Fruit flies or gnats are common pests in homes and around gardens. These tiny insects are usually seen around fruits, vegetables, sink drains, and garbage disposal because they're drawn to moist environments. While gnats may not do that much actual damage, they can be a bother and indicate that you have a more serious problem like mold or other pests. After you figure out where the insects are coming from, you can learn how to remove gnats with non-toxic methods, pesticides, bug spray, and with house maintenance.
Identifying the Source
Before learning how to remove gnats around the house or apartment, you need to figure out where they're coming from and if they've settled down in your home. Gnats are usually found in damp environments, so if you've noticed any leaks or standing water, they may have been drawn to these areas. Here's how to identify where the gnats are coming from:
- Check common breeding grounds first: this may be fruit bowls, where you leave vegetables, the sink drain, or waste disposal.
- Look around for any standing water sources: if there is a leak or your sink is clogged, the standing water could've attracted the fruit flies. Use what you've learned in “How to Unclog a Sink” if this is the case.
- Keep an eye out for mold and other pests: if you see other pests around the house, they could indicate that a fruit fly infestation is just around the corner. Also, learn how to remove mold and mildew to get rid of these issues as soon as possible.
- Use fly paper: use fly paper or other traps in areas where gnats are most likely to show up. This way, if they do invade your home, you're ready.
How to Remove Gnats From Your Home
Just like how there are different ways to get rid of tiny, brown bugs in the kitchen, you can pick and choose how to deal with gnats around the house. We teach you how to remove gnats with apple cider vinegar, wine, essential oils, sticky tape, glue traps, a fan, pesticides, or bug spray to get rid of gnats.
DIY or Non-Toxic Methods
Apple Cider or Vinegar Trap:
- Fill a small dish or jar with wine or apple cider vinegar and add 1 drop of dish soap to create the trap.
- As the flies are drawn to the smell of apple cider vinegar or wine, they will down due to the surface tension of the soap.
- Place the jar or dish near house plants, entryways, drains, or garbage disposal.
- Inspect the dish or jar from time to time, cleaning and replacing the traps as needed.
This method is particularly useful if you have fungus gnats.
- Add a few drops of peppermint, lemon, lime, or eucalyptus oil in a basin of water or into a spray bottle.
- Place the basin of water and essential oils in the kitchen or bathroom where the gnats are an issue.
- If using a spray bottle, directly spray the fruit flies or spray areas in the house where they tend to show up.
- You can also spray surfaces to prevent gnats from infesting certain areas and keep your house smelling fresh.
Sticky Tape or Glue Traps:
- Purchase a yellow sticky trap, fly paper, or use yellow adhesive tape to catch and trap gnats. Since the color yellow is attractive to fruit flies, they will be drawn and then stuck.
- Place these traps near vegetation, houseplants, or other places around the house where you see them.
- Check on the traps regularly and replace them as needed.
- You can also DIY a glue trap with dish soap and corn syrup or honey to attract and drown gnats.
- To physically get rid of gnats in a certain area, use a fan to blow them away.
- Simply turn on your fan and point them in the direction of the fruit gnats.
- You can also protect fruits or vegetables by making sure that a fan is turned on and facing the produce while you are away.
While these methods are safe and easy to use, you may have to resort to chemical repellants if the infestation is a bit too much to handle before calling in a professional exterminator.
Every chemical method outlined below as you learn how to remove gnats should be used with caution to protect you, your children, and your pets. Your options include pyrethrin-based insecticides, insect growth regulators (IGRs), and bug sprays. No matter what product you choose, carefully read and follow the safety precautions that manufacturers outline.
Tips for Using Pesticides:
- Apply soil drenchers into the soil to eliminate fungus gnats and their larvae. You can directly spray these pesticides into the soil of houseplants or in your garden.
- You can also set up plastic barriers around the base of plants. These physical barriers can prevent soil-dwelling gnats from invading your plants and thriving there.
- It is also good practice to immediately get rid of infested soil or waste. This prevents gnats from spreading but should be done with caution.
