Gnats In The House

What are Gnats?

Gnats are tiny flying insects attracted to moisture and sweet smells.  They’re also a nuisance and very unhygienic.  Once you have gnats, they will increase in numbers quickly because gnats lay eggs in moist areas of your home and on overripe or rotted fruit.  Therefore, it is imperative to get rid of gnats as soon as possible.

There are many methods to control the gnat population in your home, as well as practices you can do in your home to avoid getting gnats in the first place.

There are 3 types of gnats found in homes

Fruit Fly

  • Red eyes
  • About 1/8-inch long with a striped abdomen
  • Looks similar to house flies but are smaller

Drain Fly

  • Fuzzy antennae
  • Dark borders around wings
  • Dark grey or tan fuzzy bodies
  • About1/8-inch long

Fungus Gnat

  • Looks like a small mosquito
  • Brown or black bodies with lighter colored legs
  • About 1/8-inch long

Where Gnats come from

Fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats invade your home in different ways. Each forms and lays eggs in common places that are hospitable to it.  Fruit flies are attracted to overripe or rotting fruit, thus the name.  Drain flies dwell in grime or standing water in drain pipes.  Fungus gnats are most commonly found in the moist soil of house plants.

Now that you know how to identify gnats, here are some suggestions others have used, but we have not yet tried. You can try them at your own risk.

Vinegar Trap

Place a jar or bowl of apple cider vinegar, sugar, dish soap and water in an area where you have seen a lot of gnats.  Since gnats are attracted to sweet smells, they will seek out the apple cider vinegar and sugar in the mixture. The soap is poisonous to them so they’ll die as soon as they touch the mixture.

A Bowl of Dish Soap

As previously mentioned, dish soap is poisonous to gnats and will kill them on contact.  Take a bowl or jar and fill it with water and dish soap.  Place in the area where you are seeing gnats.  The gnats will die on contact.

Pour Bleach Down the Drain

If you are experiencing a drain fly infestation, the best tactic is to get them at the source.  Pour some bleach down the drain and let it sit for a few hours to kill the drain flies and their eggs.

NOTE:  Before pouring any bleach, open any windows and doors in the room to ventilate it and make sure children and pets are not present.

Also, pouring coffee grinds down the sink will help keep it clean and odor free.

Store Bought Gnat Traps

Gnat traps (like fly paper) are strips of sticky paper that you place in your home to attract and capture gnats.  The sticky strip used in the trap smells sweet and entices the gnat to come in contact with it. Since it’s sticky, once they touch the trap, they become stuck and can’t fly away.

Spray Neem Oil

You can control the fungus gnats by spraying Neem oil on your plants.  This all-natural spray is comprised of vegetable oil pressed from the fruit and seeds of the Neem tree; an evergreen common to the Indian subcontinent. The oil from the Neem tree has qualities that kills insects, which make it ideal for fungus gnat problems.  Spray Neem oil on the plant and soil and leaves to eradicate fungus, gnat eggs, and the larvae.  Reapply the oil every 7 to 14 days as a preventive measure.

Throw Out Rotten Fruit

Overripe or rotting fruit is a prime breeding ground for fruit flies.  They love the sweet smell, and since fruit is moist, it is also a great place for them to lay eggs.  Luckily, one of the easiest methods of fruit fly control is to throw out fruit once it begins to decay.  You’ll have a few adult flies for a few days, but you will have eliminated their breeding areas and stopped their life cycle.

Do Not Over Water Plants

Fungus gnats love moisture.  Their favorite place to breed is in the soil of over watered plants.  These gnats aren’t just annoying, they’re also detrimental to the health of your house plants.  When fungus gnats larvae hatch, they feed on the roots of the house plants for nutrition which can ultimately kill the plant.  Water your plants just enough so it soaks into the soil and dries between watering.


  •   When throwing away food scraps, place in a storage bag and make sure the air is out.  If the bag is full of air, throwing garbage on top of it can break the bag.
  •   Clean kitty litter daily.  Moisture in kitty litter can attract gnats as it is both wet and warm.
  •   Keep garbage cans clean.  Occasionally, bags can fall or spill when putting garbage in so washing your trash cans monthly will help keep them clean without inviting gnats to set up house. 

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