Getting Rid of Gnats and Keeping Them Away

Swarm of gnats appear over blades of grass at dusk


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!