How Does Gnat Infestation Start?

Getting rid of gnats can be a pesky and frustrating challenge, especially when these tiny flying insects invade your living spaces. Gnats, often referred to as fruit flies or fungus gnats, are attracted to decaying organic matter and can quickly multiply if not addressed promptly.

How Does Gnat Infestation Start
How Does Gnat Infestation Start

If you’re facing an indoor gnat infestation in your kitchen, bathroom, or houseplants, finding effective ways to get rid of them is essential for maintaining a clean and comfortable environment.

In this guide, we’ll explore practical and proven methods to get rid of gnats, offering you a range of solutions to reclaim your space from these bothersome pests.

What are Gnats?

Gnats are small flying insects belonging to various families within the Diptera order, which encompasses larger flies like houseflies and mosquitoes. While some gnats can bite humans, others are merely annoying. Here are some typical characteristics of gnats:

  1. Gnats typically have a small body, usually measuring a quarter of an inch or even smaller in length.
  2. They generally have a dark-coloured appearance.
  3. Gnats have a single pair of wings.
  4. These insects often exhibit group flying behaviour, forming swarms that hover around eye level.
  5. Depending on the type of gnat, their diet may consist of plant nectar or blood.

Learning about these features can be helpful when identifying and dealing with gnats, whether they’re causing a nuisance or posing a more significant issue.

How Does Gnat Infestation Start?

Usually, gnats find their way into your home by sneaking in through cracks or holes in the foundation, walls, windows, or doors. They have a knack for infesting areas like trash cans, where decomposing organic matter is present, as well as around rotten fruit and other damp spots.

Keep an eye out for them near sinks, drains, and toilets too, as these are also common hangouts for gnats. Understanding these entry points and favoured locations can be key to addressing and preventing gnat infestations in your home.

Types of gnats

Different kinds of gnats can be found in lawns and homes. Here are some of them:

Fungus Gnats:

These gnats like damp conditions and usually live in the soil of overwatered houseplants. They feed on decaying plant matter and fungi, and while they don’t bite, their larvae can harm plants.

Drain Flies:

Found around standing water, especially in drains feed on organic matter in drains and reproduce quickly. Often seen in bathrooms and near kitchen sinks.  They do not bite.

Fruit Flies:

Attracted to fruits and vegetables and can easily infest homes with readily available food. Commonly seen indoors but do not bite.

Eye Gnats:

Found in sandy areas, particularly in the coastal region, and are attracted to fluid secretions in the eyes, annoying, but they do not bite.

Black Flies (Buffalo Gnats):

Small biting gnats are found near small bodies of water. Some people may have strong reactions to their bites.

Ways to Get Rid of Gnats

getting rid of gnats can be a challenge, but there are various solutions available, ranging from DIY traps to seeking professional assistance.

If your gnat issue is particularly stubborn, you might need to combine several methods to effectively eliminate the pests.

1. Make a DIY Gnat Traps

One of the most accessible and cost-effective methods is creating a DIY gnat trap. The vinegar trap, comprising apple cider or white vinegar, dish soap, and sugar, is a popular choice. Alternatively, a mixture of red wine and dish soap can serve as an effective substitute.

For severe infestations, homeowners may employ fruit traps by covering a jar of overripe fruit with plastic wrap. These traps exploit the attraction of gnats to specific scents, effectively capturing and eliminating them.

2. Use a Spray

A simple solution for smaller gnat problems involves a spray made from vinegar and dish soap. For gnats infesting houseplants or potting soil due to overwatering, a gentle insecticide like neem oil or diluted dish soap can be sprayed directly onto the plant.

Careful washing of the solution after two hours is necessary when using dish soap.

3. Bleaching Drains

Gnats commonly infest areas around kitchen sinks and bathtubs. Pouring a cup of diluted bleach down the drain can effectively eliminate gnats. The process must be done slowly, ensuring complete coverage to eradicate the infestation.

4. Make a Candle Traps

Using a candle in a candlestick partially filled with water can serve as an alternative trap. Gnats are attracted to the flame and either burn or drown in the water. While less convenient than other traps, this method can be effective, requiring vigilance in blowing out the candle before sleeping.

5. Get a Glue Traps

Glue traps, also known as sticky traps, consist of adhesive-coated strips of paper or tape that capture gnats. These traps can be strategically placed in areas with gnat activity. However, they may require frequent replacement and may have limited effectiveness for larger infestations.

6. Install an electric Insect Killers

Electric insect killers, commonly known as bug zappers, offer a hands-free approach to gnat elimination. Installed on porches or patios, these devices use an electric charge to kill gnats upon contact.

While effective for reducing gnat populations, they may not eliminate the problem.

8. Hire a professional Pest Control company:

For persistent gnat infestations, seeking the assistance of a professional pest control company is a viable option. These experts can devise customized treatment plans addressing both gnat larvae and adult gnats, ensuring a thorough and effective solution.

How to Prevent Gnat Infestations

After successfully treating a gnat infestation, it’s essential to take preventive measures to avoid a recurrence. Here are some practical tips:

  1. Clean up promptly after meals: Avoid leaving food or drink residues out after meals. Quickly clean up any spills to eliminate potential gnat attractants.
  2. Dispose of trash nightly using a sealed can: Gnats are drawn to trash, so using a sealed kitchen trash can and emptying it every night reduces the likelihood of gnats entering your home and congregating around the garbage.
  3. Water indoor plants judiciously: Gnats thrive in moist environments, so water your indoor plants only when necessary. Overwatering creates a habitat for gnats to lay eggs and find moisture.
  4. Refrigerate fruits: Since gnats are attracted to the scent of fruit, store them in the refrigerator rather than leaving them exposed on countertops.
  5. Reduce humidity indoors and outdoors: Fix plumbing leaks, clear sink drain blockages, and eliminate damp areas around rain gutters and birdbaths to discourage gnat presence.
  6. Use preventive yellow sticky traps: Strategically place traps near potential trouble spots, such as ripe fruit or houseplants, to prevent an infestation. Consider products like GreenKeeper’s Stick Traps.
  7. Maintain clean drains: Regularly clean drains with diluted bleach or specialized cleaning solutions to prevent the buildup of food particles and fungus gnat larvae. Eco-friendly options like Natural Armor All-Natural Drain Fly Killer or Green Gobler Fly Goodbye Drain Treatment are effective.
  8. Avoid overwatering indoor plants: Overwatered indoor plants create a damp environment ideal for gnats. Ensure your plants have drainage holes and adjust your watering schedule if you notice gnats around them.
  9. Inspect new plants for gnats: Before bringing new plants into your home, thoroughly check them for any signs of gnats. This precaution helps prevent introducing gnats along with new plant additions.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of future gnat infestations and maintain a gnat-free environment in your home.


For homeowners looking to save time and avoid the hassle of dealing with pest problems, partnering with a professional pest control provider is a wise choice. These pest control companies go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach by designing a personalized treatment plan tailored to your home’s specific needs.

Also, they provide valuable insights on preventing future infestations. It’s advisable to obtain quotes from at least two different companies to ensure you’re getting the most competitive price for the service.

This proactive approach ensures that you receive the best possible value for your investment in pest control services.



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