Tips for Using Bug Sprays:
- Consult a specialist first. Before choosing any bug spray on the market, reach out to an expert so that you choose the right solution for your gnat infestation. Talk to a pest control specialist about what kind of gnats are around your home and where you found them/.
- Choose the right type of bug spray! There are trigger sprayers and hone-end sprayers for bug spray.
- Follow instructions. Each product has its own set of instructions. Adhere to the manufacturer's step-by-step instructions on the label.
- Be alert. Just because you're using a bug spray doesn't mean that it'll work. Keep track of the progress you're making and opt for another method if the gnat infestation seems unchanged or getting worse.
- Stay safe by wearing the right equipment. If needed, wear a PPE suit, gloves, goggles, and a face mask.
- Keep pets and children away from infested areas especially when you're going to use a chemical method.
- Dispose of the product according to your local laws or manufacturer's instructions.
These are our tips and tricks for using chemicals to control your fruit fly infestation. If you are unsure how to proceed with any of these methods or have not made any progress, call an expert exterminator to handle your insect infestation.
Gnat Infestation Prevention
Yes, you've learned how to remove gnats successfully but we also want you to know that it's possible to prevent a fruit fly infestation. You should keep the kitchen and house clean, properly store fruit and vegetables away in sealed containers, remove damp areas and standing water, as well as keeping doors and windows closed often:
Keep the House and Kitchen Clean
One of the best strategies to stop gnat infestations is to keep the house and kitchen clean. Food crumbs and spills attract fruit flies and other gnats, which means that you have to clean them up as soon as possible. This means regularly taking out the garbage, washing the dishes and cutlery, and wiping down kitchen counters and other surfaces.
Keep Fruits and Vegetables Stored in Sealed Containers
Fruits and vegetables, when ripe, attract fruit flies like there's no tomorrow. Putting fruits and vegetables away in airtight containers can protect them from gnats. Also, dispose of overripe and rotten produce as soon as possible and clean out the fridge and storage areas to prevent moisture from attracting gnats.
Eliminate Standing Water or Damp Areas
Another way to prevent gnats from infesting your home in the first place is by learning how to fix that smelly sink drain, leak, or clogged sink. Fruit flies reproduce and thrive in moist areas which are why they need standing water and damp areas to survive. You can also use a dehumidifier and a fan in areas where moisture usually accumulates to circulate air and discourage gnats from gathering and staying. You can refer to other recommendations and guidelines found on the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) website.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
We also strongly recommend keeping your windows and doors closed as often as possible. You can install door and window screens if you really want the cool, afternoon breeze. These can protect your home after you have learned how to remove gnats from the kitchen or bathroom!
Bottom Line: How to Remove Gnats
In all honesty, fruit flies can be really annoying in your house and around the garden but you can learn how to remove gnats from these places. As we outlined above, you can choose how to remove gnats and utilize DIY methods or chemical repellants before reaching out to a professional. Non-toxic methods include making traps out of soap and wine or apple cider vinegar, using an essential oils spray, using a fan, or placing sticky traps around the house. If these don't quite work out, use pesticides as long as you follow the instructions outlined on the product packaging. Of course, take the necessary steps to prevent a gnat infestation from happening in the first place which may include keeping your house clean, getting rid of standing water, storing fruits and vegetables away in airtight containers, and keeping your windows and doors closed.
FAQs on How to Remove Gnats
How can I find out what is causing gnats to fly around my house?
There are different reasons why you have a gnat infestation. This may include the fact that:
- You left the windows or doors open and they found their way inside.
- You have standing or still water in the sink or other places around the house.
- Your fruits and vegetables are ripe and out in the open.
- Other pests or mold have encouraged a fruit fly infestation.
Which non-toxic gnat-removal techniques are there?
If you're learning how to remove gnats without the use of toxic chemicals, you can use:
- Soap and wine or apple cider vinegar
- Sticky traps or tape
- A fan
- Essential oil sprays