There’s nothing more annoying than gnats. Maybe you’re enjoying yourself at home and one of these little, tiny, buzzing insects floats its way into your vision. Maybe you walk into the kitchen one day to find a whole cloud of them sitting over your fruit bowl or hovering around the trash can. Whatever the case may be, now you’ve got gnats — and you need to get rid of them.
Unfortunately, while coming down with a case of the gnats is easy, getting rid of those pesky bugs once they’ve infiltrated your home is rather difficult. It’s certainly a lot harder than just throwing away the bananas that the gnats are attracted to or taking out the trash. To help you out, here are 17 ways to get rid of gnats, with or without a gnat trap.
What Kind of Gnats Are You Dealing With?
Before you can come up with an elimination plan, you need to know what kind of gnats you’re dealing with. Most of the insects that the average person thinks is a gnat are actually either fruit flies, fungus gnats or drain flies.
Fungus gnats are black bugs with long legs and they like to hang around potted plants. Fruit flies are brown, round insects that like to hang out around fruit. That said, both fungus gnats and fruit flies will gravitate towards decaying organic matter of any kind.
Drain flies look a little fuzzy and have larger wings than both fruit flies and fungus gnats. Depending on the type of bug you’re dealing with, you may want to approach your project differently. While many solutions will work for both gnats and fruit flies, the battle against drain flies may require extra attention.
Traps and Solutions for Flying Bugs in General
Whether you’re not sure which type of gnat you’re dealing with or you want to deal with multiple flying insect invasions at once, here are 17 options when it comes to gnat traps!
1. Fly Paper
Fly paper isn’t the most attractive option on our list, but it is one of the most effective! That’s because there’s no escaping from fly paper once a fly, gnat or other insect finds its way onto these sticky sheets. You can purchase both large sheets of fly paper or strips of fly paper, both of which you can hang in whichever area you’re seeing insects the most.
2. Bug Zappers
Bug zappers are definitely more discreet than your typical gnat trap. Plus, they can fit in more easily with your existing decor than other options as well. These high-tech and noiseless bug machines can be used indoors as a way to zap gnats and other flying insects in a very fast way, but it can be difficult to know if a bug zapper is actually working. This is a downside to make note of, as the only real way to tell if these bug zappers are still usable is if you don’t notice a decrease in the number of insects that are zapped over time.
3. Bug Spray
You can, of course, just use bug spray. There are a range of chemical solutions available to address a wide array of insect invasions, so you can easily find something to fit your needs at your local big-box or hardware store. Just be careful what kind of bug spray you buy and where you use it. Some sprays are particularly dangerous to use around children, pets or food.
4. Citronella Candles
Much like bug zappers, citronella candles aren’t just for mosquitos. They’ll repel just about any flying insect. However, citronella candles aren’t suitable for use indoors, so consider placing this candle on your porch or deck, so long as you’ll be nearby when it’s lit.
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There’s no need to necessarily spend money on a fancy, store-bought solution, though. You can make DIY gnat and fruit fly traps at home, using household staples and pantry items.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
Making an apple cider vinegar insect trap is as easy as mixing half a cup of warm water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Gnats and fruit flies are attracted to the sugar, but the soap traps their tiny feet and prevents them from flying away. Just place the mixture in a shallow dish wherever you’re spotting the most insects and wait.
6. Wine Trap
Have an expired bottle of wine in your fridge? Use it to attract some gnats. Pour it into a small bowl, add in a few drops of dish soap and then let it lie in wait for your flying friends.
7. Candle Trap
No apple cider vinegar? No wine? If you have a tall, tapered candle somewhere, you can easily use it to attract your household gnats.
With your candle in its candlestick, place it in a shallow, flat dish of water (be careful not to put it in anything that’s going to tip over). Light the candle, place it in the room where you’re experiencing your gnat problem and then turn out the lights. The flying insects will be drawn to the singular light source, get too close to the flame and fall into the water below.
8. Banana Trap
If you’ve yet to toss those overripe bananas that caused your gnat problem in the first place, make them do the hard work for you. Place the bananas alone in a large bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (keep it secure around the bowl with tape, a hair tie or rubber band) and poke some holes in the wrap. The gnats will fly in, but be unable to find their way back out again.
9. Yeast Trap
If you’ve already thrown out those bananas, you can do something very similar with yeast, water and sugar. Just place a few teaspoons of yeast and sugar in a bowl, add about a half a cup of water and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Secure the wrap and then poke a few holes in the surface of the wrap to trap the gnats.
10. Milk Trap
If you’re dealing with a larger gnat infestation and need a large quantity of “trap” material, you may want to try this old-school recipe. Mix two cups of milk with 1/8 cup sugar and 1/2 cup black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 10 minutes, pour the mixture into several low bowls or ramekins and place those ramekins around your home. The gnats will be attracted to the mixture, but then drown immediately.
