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Pest solution for gnats

Gnats are one of the most common household pests – not to mention one of the most annoying. Even though they’re harmless, they breed incredibly quickly (one gnat can lay up to 300 eggs in its four-month lifespan) and are extremely hard to get rid of.

So what’s a homeowner to do? The best way to fight a gnat infestation is to understand gnat behavior and implement preventive pest control solutions.

Fungus gnats stuck on yellow sticky trap in potted plant.

What are gnats?

Gnats are a species of small flying insects. They are often seen swarming in great numbers, especially during dusk near fields and areas of great vegetation. When mating season for gnats comes, they often swarm again. They come in a wide variety of species of gnat, including fungus gnats and other species. Some species of gnats bite, but others do not. Despite some gnats biting, they are generally classified as non-biting flies.

Gnat habitat

Gnats and midges are most common in spring and summer and are important pests around lakes, rivers, and aquatic areas where they lay their eggs. Although they are weak fliers, they can be carried long distances by downwind, migrating from nearby ponds, lakes, or rivers to swimming pools, homes, and buildings. Many gnats and midges are attracted to light and can be a nuisance, landing on people or entering homes or businesses. These tiny flies do not feed and only live long enough to mate, lay eggs, and die.

Gnat behavior, threats, and dangers

Although they do not bite, during peak emergence, immense numbers of gnats and midges move into adjacent residential or industrial areas causing annoyance and damage. Lake-front homes, sporting facilities, recreational areas, and businesses are often blanketed by these insects. Midges and gnats fly in swarms that look like clouds and can completely cover houses, vehicles, patio furniture, and plants in the landscape. Where midges are plentiful, spiders and spider webs abound, and this adds to people’s concern. At night, midges are attracted to outdoor lights in large numbers.

Where do gnats come from?

Gnats require food and moisture to reproduce and live. Most species of gnats thrive in decaying organic matter or moist soil in potted plants. Fungus gnats will lay their eggs on either damp potting soil or organic debris, and a few weeks after hatching, they will start to fly and becoming the annoying pest that won't leave you alone.

Are gnats and fruit flies the same thing?

Gnats and fruit flies are often confused, but they are not the same species. Fruit flies are destructive pests to fruit crops across California and Western states. Gnats are nearly universal and they are found almost everywhere. They are both tiny flies, but fruit flies are seeking different types of food, require different methods of treatment and are not the same as gnats.

Three fruit flies on an old banana.

Why do I have gnats?

Gnats are attracted to decomposing materials. In the home, this most commonly takes the form of fruit, compost piles, garbage and even dying house plants. They also are attracted to sources of water and can be found in bathrooms and near kitchen sinks. Most homeowners will face a gnat problem at some point. Unprepared homeowners, however, will face a much larger one.

Man throwing food scraps into green compost bin.

Do gnats bite?

Yes, gnats do bite, but gnat bites do not break the skin the same way mosquitoes do. Gnats have slicing or cutting mouth-parts that slice and dice their way through the skin and then suck your blood. Sometimes this means a gnat bite can hurt more than a mosquito bite.

If you notice red bumps and they get itchy or appear infected, you may have bites from gnats. Wash them with soap or water and if you think you are having an allergic reaction, contact a doctor or seek medical attention. Usually, only those who are sensitive to insect bites have a problem with gnats.

Are there different types of gnats?

Yes. There are two main species of gnats; fruit flies and fungus gnats. As you can guess, fruit flies are attracted to rotting food sources, while fungus gnats love stagnant water.

How to get rid of gnats?

Gnats are nearly impossible to avoid entirely, but cutting back the places and amount of time they have to breed will significantly lessen the infestation. The best way to avoid a gnat infestation is to

Gnats are nearly impossible to avoid entirely, but cutting back the places and amount of time they have to breed will significantly lessen the infestation. The best way to avoid a gnat infestation is to

  • Empty your trash regularly
  • Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean
  • Avoid over-watering plants
Man wearing yellow gloves cleans kitchen counters with blue towel.

If you have a serious problem that you can’t get rid of on your own, contact a professional pest control company.

Western Exterminator is the expert in gnats and other flying insects

If you are experiencing an infestation of gnats inside your home, Western Exterminator gnat control specialists can provide treatments that will get rid of gnats. Western Exterminator specialists are also experts in preventing gnats from getting into your home. It is difficult to get rid of gnats outdoors, but inside your home, getting rid of gnats is like trying to get rid of flies.

Contact your local Western Exterminator office and discuss the problems you are having with gnats and we can discuss solutions with you from there.

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