Bugs Bugging You? Here's How to Get Rid of Gnats Sustainably
Gnats may be small, but they can be a huge nuisance. Here's what you need to know about how to get rid of gnats sustainably.
So you've got a gnat problem. Gnats can seem to appear from nowhere, multiplying from one or two tiny insects to a swarm of irritating and unpleasant intruders in your home or garden.
One forgotten, overripe banana or a tad too much water in your plants, and suddenly, it's like you're hosting a pest party. As gardener Dominique Charles of Plots & Pans succinctly puts it: "I hate gnats!" But worry not—if you're wondering how to get rid of gnats, there are a handful of simple and sustainable solutions to your insect issue.
Although gnats aren't initially harmful to people or plants, when their population grows too large they can begin to feed on roots and cause notable, long-term damage. As such, if you don’t tackle your gnat problem straight away, you could have to bring in a professional pest control company, which can be expensive.
If you’ve spotted a gnat (or two, or three, or thirty) in your home, there are many ways you can get rid of them, all keeping the planet in mind.
What Are Gnats?
Gnats are a type of diminutive, non-biting fly—but not all small flies are gnats. The three most common types of gnats are drain flies, fruit flies, and fungus gnats. Here’s how you can identify these insect intruders.
Drain flies are fuzzy and have moth-like wings. They can usually be found in your kitchen or bathroom, as they enjoy the moisture provided by drains (hence the name) and sinks in general.
Fruit flies are a fairly common iteration of gnat. Small and brown with red eyes and a rounder body, they can be found in the kitchen or garden flying around the garbage, fruit basket, or compost pile.
Fungus gnats are black with long legs and can be found hovering around your beloved houseplants. Adults can even emerge from your plants, with larvae reaching maturity within the damp soil.
How Do You Prevent Gnats?
There are a few easy steps you can take to prevent gnats in the first place. "I tend to get rid of them by letting plants dry out and not overwatering them since the gnats thrive in moist environments," says Charles. She also relies on the natural pesticide abilities of diatomaceous earth, which causes abrasions and desiccation.
Begin by tending to any damp areas in your some, particularly in the kitchen or bathroom. Avoid leaving damp towels out, clean up any leaks, and generally ensure that surfaces are dry.
The cleaner your home, the less likely you are to have gnats. Invest in a garbage can with a lid that shuts securely and take your trash out regularly. Clean your dishes as soon as you’re finished eating your meal, keep your houseplant soil fresh, and upcycle food scraps or put them in your airtight compost bin rather than the trash.
If the gnats do come, here are four ways to handle the problem sustainably.
4 Ways to Get Rid of Gnats Sustainably
1. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
DIY your own gnat trap with apple cider vinegar and a beeswax wrap. Pour some ACV into a glass and cover it with the wrap, securing it with a rubber band and poking a few small holes. Gnats will fly in and become trapped in the glass.
2. Make a Trap With Old Fruit
Place a small amount of vinegar and a chunk of old fruit into a jar. Roll paper into a cone and stick it into the jar, narrow opening down. Gnats love the smell of rotting fruit and will fly to the mixture, but the paper will keep them from getting out.
3. Put Out a Glass of Wine
Gnats love the fermented scent of wine and beer. Upcycle yours by pouring it into a glass, topping it with beeswax wrap, and poking holes to create a gnat trap.
Alternatively, you can leave out an open wine or beer bottle—the gnats won’t be able to escape via the skinny neck.
4. Combine Vinegar and Dish Soap
Add three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar and leave it out in problem areas around your home. The vinegar attracts gnats, and the dish soap helps cut the surface tension of the vinegar, causing them to sink down.
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