11. Homemade Gnat Spray
If you don’t want to buy a chemical-filled, hazardous insecticide, but you do want the convenience of a spray that you can use when and where you see those pesky gnats, you can make a homemade, non-toxic, safe solution from water, vinegar and essential oils.
Just mix a cup of water with a cup of white vinegar, plus 15 drops of eucalyptus oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil and seven drops of peppermint oil. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray away.
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Traps for Fungus Gnats Specifically
If you’re absolutely positive you’re dealing with fungus gnats that are attracted to houseplants, you can deal with them in a more specific manner. Try these traps for fungus gnats specifically!
12. Honey Trap
Gnats that are particularly drawn to potted plants can be more difficult to catch than fruit flies that just hover around your kitchen. After all, you can’t simply place a burning candle in your ficus pot and call it a day.
However, this honey trap was made with potted plants in mind. Raid your kids’ craft drawer and find some colored construction paper, a glue stick and popsicle sticks. Then, cut small strips from the construction paper and glue the strips to the popsicle sticks. From there, top the construction paper with a smear of honey. Stick the bottom of the popsicle stick in the dirt next to your potted plant and wait for the gnats to come looking.
Sound like too much crafting for you? You can purchase a similar product at the store, called Gnat Stix.
Cinnamon acts as an all-natural insecticide. It’s safe for use around anyone just about anywhere. Plus, it’s also antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. Toss some cinnamon on top of your plant soil to detract insects away from your plants and kill fungus gnats with ease.
Traps for Drain Flies Specifically
But what if you specifically know you have drain flies on your hands? These fuzzy, large-winged insects converge around sink drains, attracted to all those yummy sights and smells stuck in your pipes. Here’s how to get rid of them.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of drain flies is to clean the drain that’s attracting them. You can do this with a bleach and water solution. Mix half a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and then pour it all down the drain.
If you don’t have any bleach handy, you can also use ammonia to clean the drain. Pour a small amount of ammonia down the drain and let the sink sit, untouched, for a few hours. Afterward and before using the sink again, make sure to rinse it thoroughly.
16. Baking Soda and Vinegar
But a lot of folks don’t like to use such harsh cleaning chemicals around their families. So, you can also use baking soda and vinegar to more safely and naturally clean drains that are attracting drain flies.
Just pour a few spoonfuls of baking soda down your drain and follow it with a cup of vinegar. Let the sink stand, unused, for a few hours, then follow the mixture with boiling water.
You can also use olive oil or vegetable oil to help with drain flies. Pour about a half a cup of oil down the drain, each day, for several days in a row, until the flies are gone. The oil slowly makes it impossible for the drain flies to eat or even move.
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Preventing Gnats, Fruit Flies and Other Insects
Of course, once you’ve gotten rid of your gnats and other friends, you want to keep them away in the future. There are a few ways you can do so.
Identify the Root Cause
First things first, it’s important to identify the root cause of your initial infestation. Sometimes, something as innocent as a new laundry detergent or perfume can attract gnats.
But most often, though, the culprit is noticeable, such as a bowl of rotting fruit or an unhealthy potted plant. Other potential attractors can include compost piles, trash cans, dirty dishes, vegetable gardens, flowers, fruit trees and more. Whatever the root cause, remove it for good.
Don’t Overwater Your Plants
Overwatering plants can lead to plant decay, which can, in turn, attract fungus gnats. Familiarize yourself with your houseplants’ exact watering needs and then do your best not to overwater.
Dispose of Trash Promptly
Don’t leave trash just sitting around your house for longer than necessary. Invest in a trash can with a lid and then empty the trash promptly once it’s full. Likewise, if you know you have rotting fruit or vegetables either sitting out in the open or in your fridge, dispose of them.
Add Some Essential Oils To Your Diffuser
If you already use an essential oil diffuser, you can add a few drops of insect-repelling oils to the diffuser on occasion, to help dissuade gnats and fruit flies from entering your home. Some of the best Insect-repelling oils include peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, cedar wood, lemongrass, citronella and eucalyptus.
Get Rid of Gnats and Their Friends
As a Florida-based and certified pest control technician, Clarissa Benny has worked for a commercial pest control company for about 11 years now. As a consultant for HouseGrail, Clarissa knows what she’s talking about when it comes to gnats!
In her own words, the best way to keep gnats from coming back is “at least once a week I pour bleach down my drain. In addition to that, I make sure that all of my fruit is placed in resealable bags, my kitchen is clean and my potting soil is outside in my garage.” Follow in Clarissa’s footsteps to keep your space gnat-free!
Whether you’re dealing with fruit flies, fungus gnats, drain flies or you’re not quite sure exactly what, get rid of those pesky insects fast with one of the above products or DIY tricks.
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17 Ways To Get Rid Of Gnats:
- Fly Paper
- Bug Zappers
- Bug Spray
- Citronella Candles
- Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
- Wine Trap
- Candle Trap
- Banana Trap
- Yeast Trap
- Milk Trap
- Homemade Gnat Spray
- Honey Trap
- Baking Soda and Vinegar