How To Get Rid of Gnats (Complete Guide)

Gnat-urally, you want to get rid of gnats because they are irritating. But, how do you get rid of gnats? 

There are a few ways you can eliminate gnats before they cause you any more annoyance, including some home remedies and products backed by science and research.

But first, what is a gnat?

how to get rid of gnats

What Is A Gnat?

The term "gnat" actually refers to a collection of different pests that includes biting gnats, midges, and black flies.

These bugs share some similar characteristics, including the ability to fly and tiny size.

Gnats are extremely weak fliers and will not leave the vicinity of their homes or eggs. This makes it easy for homeowners to identify their feeding grounds and where they are reproducing.

Gnats have short lifespans, and some only live long enough to mate, reproduce, and then die. In these cases, people might have to deal with entire swarms of gnats during the mating season!

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What Do Gnats Look Like?

It's difficult for humans to identify gnats because they are so small that the average person would need a microscope to see their features. Most gnats are dark in color, usually black, and have delicate wings and slim bodies. They are usually less than 1/16 of an inch in size and lay sticky, white-yellow eggs around plants and food sources, including water where algae might grow.

Do Gnats Bite?

Many individuals want to eliminate gnats in case they harm humans or cause disease. Luckily for people, gnats are one of the least threatening pests in the U.S.

Biting gnats do exist, but they cause little damage.

These biting gnats are called black flies and can be found in certain regions of the United States, including the Midwest.

I've been bitten hundreds of times by black flies on the beaches of Lake Superior - they don't transmit disease, but they are painful!

Black flies are a type of gnat that you will want to take care of before they get to you and your loved ones. Some varieties even feed on the blood of humans. Think of them as a less menacing version of mosquitoes which can still leave nasty bites.

What Kills Gnats?

Gnats are one of the easiest pests to get rid of, but might require a variety of treatments.

Because gnats live in such large populations, it can be hard to find all of the pests before they reproduce and create a bigger problem.

Gnats can also live indoors and outdoors and have no problem finding their way inside. Remember to keep yours doors and windows seal or be sure to have a screen over all openings.

A combination of some of the methods below can help you eliminate gnats before they terrorize you.

Pesticides

Pesticides are a standard way to get rid of gnats.

Manufacturers develop gnat pesticides using pyrethroids or pyrethrins, which shut down the nervous systems of pests and kill quickly. Most pesticides can be sprayed outdoors, and some gnat traps or "sticks" are coated in the chemicals.

Pesticides do come with some negative side effects. Pyrethroids and pyrethrins degrade at different speeds and might leave behind residue which is toxic to humans and animals.

You should be sure to keep them away from children and pets and should not inhale the particles or fumes. 

Despite these setbacks, pesticides are one of the most effective ways to eliminate a gnat population.

Electricity

Scientists have not created a handheld home device which shoots electricity, but you can invest in a bug zapper.

Bug zappers generate electricity to shock gnats and other flying pests which come into contact with its grid. Gnats and other bugs are attracted to its fluorescent light and will wander too close.

Some zappers are child and pet friendly and can be hung indoors or outdoors to suit your needs.

Others need to be kept away from humans and animals but can be turned off for cleaning.

The main drawback from bug zappers is that they are more expensive than other methods, but they are also reusable and tend to be more environmentally friendly than pesticides. 

Sticky Sheets

Sticky sheets are exactly what they sound like. Many of them look like yellow paper and can be bought from a general or hardware store.

Here's an interesting video on how to make a sticky trap... check it out!

One or both sides of the sheet is coated in glue. Gnats are attracted to their smell and will accidentally touch the trap, becoming stuck. The gnat will eventually starve to death.

Sticky traps can be placed anywhere, including near indoor plans or from ceilings in a similar manner to fly paper.

They are cheap and disposable, but this means they need to be replaced frequently.

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Natural Ways To Get Rid of Gnats

It's possible to lower a gnat population using natural methods, but they don't tend to work. Instead, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to limit your chances of developing a gnat infestation.

  1. Take away their food source. Many gnats are attracted to microscopic fungus which grows on fruit and in potting soil. Wash your groceries and regularly treat your plants to make them less attractive.
  2. Make sure that your open windows have screens over them to stop pests from entering.
  3. If you have gnats living in your home's drains, pour rubbing alcohol down the drain to kill the population.

Watch this simple do-it-yourself-video for one way to get rid of gnats in your home:

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

Gnats don't have to be a problem.

If you constantly find them in your house, you should make sure that all of the entrances are properly sealed and that your groceries and plants are clean and free of fungus.

When outside, be sure to use a repellent or pesticide to curb the population.

Irritation with pests is gnat-ural. If you continue to have problems after trying different methods, then it's time to call a professional pest control company for assistance.

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