How to get rid of gnats – 5 easy tricks you can try now

Clouds of gnats plaguing you? Tackle the nuisance with our advice

how to get rid of fruit flies
(Image credit: Getty/Drbouz)

Gnats can be really annoying. These tiny flying insects can bite, too, which is even more irritating both literally and figuratively. They frequently fly in large numbers, particularly at dusk, which can make taking advantage of the last of the daylight in the garden a miserable experience rather than pleasant one it should be.

Actually, the word gnat covers many species, and some experts consider that only the ones that don’t bite should be included in the category. We, though, are going to be inclusive, and tell you how to get rid of both biters and non-biters because they’re a nuisance either way. 

If you need expert advice on dealing with other species you might find bothersome, destructive, or even a hazard to your health at home, our guide to how to get rid of pests has all information you need on evicting the invaders. 

Want to say goodbye to gnats? Read on for five tips to sort out these troublesome beasties.

1. Stop them multiplying

One of the best ways of reducing the number of gnats in your garden is to tackle the areas where they’ll reproduce. That means eliminating moisture as far as possible. Look for sources of standing water in your garden: buckets, pots and even wheelbarrows could hold water as could gutters, so sort these out first. Owner of a water butt? Get it a well-fitting lid. 

Decaying organic matter is also a no-no if you want a more gnat-free life. Make sure your rubbish is in well sealed bins as far from the house as possible.

2. Turn out the lights 

Gnats are attracted to lights so switch off what you don’t need outside. Leaving the light on outside the front door, for example, will bring some species of gnats to your home, and it’s not them you want to welcome, after all.

You might also want to check whether any vents or other opening are allowing them indoors.

3. Tackle fruit flies

Gnats can be a nuisance inside your home as well as outside. In fact, the fruit flies you might have seen hanging around the overripe bananas in your bowl count as gnats, too. They don’t just like your fruit, either. Any decomposing food will attract them. 

To cut down their numbers, don’t let fruit overripen. Instead, get it eaten or get making banana bread and other fruity treats. Make sure you clean up crumbs, too, and drill the family to tidy up their scatterings. 

After that, it’s worth getting yourself a fruit fly trap. There are plastic versions or those with sticky paper on offer.

Find out how to get rid of fruit flies in our guide.

4. Make your own trap

We’re sorry to say it, but drowning them is another alternative to rid yourself of gnats in the form of fruit flies. You’ll need a wide saucer and either some apple cider vinegar, beer or wine (yeah, we’re not sure about using up wine that way either). Anyway, whichever liquid you choose. Add a few drops of washing-up liquid and you have a home-made trap.

5. Check out your houseplants

Yes, those tiny flies that come from your houseplants are also gnats (we told you there were lots of species). To give them their full name, these ones are fungus gnats. They probably won’t damage your plants, but who wants them round the house?

To get rid of fungus gnats, first make sure you’re not over watering. Let the compost dry out before you water again because the larvae of the fungus gnat like damp compost. Make sure you’re watering less over winter, too.

A sticky trap will attract them and eliminate them – along with the fruit flies – so add this to your anti-gnat armoury.

It’s also worth covering the surface of the compost in which your houseplants are growing with a layer of mulch. It’ll need to be of a suitable size for indoor use, but grit, gravel, or glass pebbles could all do the job.

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