Why Are There Gnats In My House (And How Do I Get Them Out?)
Gnats are one of the most annoying infestations you can have. They tend to swarm together around sweet scents like flowers and organic waste, but they love other scents like perspiration too. Chances are that you have produce, trash, or houseplants that the gnats love, so they slip in whenever you open your door.
Once you get gnats in the house, it can seem impossible to get them out. Gnats multiply quickly because, despite their short lifespans, a mature female gnat can lay up to 300 eggs before she dies. Given time, you could have an unbearable infestation on your hands.
Thankfully, there are methods to make your home less hospitable to gnats and other insects, as well as to eliminate the ones lingering around your kitchen and plants. Let’s check out how to repel and get rid of gnats indoors for good.
What Attracts Gnats and How To Minimize Their Presence
Gnats are like flies in that they’re usually spurred to go indoors by what they perceive as tasty scents. These range from obvious to less obvious, but you can usually pinpoint what attracts them with little fuss.
- Fresh produce
- Food residue
- Flowers or other plants
- Food or drink spills
- Unsealed trash cans or containers
Food residue in dirty sinks can provide food, shelter, water, and breeding sites to gnats as well as other species of flies, so it’s best to keep your sinks free of food debris by regularly cleaning them. Food catchers are an easy way to maintain a clean sink.
For trash, invest in a trash can with a lid. Locking lids are the most useful, but anything that seals the odors within will work. Take your trash out daily, or alternatively, keep it outdoors.
If you have fresh produce indoors, it’s best to either keep it in the refrigerator or in sealed containers. These will help preserve them as well as repel gnats and other insects.
To help repel gnats from your houseplants, mix a tablespoon of lemon-scented dish soap with 2 liters of water and mix thoroughly. With a spray bottle, liberally coat your plants and the top layer of soil with the solution. This mixture will help kill living gnats as well as any eggs they may have laid in the soil. Let the plants dry and reapply if you continue to see gnats.
Other Tips To Prevent Gnats From Coming Indoors:
- Immediately address leaks in your indoor plumbing, as bugs can’t survive indoors without a water source.
- Clean and dry your sink daily. Drying is crucial to deprive gnats of water.
- Don’t leave pet food or water out for prolonged periods of time.
- Immediately clean spills, especially if the food or drink is sugary.
- Seal cracks in walls or foundations that may let gnats inside.
- Keep any outdoor trash at least 15 feet away from your door. The closer trash is to your door, the easier it is for gnats to get indoors by accident.
- Use yellow sodium light bulbs in outdoor lighting fixtures to discourage gnats and other insects from entering.
- Use a long-handled nylon brush to clean the walls of your drain. This helps minimize food residue that can feed gnat larvae.
- Pour a bleach-water mixture down your drain periodically.
How To Get Rid Of Gnats Indoors
Other than getting rid of what attracts gnats, there are several things you can do to actually rid your home of them. These range from simple and cheap to relatively expensive, depending on how severe your gnat problem is.
Fruit and other types of bug traps are most useful when you have a relatively minor bug problem. Simply take a piece of fruit and put it in a cup covered with plastic wrap, and poke holes in the plastic wrap. Rotting fruit works the best.
The gnats will be able to get in, but not out. The same concept applies to anything sweet, so feel free to use something other than fruit. If you have a bad gnat problem, strategically place fruit traps around your home to contain and get rid of them.
This trap is similar to the fruit trap, utilizing a mixture of sugar, apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap. Add a few tablespoons of sugar and apple cider to a bowl and give it a squirt of dish soap. The sugar will attract gnats, dish soap traps them, and the vinegar ultimately kills them.
Unlike the fruit trap, you leave this type of trap open to the air. The gnats won’t be able to escape, so don’t worry.
Homemade Gnat Spray
For aggressive gnat killing, you can mix water with a few tablespoons of vinegar and just a few drops of dish soap together in a spray bottle. Use this spray to kill individual gnats or groups that aren’t captured by your traps.
This spray is best used to supplement traps and other methods of pest control. It won’t be much use if you aren’t taking other measures to repel and kill gnats.
Related Read: How To Tell How Many Rats Are In Your House (4 Key Steps)
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For Heavy Infestations Consider Pest Control Professionals
Nobody likes to hear that they need to hire someone to come into your home, least of all for pest control, but it’s sometimes necessary. If you’ve put fruit traps all around the house and keep spraying gnats to no avail, it might be time to call pest control professionals.
Pest control companies have access to strong commercial pest control chemicals as well as years of experience dealing with live bugs and larvae. They’ll know how to pinpoint where your infestation is coming from as well as how to treat the area so gnats don’t return.
It’s important to note that while a pest control company can get rid of your gnats, only you can keep your home clean enough to keep them away. You’ll still need to take precautions, like those listed above, to help repel gnats and other pests.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay