Gnats are tiny, pesky insects that can be harmful to humans, home pets, and house plants. They spread diseases and infections to both humans and animals as well as carry disease-causing parasites.
There are two common types of gnats. The first is the type that swarms aquatic bodies, especially stagnant water bodies, in large quantities. These are called fungus gnats. The second type is the type that festers around fruits, especially rotting fruits. These are the infamous gnats called fruit flies.
Gnats generally have a short lifespan of about 10 days.
You could use chemical-laden insecticides and pesticides to get rid of gnats. However, this option is quite toxic to both you and the environment.
Here are some good practices, to consider, when dealing with gnats either outdoors or indoors;
- Ensure you close your garbage can at all times.
- Do not over water plants as gnats are attracted to moist soils.
- Keep your house clean always. Untidiness and poor domestic hygiene is the major cause of a gnat infestation.
- Throw away rotten fruits instead of leaving them lying about.
- Do not leave leftover food exposed in the kitchen as this would attract gnats.
- Refrigerate fresh fruits or store them in pop up food covers.
- Close all doors and windows. If you can’t close doors and windows for ventilation purposes, install screen guards.
- Grow basil plants in your garden. The repel gnats.
- Fix all holes, crevices, and cracks in your house.
- Cover wet plates and cutlery with a clean cloth or with picnic food covers.
- Get rid of stagnant water especially in your garden or plantation.
Below are 19 home remedies and natural ways to get rid of gnats;
1. Spread Ammonia
Spreading ammonia in the gnat infested areas is a great way to get rid of gnats. Put some vegetable oil in your sink. When the gnats have gathered around the vegetable oil in the sink, pour some ammonia on them.
Since ammonia is dangerous for living organisms, it will instantly kill the gnats. Avoid using the sink for a few hours after doing this to ensure that all the gnats are killed.
You could also use a bleaching solution if ammonia is not available. However, ensure you do not mix both the bleaching agent and ammonia together.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider has a distinct aroma that is liked by the gnats. Put some apple cider vinegar in a jar covered with a funnel. The gnats will easily get inside the jar through the funnel but would find it difficult to fly upwards back to your room.
In this way, you can trap a lot of them at a time. You could also use fruit juices or white vinegar to attract the gnats if ACV is not available.
3. Vanilla Scent
If vanilla extracts are readily available in your pantry, you can use it to get rid of the pesky insects in an easy way. Since gnats get irritated by vanilla scent, they move away from your home.
Just fill up a spray bottle with a mixture of vanilla extract and water and spray it in your living room or other places they are found most.
4. Reduce Moisture Around Potted Plants
Gnats find moisture-laden soil a favorable place for laying eggs. If you are seeing a lot of gnats moving around your home and do not get eliminated with natural insecticides, consider replacing the old plant pots with new ones, if you have potted plants, as gnats could be breeding in your potted plants.
You could also remove the top layer of the soil and replace it with new soil to destroy their eggs.
5. Baking Soda And Liquid Soap
Baking soda has endless uses starting from food preparation to cleaning and even warding off insects and pests. It is non-toxic to humans but can wreak havoc on the tiny insects.
To use baking soda as a gnat repellent, mix 4 teaspoons of it with a teaspoon of liquid soap and a gallon of water. Use this solution to spray in the affected areas to effectively kill the gnats.
6. Dryer Sheets
Lay enough dryer sheets in your garden to prevent gnats from laying eggs on the soil. Dryer sheets help in keeping the soil dry and prevent them from laying eggs on the soil.
Gnats get attracted to the smell of yeast. Take some yeast in a bowl and add a little sugar to it. Then, add water to make a solution. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and poke some holes in its surface.
The gnats will get lured towards the mixture and pass through the holes to get inside the bowl and feast on the yeast solution. They will not be able to come out back again.
8. Rubbing Alcohol
Spray a solution made of rubbing alcohol and water in the areas infested with gnats. It repels them in an effective way. Make sure you do not spray directly on the plants without testing the alcohol on some leaves first.
Citronella oil works well in eradicating gnats from your home. Add a few drops of citronella oil in water and put some liquid soap in it. Mix well and spray it at all the corners, near the drains and around house plants.
10. Banana Peels
Put some banana peel in a mason jar and cover it with a plastic wrap or its own lid. Make tiny holes in the cover large enough to let the gnat pass easily.
Gnats will get lured to the banana smell and would pass through the tiny holes to reach the banana peel. However, they won’t be able to come out. This banana peel bait, thus, traps the gnats inside the jar.
You could also use, literally, any rotten fruit to set up this trap if banana peels are not available.
Cinnamon controls insects and pests in an excellent way. You can ward off gnats with it by sprinkling cinnamon powder near the infested areas and around the plants.
Cinnamon’s fungicidal property will kill the fungus, on the rotten fruit or food, which is the main food for the fungus gnat’s larvae and prevent infestation. This cinnamon remedy is very effective in gardens and plantations.
12. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is readily available and can help you get rid of gnats while keeping your home smelling fresh and floral. Dip some cotton balls in lavender oil and place it in the gnat’s high traffic areas. Growing a lavender plant is equally useful in preventing the entry of gnats in your house.
13. Homemade Gnat Spray
Gnats are repelled by the smell of lemon. If you have a lemon scented liquid wash, mix it with water and spray all around your home to get rid of them.
14. Diatomaceous Earth
Fungal gnats that thrive on moist soil can be controlled with this remedy. Just put the white non-toxic powder in the soil to kill the maggots/larvae. Also, avoid saturating the soil with water if there is a gnat infestation. Keeping the soil dry will not allow them to lay eggs.
Flypaper which is generally used to trap houseflies can also be used to trap a variety of insects including gnats.
Coat a strip of bright and hard paper with a paste made of half cup maple syrup, one teaspoon granulated sugar and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Hang these strips around your house, especially near the plants and windows to check their growth. You could also purchase a flypaper trap.
The strong pungent smell released by garlic is intolerable for many insects and pests including gnats. Soak a few cloves of garlic in mineral or paraffin oil for a day and use the strained oil mixed with a teaspoon of liquid wash to spray in the gnat infested areas.
You could use honey to make another version of an improvised sticky flypaper trap. Make a sticky trap by applying honey on yellow colored plastic strips. Hang or place these bait strips near potted plants or places where you notice gnats. They will get attracted to the honey and sit on it. The stickiness of honey will trap them and prevent their growth in your home.
18. Red Wine Trap
Put some leftover red wine in a bowl and a drop of liquid soap in it. The odor of wine will attract the gnats and as soon as the gnats attempt to rest on the wine, they get drowned due to the presence of the soap which reduces the surface tension of the wine. You can trap a large number of gnats with this remedy.
19. Olive Oil
Gnats thrive in the drains of kitchen sinks. To eradicate them, effectively, out of these hiding places, pour some olive oil into the sink and leave it for some time to ensure all the gnats are removed. You may also pour this oil in hard to reach drains where gnats like to thrive.
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