If you have gnats inside your house, they’re probably driving you crazy.
Each time you walk by that plant, you get some buzzing out of it.
Or maybe when you wanna grab a bite of your favorite fruit, gnats are swarming it (and your face).
Gnats just don’t care. They go about their business- taking over your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and possibly your ceiling and walls?
These bugs will breed by the hundreds. It just takes a single pregnant female to lay over 1,000 eggs to swarm your house.
Gnats are annoying, but they’re pretty easy to get rid of. With some patience, persistence, and effort.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the following:
- Why your home has so many gnats
- Where they’re coming from
- What they’re eating
- How to get rid of them naturally
- How to keep them away
- How to control gnats in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.
- And more
You should have a good foundation of knowledge by the time you make it through this guide.
I suggest bookmarking this page, so you can easily refer to it later to save yourself time (who likes to find that page again?). It’s quite a read.
If you have any specific questions about your gnat infestation, please feel free to post a comment at the end of this page. I’ll try to get back to them ASAP, as usual.
Let’s send those gnats back to where they came from- the garbage!
(Get it? OK, I’ll stop.)
What’s a gnat?
Gants are a part of the Nematocera genus and are related to mosquitoes, flies, and buffalo flies.
While that’s not important, it’s good to know that “gnats” is a general word that encompasses all of the bugs you get annoyed over.
They’re those tiny little flies that fly slowly. They get in your face. Like they’re trying to annoy you until you smack them.
Gnats are seasonal pests that show up when the weather is warm and humid.
They’re attracted to soil, food waste, vegetation, trash, light, and moisture.
Depending on the species, gnats will come into your house looking for food, shelter, or cooler conditions. They lay eggs on plants or food waste to propagate their species.
They can become quite the nuisance and show up in huge numbers overnight.
When they’re outside, they’re just an annoying fly. But when they show up in your bedroom, kitchen, or on your ceilings, then you’ve got a real nuisance.
If you’ve ever left out food during the summertime, you’ve seen gnats.
Gnats may be called a variety of other aliases because they’re so easy to mistake for another flying bug.
Some of the most common nicknames are the following:
- Flying spiders
- Black fly
- Biting midge
- No see um
- Fungus gnat
- Dark winged gnat
- “Nat” (misspelled)
What do they look like?
Gnats can be hard to identify because there are so many different types.
But the common one you’ll see in your home has the typical phenotypes/traits:
- 0.25 inches long
- Yellow, brown, black, orange, or tan in coloration
- Noticeable legs that are much larger than the body
- Poor flyers that can be carried away by a breeze
- Often appear in swarms
- Often mistaken for miniature mosquitos
- Common at dusk
They often look like miniature mosquitoes or crane flies. Sometimes they’re mistaken for flies or flying spiders.
People often get gnats confused with drain flies or fruit flies.
Here’s how to tell the difference between your gnats.
Fruit flies are the flying insects that are commonly seen eating your ripe or overripe fruits, vegetables, or garbage waste.
Drain flies are exactly what they should like- they’re gnats that hang around drains.
This provides the sludge they need to eat and breed within.
And yes, they come out of the drain. They like sewers, septic systems, sinks, showers, gutters, spouts, and drains.
They love still water and deposit their eggs inside it, just like mosquitoes to some extent (remember they’re both considered gnats).
Drain flies are slower, fuzzier, and similar in appearance to a tiny moth.
While they can be a nuisance, drain flies are easy to get rid of with some patience.
Lastly, we have probably the most annoying of all the fungus gnats.
They’re found on plants, feeding on the microorganisms in the soil, foliage, or flowers.
They’re extremely annoying and will infest any plants you have inside your house if there’s food available.
They also can be smuggled in unknowingly when you buy new plants.
They’re dark and will hover about when you approach your indoor plants. Fungus gnats may also infest dog food.
Types of common household gnats
While you may think gnats are just…gnats, they’re not.
The word “gnats” is a large family of different species all encompassed under one name.
Did you know that mosquitoes are considered a gnat?
Or how about drain flies? Or midges? Yup- all gnats.
But the gnat you’re probably referring to is that harmless one that shows up in huge numbers on your rotting fruit or last night’s dinner.
That one is known as a fungus gnat or houseplant gnat.
But here’s a list of common gnats you may encounter in your house:
- Drain flies
- Buffalo gnats
- Unique headed bug
- Sand gnats
- Fungus gnats
- Houseplant gnats
- Eye gnats
- Gall gnats
- Hessian flies
There are even more identified gnat species out there.
While it’s not going to solve your problem directly by knowing the gnat species, at least it’ll help you identify what pest you’re dealing with. This may make your online searching a bit more accurate rather than just using “gnat” as a pest type!
The one you’re likely dealing with is the houseplant gnat or the fungus gnat. If you don’t have houseplants, it doesn’t mean you don’t have them. They eat anything and everything from veggies to fruits to cat litter!
