If you’re struggling with How to get rid of Indoor Gnats, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Gnats, which can be the biting or non-biting variety, are tiny insects that fly in great numbers – and are a major nuisance for people and pets alike.
It’s a great idea to get rid of Gnats as quickly as possible and prevent them from multiplying in or around your home. When they’re outside, gnats can be a considerable annoyance.
However, when they find their way into your house, this tiny insect species can be trouble for humans or their pets and even kill common house plants.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Indoors: 3 Steps
- Identify which of the five common types of Gnats you have
- Remove water sources to clear their favorite breeding grounds
- Apply the proper insect treatment to get rid of Gnats
1) “Identify” Five Types of Gnats:
There are Five common types of Gnats, and when you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of gnats inside your house, it is beneficial to identify what kind of gnats you have indoors, so you can then determine how to get rid of them.
1) Midges (or “Midge Flies”)
Midge Fly Description:
The most common name given to gnats is the midge. Midges encompass the general population of tiny flies that inhabit the world and have an adult life cycle of 3-5 days. In their adult cycle, midges do not eat and therefore pose no “biting” risk to humans or pests. They have one goal – mate before you die.
Midges, often referred to as non-biting midges (and several other names), gather in huge swarms and, for homeowners, are often found swarming around standing water and outdoor porches and post lights.
Check out this short video on Midge Flies:
How To Get Rid Of Midge Flies:
As they pose no threat of biting and are not disease-carrying insects, midges are fairly harmless and greatly important to the ecological cycle.
If, however, you have an overabundance of midges on your property and they have become a nuisance, here are a few suggestions:
- Use CO2 traps to draw midges away from living areas, which will actually kill them.
- Fill in, or avoid having low drainage areas on your lawn, which create water pools or puddling.
- Keep exterior doors closed – Utilize Air Conditioning over open windows.
2) Drain Flies
Drain Fly Description:
Drain flies are common in tropical climates and commonly live in and around sink and bathroom drains. Drain flies feed on bacteria and can actually break up hair and sludge in sewer systems.
As drain flies are not biting gnats like others in our review, they can certainly become a nuisance inside the home. Drain flies are identified by a hairy “moth-like” appearance.
How To Get Rid of Drain Flies:
Home Remedy to Remove Drain Flies
- Mix 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda plus a cup of white vinegar. Pour into any drain you have drain flies. Allow it to work overnight, then flush the drain with hot or boiling water the next morning. This sanitizes the drain and kills the flies and their eggs.
- Use Chemical liquid to Kill Drain Flies – Try Green Gobbler Drain & Fruit Fly Killer, Available at Amazon.
3) Black Flies (or “Buffalo Gnats”)
The term Black Fly covers over 30 species of small (1/8″ long) flying gnats, all of which are similar in appearance. Black flies are sometimes referred to as “Buffalo flies” due to their humpback appearance.
Black Fly Description:
While black flies do not have a needlelike ability to feed, they utilize a slash-and-slurp feeding approach. As a result, black fly bites can be severe and lead to fever or possibly enlarged lymph nodes.
Fortunately, only a very few species attack humans. Animals, however, are their most likely target, including household pets.
Most prevalent in late spring and throughout the summer months, black gnats (flies) often congregate near wooded rivers and streams. Black gnats can usually be trapped or killed in much the same way as other gnat species.
How To Get Rid Of Black Flies (Buffalo Gnats)
- Avoid having standing or stagnant water near the living areas of your home.
- Use a systemic insecticide (non-absorbing by plants and vegetables) around your home’s entries, bushes, or plants. One of the best-rated treatments to kill black flies is Sevin Garden Tech, available at Amazon.
4) Sand Flies
Sandflies are tiny (1/16″ long) light-colored gnats that are known for their habit of biting animals and humans. Although they are more common in tropical regions, certain species of sandflies are known to range into the United States.
Sand Fly Description:
At only 1/16″ in length, sand flies are very stealthy and barely noticeable. That is, until they bite you. Very light in color with a brownish body, sand flies, like mosquitoes, use a needle-like approach to sucking blood.
How to Remove Sand Flies:
Sometimes referred to as “horseflies,” sand flies are very tiny – and are commonly called “no-see-ems.”
- Avoid standing water near living areas around the home. They need water to survive.
- Install screens with tighter mesh – sold for “no-see-em” protection
- Seal any window or door cracks with caulk.
- Use systemic insecticides such as Sevin Garden Tech around foliage near entries or outdoor living areas.
5) Fungus Gnats
The final type of gnat most commonly found in the United States is the fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are a common indoor fly that reproduces in moldy, moist leafy matter or in soil. And as a result, fungus gnats are easily transported into the home, along with their host – the indoor houseplant.
Fungus Gnat Description:
While more of a nuisance than the biting midges are for humans or pets, fungus gnats feed during the larvae stage on the roots of plants. Aggressive and untreated, a large number of fungus gnats will affect the growth of your plants and can eventually kill common houseplants.
How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats:
- Allow the top 1 – 2″ of houseplant soil to dry out completely.
- Use Bio-Care stix for indoors available at Amazon.
- For outdoor use in and around your garden, we recommend Sevin systematic gallon concentrate, which is safe for use around plants and vegetables.
How to Get Rid of Gnats: Practical Tips
Step 1: Eliminate Potential Reproduction Sites
The first step in getting rid of gnats is to deny them the opportunity to reproduce. Like most flies, gnats have very short lifespans. If they are not allowed to lay eggs, the gnats that are already in your house will die relatively quickly without being replaced by a new generation.
Many species of gnats can lay their eggs in fruit or vegetable matter left in your trash cans, which is why it’s important to keep trash covered and get it out quickly if you have a gnat infestation.
Fungus gnats can also lay their eggs on or next to houseplants that have developed mold, so it’s a good idea to check all of your indoor plants for signs of fungus.
Step 2: Eliminate Water Sources
Gnats require fresh water to survive. To reach their typical lifespan of 3-5 days, gnats must be close to a freshwater source. If you can clean and eliminate standing water from your property, such as stagnant or low areas of your lawn where pooling occurs, gnats will move onto someplace else.
Step 3: Eliminate Gnats From Each Room
Remove Gnats from the Dining Room and Kitchen
Just as getting rid of ants in the home can be a major issue, gnats and flies also tend to congregate wherever food gets left out. For this reason, kitchens and dining rooms are among the most common places you’ll find them.
Once you have eliminated breeding areas, your job is to kill the adult gnats that are already in your home, and the kitchen is usually the best place to start.
One of the best ways to make a gnat trap is to pour a bit of red wine into the bottom of a narrow container, such as a water bottle, and leave it open for gnats to find. Because wine contains fruit sugars, gnats will be attracted to it, become trapped in the container, and eventually drown in the wine.
For an even more significant effect, you can use a bit of liquid hand soap or dishwashing liquid to coat the sides of the container and make it impossible for the trapped gnats to land.
Remove Gnats from Living Room
As with the dining room, a homemade gnat trap, such as the Katchy from Amazon, helps you trap any gnats that may find their way into your living room. This electronic device is safe and will kill the gnats without exposing you or your family to harsh chemical pesticides.
Remove Gnats from the Bathroom
If you see gnats in your bathroom, it’s more likely than not that they are drain flies. Unlike other species, drain flies lay their eggs inside drains, meaning you’ll need to flush your drain pipes to get rid of them.
A diluted solution of bleach will kill the eggs and larvae, as will a pot of boiling water. Be sure to clean both your sink and shower drains, as there’s a good chance you’ll have gnats living in both.
Remove Gnats from Pantry
Last but certainly not least on the list of common gnat hot spots in the home is the pantry. If you have a pantry where food is left open, gnats can quickly get in and feed on it.
A red wine gnat trap, as described above, will help to get rid of gnats, but It’s also a good idea to tightly seal all food and throw away any opened containers that may have been exposed to gnats or their eggs (Yes, gross!)
Best Home Remedies To Kill Gnats
If you prefer to use a less toxic approach to repel insects, here are a few home remedies to get rid of gnats:
- Create a trap by mixing apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap.
- Pour leftover red wine into a jar.
- Mash bananas in a jar and cover the top with plastic wrap.
- For drain flies, pour bleach solution into the bathroom sink, tub, or drain they appear at.
Best Insecticides To Kill Gnats
If you eliminate likely breeding areas and go through your house to get rid of adult gnats, you’ll likely stop seeing them within a short period.
With that said, some infestations may be severe enough to require a more aggressive approach. If this is the case in your home, the best method for getting rid of gnats is to use a chemical insect fogger.
Foggers can clear your home of gnats and other pests, but they are also messy and should be handled with care and have your house completely cleared of people for the duration recommended. Generally, it’s best to try less aggressive methods first and only use a fogger if you feel it’s necessary.
For a less intrusive chemical approach, you may consider using the yellow sticky traps from Gideal – also available at Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Gnats
What Are Gnats?
Before you start thinking about how to get rid of gnats in your house, let’s start with a bit of background on what they are. Gnats are incredibly small insects (1/8″ long +/-) that generally show up as one of five species.
The five (5) flies most commonly referred to as “Gnats” include; sandflies, midges, drain flies, fungus gnats, and black flies.
While fruit flies are sometimes mistakenly called gnats, they are actually from a different branch of the fly family than the species listed above – and are not considered actual gnats.
Are Gnats and Fruit Flies the Same Thing?
No, they are not the same thing. While fruit flies may sometimes be mistaken for gnats, they are from different parts of the fly family.
If you need to know how to kill fruit flies, here is a way to kill fruit flies quickly.
- Remove any ripe fruit from the house which has attracted fruit flies indoors.
- Use a drinking glass or jar, and pour 2-3” of Apple Cider Vinegar into the glass, which will attract fruit flies. Then, add 2-3 drops of dish soap to the vinegar. The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue – to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar – where they eventually drown.
- Wrap the top of the glass with clear plastic wrap, and place a rubber band around it. Poke several small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick to allow fruit flies to access the vinegar solution.
- The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue – to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar – where they eventually drown.
- When the fruit fly problem is gone, simply dispose of the contents of the jar.
Where Do Gnats Come From?
As with all flies, gnat infestations begin when a single gnat enters your home and lays eggs. Once those eggs hatch, a large number of gnats can appear in your home very quickly.
How Do You Get Rid of Gnats Outside?
Now that we’ve covered how to get rid of indoor gnats, it may also be helpful to briefly touch on how to get rid of gnats in yard spaces.
To kill outdoor gnats, you can use a lawn spray containing a safe insecticide. While outdoor gnats are usually only a small annoyance, severe infestations of them can be bad enough to warrant spraying for them.
While not as abundant or annoying as Ant problems – Hopefully, you now know to identify, and get rid of gnats, Knowing what types of gnats to look for and what areas of your home they are the most likely to be found, will allow you to get rid of these tiny flying pests.
Whether your gnat infestation involves only a few of them flying around your living room or a significant population in your kitchen, the tips and tricks above should equip you to evict them from your house once and for all.
References and Additional Resources: