blood it feeds on. This could be an animal, a human, or both. Ticks are not too picky when it comes to transportation; they’ll take the first ride that comes along.

In the wild, a tick climbs to the top of a plant or a long blade of grass to search for a host. This host-seeking behavior is called “questing.” While holding the plant with its third and fourth pair of legs, the tick stretches out its first pair of legs, waiting for an animal to approach. Ticks can feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and humans. Warm-blooded hosts are their favorite. With the slightest brush, a tick can grab on and instinctively crawl upwards toward the host’s head and ears, seeking thinner skin.

The tick grasps the host’s skin and cuts into it with its claws. During this process, the tick also secretes a numbing agent within its saliva that helps its bite go undetected. Then it inserts a barbed feeding tube, and the blood buffet is open. An adult tick can remain attached, feeding, for a week to 10 days. During that time, the host continues daily life and may transport the tick several miles. Once sated, the tick releases its hold and drops off its host. Soon, it will again climb to the top of another plant to resume questing.

How Ticks Get on Humans

The most common way a tick finds a human host is through questing. This is the host-seeking behavior where the tick crawls to the top of a plant or grass stem to wait with its forelegs outstretched. When a human brushes against the undergrowth, the tick grabs on and then crawls to a preferred site to attach and feed. Sometimes, ticks wind up on tree leaves, branches, and shrubs. Although it’s more common to find ticks in low-lying areas, this is not always the case. The second most common way ticks find human hosts is through their pets. If your dog or cat is bitten, the tick may drop off in your home or yard. That proximity makes you a more likely target when the tick resumes questing. This is why it’s a good practice to inspect your pet for ticks after spending time outdoors, especially during spring and summer.

Preventing Tick Bites

The most important step to preventing tick-borne disease is learning all about tick bites and how to find them. Then, you can take essential steps for tick bite prevention. These steps include avoiding typical tick habitats like wooded and grassy areas when possible. When out hiking or walking, try to stay on designated or established pathways to avoid encountering ticks. You’ll also learn the ways to help limit ticks on your property. When walking where ticks are likely to be, wear long sleeves and pants in light colors. While ticks cannot jump or fly, they are excellent at hitchhiking a ride and will cling on if you brush past their perch. Covering your skin makes it harder for ticks to attach and start feeding, and the light clothing makes the tiny pests easier to spot.

You won’t feel a tick bite (because they anesthetize the skin before biting), so vigilance is key to remaining healthy and free of tick-borne diseases. Despite all the tick-avoidance precautions you can take, it is critical that you examine your pets, kids, and yourself for ticks when returning home from the outdoors. Showering is an excellent way to rinse away any ticks that are not yet attached. Unfortunately, washing your clothing won’t kick ticks; you’ll also have to toss them into the dryer and run it on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any tick adults or larvae. If you get bitten, properly removing the tick is essential to avoid the diseases they spread.

The Importance of Tick Testing

Testing is important if you, a family member, or a pet gets bitten by a tick. Tick testing will let you know what diseases the tick is carrying. It will not determine whether you were infected, but it alerts you to whether you need to consider treatment. Your doctor will advise you on potential treatment after receiving the test results.

When removing a tick, take care not to crush it. Instead, seal it in an airtight container or wrap it in tape. Make a note of the date of the tick bite, where on your body you were bitten, and the approximate location where you encountered the tick. Some people, especially those with a compromised immune system, prefer to test immediately. Others save the tick(s) for testing if they develop symptoms.

Protect Yourself and Your Family From Tick Bites

Although ticks do not fly or jump, they represent a health hazard for you, your family, and your pets. Ticks that carry various diseases are becoming more plentiful as development further encroaches on their natural habitat and more areas experience warmer seasonal temperatures. Therefore, it is critical that you take steps to protect yourself from these bloodsucking, disease-carrying pests.

In addition to these precautions, employing professional tick control services by your local Mosquito Joe is essential to limiting exposure to ticks around your home. We provide effective tick control as part of our comprehensive pest control services. All our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee, so you can count on excellent results. We come out to your property, tailoring our service to your specific needs. Discover effective, professional tick control near you. We have locations across the country. Our reliable pest control service is trusted by thousands of homeowners and businesses across the U.S.

Don’t let ticks keep you from exploring the great outdoors. Request a free quote at the top of this page, or call us today at 1-855-275-2563. You deserve to enjoy your outdoor spaces without worrying about tick bites. Let Mosquito Joe make the outdoors fun again.


Heartworm Disease Awareness Month

As the weather gets more conducive for outdoor activities, it means more barbecues, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying the fresh air! Unfortunately, it also means more interactions with mosquitoes and other biting pests that pose a threat to our family members, two-legged and four-legged alike. One of the fatal diseases pests can spread is heartworm disease. Sadly, this disease affects thousands of pets each year. April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, designed to raise awareness about the deadly threat that heartworm disease represents for our beloved pets.

What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal affliction. Infected animals can suffer from acute lung disease, cardiac failure, severe organ damage, or die if the disease is left untreated. The most common victims are dogs, cats, ferrets, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. This disease is caused by parasitic worms called Dirofilaria immitis, otherwise known as heartworms.