That’s what we’ll cover in this guide so you can get rid of them for good!
Gnat life cycle
Gnats breed by swarming at dusk. The females enter the male swarm and mating occurs.
The females then seek out water or plants to deposit eggs. Several days later, the larvae drop out and start to build small tunnels made of debris.
Larvae gnats look like worms that eat the waste food, trash, or plants you have lying on your property. They may be mistaken for maggots from houseflies. It’s easy to get confused.
The larvae continue feeding and then pupate for a few days after a month or so of eating. This is determined by temperature, food competition, predators, shelter, and the local environment.
The pupa comes to the water surface and then erupts as an adult gnat.
The winged gnat will mate again. Females can lay up to 1,000 eggs. Note that biting vs. non-biting gnats have different environments that they’re breeding in.
When are they active?
Gnats are most active during the summertime when temperatures pick up.
They’re generally seen in the household around May to June, sometimes a month before or a month after.
This is when you’ll see them in huge numbers appearing out of nowhere. In very warm regions, they may not be seen outside. They seek shelter to keep them from frying in the sun, so they come into the house.
But then again, it also depends on the environment. If it’s wet and humid outside during the winter, they’ll favor the outdoors. If it’s hot, they’ll want to come inside your property.
Gnats do NOT only come out at night. They come out during the daytime too. That’s why you can see them swarming your houseplants, fruits, and veggies
They’re most active during the morning hours and dusk. They usually go into hiding when the night comes. Gnats are most active when temperatures are warmer and will disappear when temps drop below 60F.
This is why you rarely see them in the wintertime.
When do gnats go away on their own?
Gnat generally will leave on their own in the winter when temperatures drop to the 60s or so.
If it’s hot outside, they’ll find their way in. if it’s cold, they’ll probably stay outside unless your house is heated.
Either way, you can be happy about it because they’ll go away on their own if you can’t ever fully get rid of all the gnats.
What do they eat?
Gnats are crazy. They’re just like the cockroaches of the skies.
By that, I mean they eat anything and everything that’s lying around in your household.
Gnats love to feed on leftover food bits, dirty dishes, rotting fruits, rotting vegetables, your kitchen trash, the soil of houseplants, spoiled food, liquid spills, or even hiding in your dog/cat food!
Gnats will seemingly appear out of nowhere and swarm over whatever food you have left out. They eat waste products and pretty much anything that emits a strong scent.
This is why you can leave your dinner out for only a few hours only to come back to it with small hovering flies all over it! They’re quick to infest, but extremely poor flyers. This makes them easier to eliminate.
So that’s perfect for disgruntled homeowners who are at their wit’s end over the frustration of these nuisance pests.
Why do I have gnats in the house?
You probably know the answer by now.
Gnats are inside your house because they’re attracted to some kind of food. It’s usually some kind of waste product, like dirty dishes or rotting fruits.
They can smell the rotting meal using their olfactory sense, which is CRAZY more powerful than humans!
Since they can fly and they have a small size, it allows them to sneak into your home through windows, doors, and other cracks in your household.
Once you have one gnat buzzing around, you can expect more to follow. If one got in, why wouldn’t others do the same?
Once you have a small bunch of them all eating your food, they breed and deposit eggs, which gives way to hundreds of them.
Or if the first gnat that got in was a pregnant female, you can expect a few dozen more gnats to show up unexpectedly.
What causes gnats in the house?
Gnats come into the house because they seek food, shelter, or a stable temperature.
Depending on which type of gnat you have, this can change the type of gnat that comes in.
Gnats come in because either there’s food or the environment is favorable.
If you have good temperatures, humidity, or breeding sites in your house that are within their sweet spot, they’ll swarm inside.
Large temperature differences between the outdoors and inside your house can be the cause of them showing up out of nowhere. Pair that with some dirty dishes, leftover food, or some rotting fruits or veggies then you’ve got a gnat sanctuary.
Why do I have so many gnats in my house?
Gnats may appear out of nowhere overnight. When you have some rotting food (such as fruits stuck at the bottom of your kitchen garbage.
Did you know a swarm of gnats is called a ghost? This is when a bunch of mating gnats come together and mate, particularly around dusk.
It just takes a few gnats to start breeding and then end up with a swarm of them inside your home. The season also affects gnat activity, as they’re more active in the summertime.
Where do they lay eggs?
Gnats lay eggs in stagnant water. The mosquito is a good example.
Others will lay eggs directly into their food source, like drain flies. Or they may be in your soil, leaves, or even your garbage can.
Where do they hide?
Gants are found in damp, undisturbed places like sinks, showers, toilets, garbage bins, drains, tubs, dumpsters, and trash cans. They may also hide in your empty beer bottles, outside garbage bin, compost heap, or garden.
Some gnats will live in plants either outside your home or inside your house plants. Others may inhabit dry goods, like dog or cat food.
There are over a dozen gnat types, so it really depends on which one infested your house.
Sometimes, you may find them on the ceiling, walls, bedroom, or kitchen. These may be outcompeted gnats that are looking for a new environment to live in or they may have come from the outdoors because it’s cooler or warmer inside your property.
Are gnats dangerous? Do they bite?
It depends on which gnat you’re referring to. There are both biting and non-biting ones.
Non-biting gnats will feed on plant leaves, soil, stems, and other foliage on host plants. Others actively hunt for blood, such as eye gnats which love to eat the salt in your eyes.
If you’re talking about midges or mosquitoes?
If you’re referring to fungus gnats, drain flies, or fruit flies, then no.
Since they may be hard to identity, you should always assume they can bite just to protect yourself.
Gnats are equipped with skin piercing jaws that can make you really itchy with their gnat saliva.
What are they attracted to?
Gnats are generally attracted to food. Rotting food.
If you’re dealing with fungus gnats, they like soil. Drain flies like sludge. Fungus gnats like vegetation. It all depends on which gnat you have.
Generally, keeping clean and tidy will prevent them from coming in. The other reason is that your home may provide a suitable temperature or humidity for them to thrive. If there’s a large temperature difference or change of seasons, they may show up.
How to get rid of gnats inside your house naturally
So when you’re finally tired of the gnats, it’s time to get rid of them for good- or at least as much as you can.
This section includes some natural DIY home remedies to manage, control, and eliminate gnats without the use of dangerous compounds.
I suggest trying out multiple methods at once and finding out which one works for you.
Whatever works, scale it up.
Note that there’s no single technique to get rid of gnats. There’s no “best” DIY remedy. It all depends on your specific situation. So it’s suggested to try out as many different methods as you can to see what works for you most effectively for your pest problem.
Start with whatever household materials you have in your home. If they don’t work, go buy some basic cheap solutions (vinegar, red wine, etc.)
As always, if you have any questions, drop a comment at the end of this page and ask. I’ll see if I can help you out.
Using vinegar is a simple solution to boat gnats. They fly towards the vinegar and once they dip their toes into it, they can’t get out.
You’ll need to mix it with some dish soap for it to work. Add some sugar for extra bait. The trick is to use something sweet that’ll bring them in, then kill them with dish soap.
The soap works by sticking to their body and “catching” them because of the surface tension. This draws them.
Get some pure vinegar and add a tablespoon of dish soap per quart. This should be more than enough. You can add some sugar if you like as well.
Put all of this into a bowl and place the bowl near the gnats. They’ll fly into it and drown themselves over time. Gnats? No problem.
While vinegar is popular, not everyone has it lying around. There are plenty of other solutions to get rid of gnats without vinegar (apple cider, water, and soap, sugar water, wine, alcohol, etc.).
We’ll cover them all so you’re sure to have something in your house that you can use for the gnats.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Gnats will fly towards the sweet allure of apple cider vinegar. But little to do they know that it’ll be their poison apple!
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular home remedies for gnats.
It’s easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. It also smells nice and only has to be replaced when it’s full of dead gnats because it doesn’t “go bad” quickly.
You can pick up ACV at any food store. No need to get the fancy organic kind. Just generic brands will do.
What you’ll need:
- A cup or two of apple cider vinegar
- A shallow bowl
- A tablespoon of dish soap
- Spoon for stirring
- Tablespoon of sugar (optional)
How to make it:
- Pour the ACV into the bowl
- Pour the dish detergent into the same bowl
- Stir gently with a spoon
- Pour in some sugar if you want, some people like to make it extra sweet for the gnats
How to use it:
- Place the bowl of ACV/dish soap somewhere with high gnat activity
- Possible areas are the kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, or bedroom
- The gnats will be drawn to the sweet scent of the apple cider and fly into it
- Once they land in the solution, the dish soap makes it hard to fly back out
- The gnats will drown over time
- Replace it when it loses effectiveness or when there are lots of gnats inside it
- You can make multiple cider traps and place them strategically around your household near windows, doors, or other entryways that they’re using to get inside
This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get rid of gnats. It’s mainly natural other than dish soap. But compared to using synthetic sprays, it gives you peace of mind.
Saran wrap trap
This is a modification of the traditional vinegar or ACV trap. It works the same way but involves a piece of saran wrap (plastic food wrap) over the bowl.
Poke some holes in the wrap to let the gnats in, but they can’t find their way back out. It works especially well when you use it with a very strong-smelling bait like alcohol, sugar, or vinegar.
To build it, get a wide bowl and fill it up with your gnat killer of choice. You can use dish soap and water, rubbing alcohol, wine, or apple cider vinegar. Add some dish soap to the bait. The soap is what kills them.
The other part is just to draw them in. You can also add some sugar cubes to help make it even tastier for those pesky pests!
After you fill up the bowl, leave about an inch of clearance from the top of the bowl.
This will prevent the liquid from getting on the plastic wrap. If it gets on it, some may come out of the holes, which will melt the gnats drink up on the outside of the wrap and get a free meal.
Get your saran wrap and wrap the bowl’s lip tightly. Use a rubber band to hold it in place if you want. It should be taut, tight, and even. Don’t let it sag into the liquid or else it could ruin it.
Get a fork and gently poke holes. You don’t have to go crazy with it- just a few pokes are enough. The holes should be small enough for them to enter, but not huge so they can easily fly back out.
Place the trap wherever you see gnats and watch for effectiveness over the next few days. If you see that gnats aren’t stuck in the liquid, it may need more dish soap or they can’t get in. Poke more holes, possibly larger, or add some dish soap.
Replace the trap when it doesn’t work anymore and remake it.
Sugar water, baking soda, vinegar
The best gnat killer is the one that works for you.
This recipe mixes a few of the most popular ingredients into one powerful bait. Mix baking soda and vinegar in equal parts and let it fizz. When it’s done, add some sugar and water mixture.
That’ll be the bait. You should end up with a cloudy, sweet liquid. The proportions don’t matter too much, so don’t fret over it.
You’ll need to adjust them later on anyway to see what gets the gnats to come in. Put the container by the gnats and they’ll fly to it only to drown.
Dish soap is the ultimate DIY technique to kill gnats instantly. It makes for a good homemade gnat killer and you can make a huge batch with very little soap.
You can use it as a DIY spray to catch gnats flying in midair or if you see them on your kitchen counter, walls, ceiling, bedroom, or even your fruits. The soap catches them on the spot and suffocates them.
It’s also very easy to make:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap per quart of water
- Gently swirl into the suds form
- Pour into a spray bottle, label it
That’s it. Happy hunting.
The nice part about using dish soap is that the soap will disinfect any gnat splatter that should occur if you smack one on your wall. It makes cleanup simple.
Got beer bottles? Wine bottles? Use them as gnat traps.
Leave a little bit of alcohol in them and place them anywhere in your household with a lot of gnats. They’ll fly into the bottle to drink the alcohol, but are often too dumb to fly back out when you place a small piece of plastic wrap over the mouth.
Poke a hole so the scent leaves the bottle. This will bring them in. once they get in, they often can’t get out.
If you find that the gnats are still escaping, add a few drops of dish soap to it. Gnats love red wine and will fly towards it, so it can be used as bait.
If you have rotting fruits, you can put them next to a bowl of vinegar with dish soap to bait them in.
Simple, easy, straightforward. You can really go crazy with this and use whatever waste you’ve got lying around as a sneaky bait for the pests.
Using a candle to draw gnat towards them and into a ball of fire is pretty cool.
Get a tall candlestick and put it into a candle holder. Make sure it’s stable and won’t topple over.
Put the candle holder into a shallow bowl of water. Add water. Add a few drops of dish soap. Stir gently.
Light the candle and put the entire candle trap somewhere dark.
The gnats will fly to the candle at night and either burn in the fire or go into the water towards the candle’s reflection, which they’ll also get stuck in the dish soap.
Set up as many as you possibly can (safely) and put them in secure areas around your house where gnats are present.
Keep them out of reach of pets, kids, and other people so they don’t get accidentally knocked over.
Essential oils are awesome.
They’re cheap and they last a very long time if you dilute it correctly. You may even have a pack of them lying around that someone gave to you as a gift.
Essential oils are concentrated extracts from herbal plants. Use an organic or natural one that contains no additives other than plant oils. Dilute it with water and pour it into a spray bottle.
Lightly spray it where the gnats are present. The scent of the powerful oil will keep them away.
Note that essential oils have a very strong smell. Don’t use it where you’ll be hanging out all day because you’ll get sick of it.
Additionally, even though they’re natural, some people or pets may be sensitive to these oils, so do your research before you use them.
However, cats are extremely sensitive to neem. So that’s why you need to read all the warning labels, use them as directed, plus do your due diligence.
Depending on the essential oil you’re using, diluting it will require different dosages. You’ll have to find a recipe online. Some oils require more water, while others require less.
Some of the most effective essential oils for gnats to naturally repel them are:
If you find that the oils aren’t working, try increasing the oil concatenation by using less water or more oil. Play around the unit and you get it right. You’ll notice that the gnats suddenly disappeared.
You can make a spray or use cotton swabs to dip them into the oil.
Once they’re soaked up with it, you can put them around your house where you see gnat activity. These are little miniature natural gnat repellent stations.
Pretty cool, right?
Essential oils are one of the major scents that gnats hate and it keeps gnats away.
If you like the aromatic scent of herbs, they can be used as a natural way to repel gnats.
Get some strong-smelling plants and put them around your house, especially in areas where gnats come inside (windows or doors).
Other than having a nice edible herb, it doubles as an insect repellent.
Some good choices are:
Dryer sheets are speculated to be a repellent for gnats.
While it’s not a “natural” approach per se, it is something that you can try since dryer sheets are cheap and easily obtained. You may already have some lying around your place.
The trick is to either hang them or bunch them up and then stuff them into cracks where gnats hang around.
Dryer sheets contain a compound called linalool, which is often combined into perfumes, fresheners, and other materials that need a positive scent. It’s naturally found in herbs like basil, which gives it that powerful scent. Thankfully, gnats hate it.
If your dryer sheets are scented with it, or if you’re able to get an aromatic herbal plant, both should be excellent choices to repel gnats.
Put some dryer sheets near your food or wherever gnats suddenly appear with high activity to keep them away. The scent will repel gnats, based on various reports coming from people who’ve tried the technique.
Regardless, it’s worth a try for a quick DIY strategy.
Rubbing alcohol will kill gnats upon contact.
I’d suggest not using this unless it’s the only thing you have because dish soap is cheaper and you can make a lot more.
Once you dilute rubbing alcohol, it quickly loses its ability to wipe out gnats.
So basically, you’ll be using up the alcohol like crazy, unless you don’t mind.
If so, then you can spray it directly on gnats that are crawling around. It kills upon contact.
Don’t spray it when they’re flying around because you’ll get the alcohol into the air or accidentally spray something sensitive to alcohol (electronics, paint, etc.). Rubbing alcohol also acts as a cleaner to disinfect any gnats you may have smushed.
Dawn dish soap
You can use any dish soap, even the generic brands. Dawn is just popular for this kind of thing in the community.
Mix the dish soap in a vessel of water, then place it where the gnats fly. The gnats are baited towards the scent of the sweet dish soap and will land in it.
Once they get in, they drown from the surface tension of the soap. You can add some sweeteners like sugar to enhance the effectiveness of the gnat trap.
Seal up your trash
Be sure to protect your garbage!
Use bug-proof bags for your kitchen and outside garbage bin. These will help prevent gnats and other pests like flies and maggots from breeding.
Bags that come with a tie can help stop pest infestations on your property. Sure, they’re a bit more pricey.
But you need to weigh the extra few cents you pay per bag versus the time it takes to clean up a pest problem.
Which is more valuable to you? There are also scented bags or you can use bug repellents that you keep in the trash to keep bugs away.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that’s often found in two forms. There’s one made for cleaning pools and one used as a supplement. You want the edible one.
This is found online (see on Amazon) or in nutrition stores near you.
Get an organic one if possible and sprinkle some around areas of your home that gnats make contact with.
For instance, if you have cracks between your windows and the frame, you can toss some diatomaceous earth in there. Or put some sticky tape.
DE also can be used on your houseplants. Sprinkle some on the soil surface to prevent gnats from burrowing inside or laying eggs.
Diatomaceous earth kills gnats by dehydrating them. It’s also safe for use around people (since it’s edible), but you should still read all warnings first. Use as directed.
Diluted bleach in the drain
When you have gnats coming out of your drain or hovering around it, there’s likely some kind of sludge buildup.
If it’s your kitchen drain, food particles will eventually build up over time and form on the edges of the drain (out of sight). This gives way for gnats, drain flies, and other bugs that come out of drains to thrive.
There are a couple of ways to handle this, but a common solution is to use regular bleach and pour it down the drain.
This solution is NOT environmentally friendly, so I’d suggest going for other solutions when possible. There are some green drain cleaners out there that are biodegradable if that’s your concern.
Whatever you use, start with a simple drain cleaner of your choice and see if that clears the gnats. Use as directed.
Sometimes, a simple cleaning using a drain sponge will do the trick. You can get these for cheap and they’re made specifically to snake into the drain and wipe up the edges of it.
Paired with some baking soda and vinegar, you’ve got yourself an all-natural technique to clean the drain free of gnats!
In the future, always dispose of food into the trash as much as possible before washing the dishes.
This will help bring down the number of food particles clumping around the orifice, which in turn should help get rid of gnats buzzing around the drain or coming out of it.
If the gnats are bothering you and persist, you can use a commercial solution from the store.
Here are a few popular things you can buy to get rid of gnats. While I strongly recommend a natural home remedy, not everyone has the time for that.
So that’s where store-bought baits, traps, and gnat killer comes into play.
There are electronic bug zappers that are advertised to work against gnats. It’s the same technology that powers fly zapper (they’re the same thing). I’ve seen mixed results.
Sometimes, gnats just don’t fly towards that mesmerizing blue light.
Other times, they’ll fly into it like it’s their next meal. I think houseflies are more vulnerable to these kinds of electronic traps. But if you need a passive solution, they’re worth considering.
Especially if you constantly have gnats inside your house due to environmental conditions you have no control over (rural area, farmland, etc.).
Read some reviews and see what others have to say about how effective it is against those gnats. Get some that have a return policy so you can return it if it doesn’t work.
Overall, I still think DIY home remedies like gnat traps, baits, and repellents work best compared to commercial bug zappers. But to each their own.
Sticky tape is excellent for catching gnats passively. You don’t need to do anything after you set it up other than replacing it once in a while.
Sticky tape can be used nearly anywhere in your house that you see gnats- bathroom, kitchen, dining room, even your bedroom!
See what I’m talking about on Amazon.
It sticks to any surface and likely won’t damage paint finishes (be sure to check your specific surface before you apply). It also works very well in terms of catching them.
Once they land on the adhesive, they can’t escape because of the sticky surface. You can use it hanging from the ceiling or stick it around areas with high gnat activity.
While it can catch any loose gnats, it won’t eliminate the problem.
You still need to remove whatever it is that’s infested (what they’re feeding or eating on). Don’t rely on the fly tape to get rid of them fully! It won’t work.
Some of the best places to strategically put some tape are the following:
- Around windows
- Door Frames
- Kitchen counters (especially the edges of it)
- Near your sink
- On the edges of your dining table
- Near where you keep fruits or vegetables
- The outside of your house (windows, weatherstripping, doors, etc.)
You’ll find that you can get a lot of tape for very little cash. This makes them easy to buy.
But unless you have a small gnat problem, they’re only used as a secondary way to catch them. Keep them out of reach of pets and people. Use as directed. Replace when necessary.
One trick you can do is to use them as gauges to measure how your pest plan is working.
When you first put them up, you should see plenty of gnats being caught.
Over time, you should see less. If so, then you know that whatever you’re doing is working. If not, you need to change your plan.
They’re also good for observing and finding out where the gnats are coming from.
Wherever they enter, you may catch some on that piece of tape more so than other areas of your property. This is useful so you can find out if they’re coming in from- such as your backyard, front door, patio door, etc.
Ultrasonic repellers, also known as sonic repellers, are those electronic gadgets that you plug into the wall or a power outlet and emits a frequency that we can’t hear, but drives bugs crazy.
Whether they work or not, I have no confirmation. Some people swear by them while others return them after a day. They’re advertised to repel everything from rats to cats to cockroaches to spiders. Gnats included.
If you decide to give these a try, get one that has decent reviews, a free return policy and is ADVERTISED to work against gnats. Read the reviews. Ask the manufacturer or seller a question. Find out before you buy or else you’re just wasting time.
If it does work out for you, congrats! It’s an easy way to give some extra protection to rooms that are prone to pests.
While they won’t completely get rid of the gnats, they offer a layer of defense. So why not do it?
Gnats in plants
Your plants should be quarantined before you move them into your house. As mentioned prior, this is necessary for ensuring that pests don’t smuggle themselves inside.
If you have houseplants, they’re prime real estate for fungus gnats, worms, whiteflies, ants, and gastropods. They can use the leaves as a breeding site or food source. Microscopic fungus, spores, and other food sources grow on leaves and soil.
This is why you may see some of those small black flies buzz out of your indoor plants when you water or walk by them. They’re not houseflies, they’re fungus gnats!
If you suspect an infestation on your plants, take them outside and swap the soil. There are likely eggs inside or on the leaves, so you need to decide between keeping the plant outside for good, or carefully prune through each leaf for eggs or pests.
Gnats on the ceiling
Gnats on your ceiling? Well, that’s a new…high.
Gnats showing up randomly on your roof probably means you have a serious pest problem. They may rest on your ceiling following a short flight, or there are simply too many gnats inside your house and they outcompete each other for resources.
Sometimes, confused gnats may wander into your property and end up on your walls and ceiling.
If you see gnats hanging upside down, you can get rid of them in the same fashion as any other gnat. Get a spray bottle filled with some dish soap mixture and spray it.
Of course, you’ll want to do this safely by using a proper stand to get the elevation you need. Spray the gnat and it should instantly fall off the ceiling and then you can scoop it up with a napkin. The soap will suffocate the gnat and kill it. If it sticks to the ceiling after you spray, you can wipe it off.
Whatever you do, don’t smack it with something (newspaper, shoe, etc.). It’ll leave a stain on your ceiling from the gnat’s entrails, which can be hard to remove.
If you’re in a bad position or can’t’ reach the gnats, you can use other alternative techniques to get them off your ceiling:
- Point a fan at the ceiling to prevent them from landing there
- Use sticky tape in high activity areas on your ceiling
- Build a trap of your choice (vinegar, dish soap, ACV, wine, etc.) and put it in the room with the gnat concentration
Additionally, you’ll want to find out WHY they’re always on the ceiling. Is there food in that room? Does there happen to be mold or fungus on the roof from leaks?
Or is there high humidity, cool temperatures, or is it just next to a window that has a damaged screen? There should be some reason why this particular area of your property has gnats all over the ceiling in the first place. Find out and solve it!
Gnats in the bedroom
No one wants bugs in the bedroom.
They’re all found in the bedroom because it’s often the area with plenty of hiding places and food for pests to eat.
Your bed sheets, closets, under your bed, clutter, humidifier, water droplets from the shower, and even your hair and skin all provide food or shelter for a huge number of bugs.
Since no two bedrooms are alike, the types of bugs you bring in vary depending on your location, your cleanliness, and the condition of your property.
However, with gnats being able to fly, they can easily get to second or third-story bedrooms.
Once they get in from the window, door, or even your window AC unit, they can be a nuisance. If you eat in your room, that also provides them a source of food that they can munch on.
The shower water, sink, or humidifiers also provide them favorable conditions. They can hide in your clothing, sheets, curtains, or other clutter in your room.
Note that the infestation may not always be from within your bedroom. Sometimes, gnats may set up camp outside your bedroom and find their way in from your window.
If your weatherstripping is damaged, the screen is torn, or you simply leave the window open and let gnats come in, then you should expect them to seep through the cracks (or lack thereof).
If there’s a nest outside your immediate bedroom, that could be why they keep showing up out of nowhere. Or appearing suddenly.
They’re breeding outside, but they come inside when it’s too hot outside or when they sense food. Check the area proximal to your bedroom out in your yard for signs of gnats.
The kitchen is a war zone where humans and gnats punch it out. It’s often the source of a gnat infestation because it has food, water, and garbage all in one place. It’s a paradise for gnats.
If the infestation is solely tied to your kitchen or pantry, start eliminating the source of food. It should be easy to tell what they’re eating by looking.
Find the source of the food, then remove it and toss it out. Clean up any residues leftover from the food. This should take care of most infestations. The gnats will likely continue hovering around where the food was.
You can ignore them or kill them with dish soap spray.
Afterward, monitor the situation. The gnats may move to another food source, or they may be gone for good.
Keep up with regular hygiene habits to prevent future infestations:
- Always wash your dishes
- Never leave food out for extended periods
- Take out the trash regularly
- Keep bugs out of your kitchen garbage
- Dispose of food you don’t plan to eat or use immediately
- Clean up spills
- Keep countertops free from debris
- Regularly clean your pantries
- Don’t let the sink buildup with gunk
If you continue to see gnats, put up some DIY traps (vinegar, apple cider, or wine) around the kitchen strategically. Space them out and see which trap catches the most gnats.
This can give you an indicator of where they’re coming from or what they’re eating. Gnats won’t infest your home’s appliances but will infest the food.
If they keep showing up inside your house, you can be sure that they’re coming in from the outside or they’re somewhere in your kitchen’s food storage. They breed and deposit eggs inside rotting food, so you may have some waste somewhere that’s just letting them breed over and over.
Check crevices, cracks, and other small gaps in your kitchen where food buildup may be occurring. Gnats could be eating that food source.
Gnats in the bathroom are likely drain flies unless you keep a fruit basket in there. These can be controlled in the same manner as any other gnat.
Use a diluted solution of bleach down the drain for a quick kill. If you want to stick to natural methods, baking soda and vinegar can eat away at the sludge to help remove some of the gnats.
What you really need to do is clean your drain thoroughly and remove all the buildup that the gnats are feeding off of. This can be done using drain cleaners, drain snakes, or hiring a professional.
If you have a lot of them buzzing around your bathroom, check for waste in the bathroom garbage, sink, shower, dirty clothes hamper, or walls.
Sometimes, mold can grow on your bathroom surfaces which the gnats will eat. They may also go through your trash for waste or eat feces in the toilet bowl! They can also munch on food debris in the sink from brushing your teeth, so there are a lot of bases you need to cover.
Gnats on your skin?
Gnats may land on your skin, but there’s really nothing for them to eat. However, some gnats WILL be and rip your skin apart.
These use powerful jaws that can pierce the skin and leave behind welts that itch. There are commercial repellents you can use, the main one being DEET.
If you’re against this, look for an alternative. There are plenty of wristbands, sprays, lotions, and stick-ons that can repel gnats without DEET.
Getting rid of gnats permanently
While it’s very difficult to completely get rid of gnats for good, there are some things you can do to stop them from coming inside your house.
Some regions are just prone to gnat infestations. If you’re in the rural areas where it’s woody and sunny with plenty of humidity, you can expect to get gnats every summer.
Unless you’re going to go to the east coast, you’ll have to be diligent in your loneliness and patching up your property.
Patch up your home’s exterior
The most common way that most professional exterminators suggest will be to use poisons, sprays, and other systemic repellents.
Sure, this works, but it exposes you to a mess of compounds you probably don’t want around your home.
This is why stressing the natural or DIY remedy techniques is key. And pest exclusion is the top dog- it’s number one.
For those that are unfamiliar, pest exclusion is simply making it impossible for bugs to enter a specific zone. In this case, your house.
This can be accomplished by a combination of techniques- most often sprays, patching, and some repairs. You can do the same if you know what to look for.
Start by examining the outside of your house.
Where are there cracks? Crevices? Damaged walls? These are potential points of entry for gnats and other pests. Since gnats can fly, they have a higher potential to get inside your property.
If you’re handy, you can do most of the fixing yourself. If you’re not, you can hire a contractor to do them for you. If you don’t even know what to look for in the first place, hire a professional to do a home inspection.
Some common areas that bugs often enter:
- Damaged weatherstripping on your windows or patio doors
- Under door gaps
- Torn window screening
- Through newly purchased house plants or soil
- Freshly harvested fruits or veggies from your garden
- Crawl spaces
- Grates or vents
- Damaged exterior walls
- Foundational cracks
Do a thorough inspection of your house on the outside, especially for rooms that tend to always have pests.
If you don’t know what to look for, there are plenty of videos and guides online that you can refer to.
Or you can hire a professional to inspect for you.
After you find out where the gnats are coming from, you’ll need to repair, replace, or patch it up.
This means caulking gaps around your windows or doors, fixing worn weatherstripping, replacing entire window screens, caulking cracks in your walls or foundation, or sealing the gap under doorways.
If you have a garage with a door to the yard, the gnats may be coming in through that door and setting up shop inside your garage.
If you have rotting food waste in there, leaky drainage, or high humidity, gnats will flock to it. Then whenever you enter your garage, gnats can get inside without you knowing.
Quarantine new plants
If you keep indoor plants, gnats will dig into the soil to breed.
They may also consume the leaves or crops if it’s a fruit or vegetable plant.
Sometimes, the plants are already infested from the nursery that you bought them from, so this is why it’s important to quarantine those plants.
The same goes for soil, compost, mulch, coconut, or other soil amendments you may bring home. They can be infested with bugs from the store.
Have you ever ripped open a new bag of soil only to see it crawling with worms or maggots
Yes, it happens. And this is why you shouldn’t bring that new plant inside right away. Quarantine all new plants or soils in a controlled environment first, then bring them in.
Do NOT quarantine them outside in your garden.
If you do so, the gnats in your garden may infest the plant or soil while it’s sitting there then you bring them indoors. That defeats the purpose.
You want to do it somewhere that’s difficult for bugs to get to, but not inside your house. Think of a shed, garage, basement, etc.
Check on it every few days for pest activity. If you see some, then it’s infested. Get rid of it or return it and get your money back.
If you don’t see anything, then it’s’ safe to bring inside. There’s a whole ritual about how to quarantine plants properly, so you can find a bunch of resources online.
Set up traps on the outside of your home
Build or buy some gnat traps. Put them around the perimeter of your house.
The key is to catch them before they come inside your home. The traps will bait them to fly towards them instead of your house.
Inspect the traps regularly and look for gnats. If you see plenty of dead gnats, that’s somewhere you should focus on.
Practice good hygiene
Keeping your home clean and tidy is key to making it less favorable to gnats.
If there’s no food for them to detect, why would they come inside your home?
This means regularly doing the dishes, removing leftover food, cleaning, and taking out the trash using bug-proof trash bags (like these, on Amazon).
If the temperatures are too hot or too cold, they still can’t get in if your home is in good condition.
So this is why regular upkeep of your property is good practice.
Pair that with a regular cleaning regimen and you’ve got a bug-free home. Add in some natural repellents, DIY traps to monitor pests, some commercial sticky tape to catch any lone wanderers, and you’re on the right track to being bug-free.
Well, as bug-free as you can get!
Here are some references you may find useful on your quest to get rid of all the gnats in your house:
- Getting Rid of Gnats: Frugal – Reddit
- Fungus Gnats – UFL
- Gnats – Wikipedia
- Fungus Gnats [fact sheet] – UNH Extension
- Fungus Gnats Indoors – NC State Extension Publications
Did you get rid of the gnats in your house?
You should now have a basic understanding of how to get rid of those annoying gnats inside your house.
With these basic DIY home remedies, you should be able to control, manage, and eradicate those pesky gnats naturally without the use of dangerous compounds.
Even though they may be a nuisance, gnats are usually easily ridden by exercising some patience and persistence.
If you have any questions about a specific infestation, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
Or if you found this guide somewhat helpful, please let me know as well. Consider telling a friend or neighbor who can get some value out of it!
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.