How to Get Rid of Gnats
As you walked through the kitchen that morning, you noticed that the peaches you put in the fruit bowl are getting over ripe and you make a mental note to throw them away when you get home from work. But, life gets in the way and you get home late. Tired and hungry, you grab a quick bite and go to bed, never giving those ever ripening peaches a second thought. The next morning while gulping you coffee as you leave for work, you glance at the now slightly squishy peaches and with resolve, promise yourself to throw those out when you get home from work.
Those pungent little fruits are on your mind all day as you consider the rate of decomposition based on what you saw this morning. You factor in the house thermostat that is programmed to allow the house temperature to rise while you are gone. Then there is the kitchen window, which will provide the fruit bowl with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. You arrive home at the end of the day and head straight for the kitchen and there lies the bowl, with 3 tumor-ridden peaches. Buzzing around this compost ready fruit is a squadron of gnats. You swat at the bugs and grab the bowl, toss the fruit into the trash and remind yourself not to let the fruit get that bad next time.
That was a week ago and the fruit is long gone, but the gnats are not. If anything, there seem to be more of them. You have sprayed the ones you see, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting rid of them. You need to get rid of the gnats once and for all.
An infestation can occur rather quickly. This is due to the gnat’s life cycle. A gnat may only live for three to four months. But in that time, a female gnat may lay 300 or more eggs. Eggs will become adult gnats in as little as two weeks. So, even a small group of gnats can turn into a menacing swarm in a fairly quick manner.
Part of getting rid of gnats involves understanding why you have them in the first place. Gnats like to hang out where there is a readily available food supply and a place to lay eggs. For gnats, this means over-ripe or rotting fruit and vegetables, compost piles and even house plants that have been over watered. Typical places in a home to see gnats are around kitchen and bathroom sinks, garbage cans, pet dishes and places like fruit bowls where produce is stored in the open.
The first thing to do in getting rid of the gnats is to remove the food sources. This means cover or refrigerate produce. A clean trash can and counters are also a must. Don’t allow dishes to remain in the sink. Ensure plants have not been over watered. If they have, quarantine them and allow 2 weeks for them to dry and loose the accompanying gnats.
Next, remove any places that the gnats would lay eggs in. This again means openly stored and rotting or over-ripened fruits and vegetables, compost bins and over watered houseplants. Also standing water is a good place for gnats to lay eggs. So any place in or directly around your house that has standing water should be tended to. Especially since standing water can be a home to mosquitoes as well.
Once you have eliminated their food source and removed any places for them to lay eggs, it is a simple task now to get rid of the rest of the gnats. If the infestation is minimal, bait traps can eliminate your gnat population fairly quickly. Gnats tend to be attracted to the scent of vinegar and will be drawn to anything that smells of it. One type of bait trap involves filling a jar up ¾ of the way with apple cider vinegar, placing a lid on top and poking several small holes in it. Then place the jar where gnats have congregated. The idea is that the gnats will be attracted by the scent of the vinegar, climb into the jar and not be able to get back out, eventually falling into and drowning in the vinegar.
A quicker method is to place a jar of vinegar on a counter or shelf and suspend a fly strip right above it. In minutes you will have taken out hundreds of gnats. Gnats tend to hang around sinks too. To keep them away, smear a little oil around the edge of the drain. You can also use ammonia poured down the drain to keep gnats away.
If the infestation is really bad, you may be forced to fumigate or “fog” your house. This method is more intrusive and requires a lot of prep time. It also means removing any pets from the house and leaving home yourself for at least a couple of hours.
Gnats are not any real danger to humans but they can be an irritating pain in the butt. However, they can be easily prevented by simple means. So, next time, don’t wait until tomorrow to throw out the peaches.