While dogs, cats, and ferrets are all vulnerable to heartworm disease, it is far more common in dogs and ferrets than in cats. In part, this is due to heartworms reproducing more rapidly in dogs. However, while successful heartworm disease treatments exist for dogs, no treatment is available for cats or ferrets. One study indicates that one-third of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease die or are euthanized soon after diagnosis. Therefore, it’s essential to protect your pets from this deadly disease.

How Do Pets Get Heartworm Disease?

Pets can get heartworms after being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Heartworms can live in the major organs of an animal’s body, such as the heart, lungs, and connected blood vessels. Adult female heartworms living in an animal host produce microscopic baby worms that circulate throughout the infected animal’s bloodstream. When the host gets bitten by a bloodsucking mosquito, the insect picks up these tiny worms with the animal’s blood. When that pest bites another susceptible pet or wild animal, they deposit the infective worms into the animal’s bloodstream.

Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, but the highest number of reported cases are in the southeast, especially in Gulf Coast areas. Warmer climates make transmission from mosquitoes much easier, and the number of wildlife carriers in the area is also a contributing factor.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Not all infected dogs and cats demonstrate symptoms of heartworm disease. A blood test is the surest way to detect heartworms in your pet. Use Heartworm Disease Month as your motivation to schedule regular vet visits for your pet(s).

The most common symptoms of heartworm disease are the following:

  • A dry, persistent cough, particularly in otherwise healthy-appearing pets
  • Lethargy, poor stamina, and a reluctance to exercise
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Swollen belly due to fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing or shallow, rapid breaths
  • Frequent vomiting, sometimes with blood
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Seizures

If your dog or cat displays any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to take them to your vet. However, heartworms cannot be detected in your pet until the parasites are about 7 months old.

Stages of Heartworm Disease

There are four distinct stages of heartworm disease, which are as follows:

  1. A mosquito bites a pet or wild animal infected with heartworms, ingesting microfilariae, the immature larval form of Dirofilaria immitis.
  2. The heartworm microfilariae mature into infective larvae inside the mosquito.*
  3. The infected mosquito bites a healthy animal, transmitting the infective heartworm larvae.
  4. The larvae enter the animal’s bloodstream, traveling to the heart and lungs, where they mature and begin to reproduce, growing up to a foot in length.

* Heartworm microfilariae, the microscopic immature larval form, must spend time in the digestive tract of a mosquito to develop into infective larvae. An infected pet cannot pass heartworm to another animal through contact, scratches, bites, or grooming. Mosquitoes are essential to the spread of heartworm disease.

Mature heartworms can live in dogs for five to seven years and in cats for two or three years. (Yuck!) But this long lifespan means that every mosquito season, your pet can develop an increasing number of heartworms, worsening the severity of the heartworm disease and its symptoms.

How To Prevent Heartworm Disease in Dogs?

While Heartworm Disease Awareness Month is dedicated to raising pet owners’ awareness of the disease, prevention is the main purpose. Heartworm disease in dogs and cats can be prevented, so it’s essential to check your pet(s) regularly for symptoms and schedule periodic checkups with your vet.

The best way to deal with the threat of heartworm disease is the regular use of preventative medications prescribed by your vet. Various effective formulas are available in once-monthly chewable form, once-monthly topical applications, and once- or twice-yearly injections.

Effective prevention consists of following your veterinarian’s recommendation and having a proactive plan in place. The American Heartworm Society recommends starting puppies and kittens on a preventative medication as early as the label allows, typically at 8 weeks old. Ferrets should weigh at least two pounds before starting the medication. Experts also recommend that pets aged 7 months and older be tested for heartworms every 12 months. Although cats are less likely to contract heartworms as they are atypical hosts, it is important to provide cats with preventative treatment and test them regularly for early detection.

Additional Protection Against Heartworm Disease

Another component of heartworm disease prevention is effective mosquito control around your property. Remember that mosquitoes are essential to the transmission of heartworm disease. Mosquito Joe®’s barrier-treatment sprays, misting systems, and mosquito traps  provide an added layer of defense and protection against mosquitoes that transmit heartworm disease. With a regular schedule of our barrier treatments, especially during the peak mosquito season, you can protect your family and pets from mosquitoes and the health risks they pose.

You can also lower the mosquito population near your home by doing the following:

  • Emptying standing water sources. Tires, puddles, bird baths, and even children’s toys can be prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Cleaning gutters regularly so water doesn’t build up.
  • Cut grass and shrubs short so pests can’t hide.
  • Drilling holes in tires, swings, trash cans, and recycle bins so water drains out.
  • Repairing leaky outdoor faucets and pipes.
  • Keeping your lawn weed-free and avoiding overgrown vegetation.

Treatment of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is treated in dogs with the use of Melarsomine dihydrochloride. This is a drug that contains arsenic and has been approved by the FDA to kill adult heartworms in dogs. It is available under the trade names Immiticide and Diroban. Heartworm disease prevention is far and away the best treatment.

To find more information on heartworms, visit the American Heartworm Society.

Help Protect My Pets from Heartworm Disease

At Mosquito Joe, we’re dedicated to keeping your family and furry friends safe from biting insects. In addition to mosquito control, our services include flea and tick control. We also provide extensive ongoing education about insects and vector-borne diseases to help you protect all of your loved ones.

To keep your outdoor spaces free from itching and swatting, trust the professionals at your local Mosquito Joe. All our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and the Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee. So you know we’ll get the job done right the first time. Request a free quote and say goodbye to biting mosquitoes and hello to the great outdoors.