Gnats are those pesky little black bugs that, while small, can become a big annoyance in the home. You might spot them hovering around your fruit, dishes, or indoor plants. The silver lining? Most indoor gnats don’t bite and aren’t known to spread diseases – they’re just plain annoying.
Gnats thrive in decaying organic matter and moist environments. There are three common types:
- Fungus gnats are typically found around damp soil or indoor plants.
- Fruit flies love hanging around overripe fruits, like bananas.
- Drain flies often pop up around kitchen, bathroom, and basement drains.
How to get rid of gnats?
1. Use vinegar and sugar to trap fruit flies.
Grab some apple cider vinegar and sugar from your kitchen. Place a bowl in the affected area, pour in some vinegar, and add a teaspoon of sugar to attract the fruit flies.
While vinegar can kill fruit flies, you’ll want to keep them in the bowl rather than letting them fly away. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, poke some holes, or mix in a bit of dish soap. The soap’s stickiness will trap them.
Got some sour red wine? You can use it instead of vinegar, and the method remains the same.
2. Use overripe fruit to trap fruit flies.
Take some rotting fruit, like bananas or apples, and place them in a bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and punch a few holes. The fruit flies can get in but won’t be able to get out, eventually dying inside your DIY trap.
3. Use bleach to tackle drain flies.
If you notice gnats around your sinks or drains, mix half a cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Slowly pour the diluted mix down the drain to kill the gnats and their larvae. Commercial drain cleaners work just as well. After using bleach, make sure to ventilate the room.
4. Use a candle to kill fruit flies.
This method works best at night, and always practice fire safety. Fill a bowl or pan with water and dish soap, light a candle in the center, and turn off all lights in the room – the darker, the better. Soon, you’ll see the fruit flies get attracted to the flame and either burn or drown in the soapy water below.
5. Use sticky fly paper.
If other methods fail or you prefer a hands-off approach, buy sticky fly paper and place it where gnats gather, like sticking it into potted plant soil. Replace when full. Keep in mind, it can be harmful to pets, so place it out of their reach.
You can also try electric fly swatters or traps. For instance, the Mosalogic Flying Insect Trap plugs into a standard outlet, using UV light to attract bugs and trap them on a sticky pad. It’s non-toxic, odorless, and quiet, with an optional nightlight feature in both cool and warm tones.
If all else fails, consider contacting a pest control company.
How to prevent gnats?
- Keep your home dry: Gnats love moisture. Check for any leaks. Use dehumidifiers in damp rooms. Make sure your AC is working properly in the summer.
- Be mindful of trash: Make sure your kitchen trash has a tight seal and regularly take out the garbage. Avoid composting indoors.
- Don’t overwater indoor plants: Damp soil can be a breeding ground for gnats. Water moderately and opt for plants with low water needs.
- Keep drains clean and dry: This is a hotspot for gnats. Regularly clean and try to keep areas like your kitchen sink as dry as possible. Use drain stoppers at night.
- Empty and dry pet water bowls overnight.
- Ensure window screens are intact, without holes or gaps, to prevent gnats from coming in.
- Don’t leave fruit out for long, especially ripe fruits like bananas and apples. Store them in the fridge or freezer if not consuming soon.
- Clean up any spills, especially sugary drinks, immediately.
- Keep outdoor water features like bird baths or fountains clean and away from your home.