Getting Rid of Gnats

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 3, 2009)

Gnats are often called fruit flies, and vice versa. While it's true that gnats and fruit flies are both insects, they are not from the same family of insects. Both are very tiny insects, so it certainly is difficult to tell the difference between the two. And both types of insects are annoying because they are so small and difficult to catch or smack with a fly swatter. The easiest way to discern between the two insects is to think of how you might encounter each in nature.

If you have a bowl of ripening fruit on your kitchen counter, and you notice tiny winged insects flying about, then you have fruit flies in your kitchen, and not gnats. And if you've ever taken a walk on a warm evening and spy a swarm of tiny winged insects up ahead, then you're about to walk into a ghost of gnats. Just as congregating geese are named a gaggle of geese, swarming gnats are named a ghost of gnats. Fruit flies feed off of decaying fruit and the easiest way to rid your home of them is to remove their food source—the fruit. But gnats are really small black flies that feed off of carbon dioxide. The next time you visit a pond with sections of stagnant water, you will see small flies—or gnats—hovering above the water's surface, feeding off of the carbon dioxide exuded by the algae sitting atop the water. The larvae of the gnat feed off of the plant's roots and any organic matter near the soil's surface.

Houseplants can become infested with gnats quite quickly. You won't see any plant damage and, instead, will simply see black gnats buzzing about. Gnats will fly from plant to plant, laying as many as 150 eggs at a time, with the eggs hatching in as little as 3 days. And while a gnat's life lasts less than 8 days, an infestation of gnats is not only destructive to the roots of your houseplants, you'll have the constant annoyance of gnats flying about your home.

At the first sing of gnats flying about your houseplants and home, remove your plants to a sunny location to dry them out. Keep the plants as dry as possible without causing damage. Before watering the plant, place sticky strips of tape or fly traps around the base of all of your plants in order to catch the adult gnats, preventing them from laying eggs in the plant soil. After 8 days, you should notice a severe decrease in the gnat population. If you continue to see gnats, repeat the process of drying your plants and applying sticky traps.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Choosing a Potting Soil

Knowing the difference between potting mix and potting soil will help you better determine which mix to use for the plants ...

Discover More

Raising Cherry Trees

While raising cherry trees can prove challenging, the eventual crop of fruit is well worth the trouble. The most important ...

Discover More

Flower Garden Irrigation

Flowers need adequate water in order to grow and produce blooms. Depending upon why you grow flowers, and how many you have ...

Discover More

Fleas Don't Stand a Chance! Control fleas without having to spray your house or pet with harmful chemicals. The Victor Ultimate Flea Trap monitors and controls flea infestations quickly, safely, and easily. Eliminate your flea problems without the need to spray synthetic chemicals. Check out Victor Ultimate Flea Trap today!

More Pest Tips

What is a Mormon Cricket?

Usually, Mormon crickets live their lives without incident. In other words, they go through their life cycle for years ...

Discover More

Managing the Japanese Lady Beetle

Whether you call them lady bugs or lady beetles, you can tell them apart from other insects by their colored, spotted domes. ...

Discover More

What is the Japanese Lady Beetle

Japanese lady beetles are sometimes known as the Halloween lady beetle because of their propensity to congregate in large ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)