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Though harmless, gnats are a common household nuisance that swarm around overripe food and actively reproduce in moist spaces, like your bathroom or kitchen sink. Simple household remedies will eliminate your gnat problem, but you may need to hire an exterminator for larger infestations. Here’s how to identify a gnat problem, how to get rid of gnats quickly, and the steps you can take to prevent future gnat infestations.
Gnats are tiny flying insects that have six long legs and one set of wings. The gnat species encompasses a variety of small flies, including fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats.
While some gnat species like fungus gnats prefer houseplant soil, others like fruit flies will seek out decomposing food on counters or in the trash. You can also find gnats in moist environments like kitchen sinks and bathrooms.
If you have children or pets, natural homemade remedies may be your best defense at getting rid of gnats. Try the following chemical-free methods:
When using chemical solutions, always take safety precautions—like protecting your eyes with goggles and keeping chemicals away from small children and pets. Here are a few chemical methods for eradicating gnats from your home.
Drain flies thrive in dark, damp conditions like kitchen or bathroom drains. Not only will they manifest in these areas, but they’ll also lay their eggs in the sludge that accumulates in a drain. To get rid of these flies, dilute a cup of bleach with water before pouring it down the drain.
As an alternative to bleach, pour a couple tablespoons of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for several hours before running any water.
If you’re dealing with a larger infestation, consider using an insect fogger to eliminate the pesky bugs. To prepare for fogging, close doors and windows, turn off your HVAC unit, disarm your smoke detector, open cabinets, and cover or remove exposed food. Use only one fogger per room.
Consider using the Hot Shot Fogger—it kills gnats on contact, leaves minimal messes, and neutralizes odors. Leave your house while the fogger is working—usually it takes up to three hours— and make sure to take your pets and children with you.
At the end of the day, some pest infestations call for professional help, so don’t lose hope if you’re still having problems with gnats in your home. Another option to consider for a large gnat infestation is to hire a professional exterminator. A pest control specialist will assess the problem and recommend possible treatment options to eradicate the gnats.
To avoid dealing with gnats in the future, ensure your home is protected against these pests.
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Kealia is a staff writer and social media coordinator for House Method. She writes for a variety of beats, including home inspiration (her favorite), real estate, and home wellness.