Gnats in Home:
How to Get Rid of These Tiny Flying Pests
Whether you are dealing with flies or gnats, these ubiquitous creatures are remarkably annoying despite their size. Luckily, it is easy to get rid of them with a few easy-to-follow steps.
Identify the Species
Before you can create a targeted solution to rid yourself of these flying pests, you must first know what kind of pest you are dealing with. Just because they’re small and annoying, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are gnats.
Other common species include fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. Fruit flies are brown with bright red eyes. Drain flies are fuzzier and have wings like mouths. Fungus gnats have long, spindly legs, and are black in color.
You can also help differentiate between the species by figuring out where they are located. Fruit flies tend to gather–as the name implies–around the fruit. Drain flies like to hang out in wet areas, such as the toilet or sink, while fungus gnats linger around plants.
Limit Food Sources
Fruit flies tend to congregate around–you guessed it–fruit, so keep fruit in the refrigerator and clean it as soon as you get it home. Fruit flies leave larvae or eggs on fruits’ surface, so washing produce can help eliminate them from the get-go.
Drain flies tend to hang out around bacteria or sewage. Using foaming drain cleaner can help eliminate bacteria from the pipes. However, sometimes a drain fly infestation can signal a leaky pipe, so make sure you are diligent about taking care of any maintenance issues.
Fungus gnats, like other types of pests, require moisture and humidity. Make sure you don’t overwater any houseplants or plants near the home.
“Fruit flies tend to gather around the fruit. Drain flies like to hang out in wet areas, such as the toilet or sink, while fungus gnats linger around plants.”
Use a Trap
While stopping flies before they take up residence is the most effective way to control their populations, once they’ve really set in you can also use a trapping mechanism to eliminate them altogether.
You can fashion an apple cider vinegar trap by mixing a container of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. Place this mixture in a plastic jar, and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the top for the flies to enter. They will drown in this mixture.
Other homemade traps include those with red wine, banana slices, bleach, and rotten fruit. Keep in mind that you must cover any of these traps with plastic wrap to prevent the flies from escaping and propagating further.
Old-fashioned vinegar traps tend to work best. If you are looking for something more powerful. Consider using sticky strips or other manual removal methods to get rid of these unpleasant bugs in your house.
Some people swear by LED light producing machines to attract and then kill flies. These draw flies into their shiny lights and then trap them before they escape. Although these tend to be a bit more costly, they can be highly effective in eliminating gnat populations.
If you have a large-scale infestation, you can also use an insect fogging product. However, these can be potentially toxic or carcinogenic, so make sure you read product labels carefully and never use them around pets or small children.
“While stopping flies before they take up residence is the most effective way to control their populations, once they’ve really set in you can also use a trapping mechanism to eliminate them altogether.”
Remember that it may take some trial and error to find the best gnat removal strategy for your household. Not all methods include one hundred percent guaranteed success.
Depending on the severity and complexity of your infestation, you may have to experiment to find the best solution. Luckily, most treatments are inexpensive and easy to implement.
In most cases, gnats in the home don’t pose a health or safety threat to you or your family. They don’t bite, and most species don’t carry disease. While they can be annoying–and, yes, downright gross–they are unlikely to make you sick.***
Featured Image: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org