What Are Gnats?
Gnats, also known as fungus gnats, are small flying insects that feed off of rotting organic matter, such as decomposed plant matter, and rotting fruit. Unlike fruit flies, which are typically brown with red eyes, fungus gnats have a black body with black eyes. These pests only grow up to 1/8 of an inch long at most, so finding individual flies is a challenge.
If you notice fungus gnats swarming around your kitchen, it is most likely that you have an infestation on your hands. Fortunately, there are many ways to get rid of gnats from your kitchen, and most can be done using only home staples like apple cider vinegar and dish soap.
5 Effective Methods to Get Rid of Gnats
What You'll Need
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dish soap
- Mason jar, Bowl, or Disposable cup
- Paper cone
Add apple cider vinegar into a tall mason jar, bowl, or cup, and swirl in a few drops of dish soap. Create a cone out of a piece of paper, wide enough for the gnats to pass through, but narrow enough that they cannot easily escape. Place the cone into the mason jar, making sure the tip does not touch the vinegar trap. Place the trap near the infestation to get rid of gnats.
You may need to change the vinegar solution every now and then as it fills up with gnats. The smell of apple cider vinegar is similar to rotten fruit, attracting the gnats to the trap like fruit flies. As the gnats fly in, they find difficulty flying out, eventually drowning in the soap-laced vinegar.
Clean Your Sink Drains
What You'll Need
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Boiling water
- Ice cubes and Rock salt - for garbage disposals
Fungus gnats could be attracted to the rotting organic matter down your kitchen drains or garbage disposal. Fungus gnat larvae feed off the organic slime that accumulates in drain pipes, as do the larvae of drain flies and fruit flies. Get rid of gnats and other pests by removing the food source - in this case, cleaning your sink drains.
Start the process by pouring a cup full of baking soda powder down the drain. Immediately follow up with one or two cups of vinegar, and let the reaction bubble. This reaction will lift the grime from the walls of your drain pipes, removing the food source of these pests. Drown the sink with boiling-hot water, and let the sink cool before running the tap to rinse off any residue.
For garbage disposals, add ice cubes and rock salt into the drain, and run the garbage disposal. You can opt to add baking soda and vinegar to deodorize the garbage disposal, but this is optional. Pour a steady stream of boiling water over the sink as the disposal crushes the ice cubes. This should clean the blades of the disposal.
Natural Neem Oil Spray
What You'll Need
- Cold-pressed neem oil
- Castile soap or Dish soap
- Spray bottle
Many neem oil sprays are available on the market pre-mixed, but it is better to mix a spray bottle of the solution yourself as neem oil is water soluble. Creating your own mix with some castile soap would help to keep gnats at bay from your kitchen sink and your plants.
Mix together 1 teaspoon of pure neem oil, 1 teaspoon of liquid castile soap or liquid dish soap, and 500mL of plain water in a spray bottle. Give the bottle a good shake before using, and spray around your plants, and wherever the gnats congregate. Spray your plants only during cloudy days or late afternoons as neem oil can burn plant leaves under the sun.
If you have houseplants around, or you've got a planter by your windowsill, check for signs of a gnat infestation as fungus gnats often lurk around plants, and their larvae chew on roots of houseplants, especially herbs and rotting fruits. A natural neem oil spray would work to combat these gnats, while keeping your plant organically healthy.
Sticky Fly Paper
Gnats don't have preferences when it comes to surfaces they land on or fly into. By putting up sticky paper traps, you can catch the bugs as they fly through your kitchen. Place sticky fly paper around strategic areas in your kitchen, especially where the flies are most concentrated. Placing overripe fruit pieces on the fly paper can serve as bait, but is optional.
As gnats pile up onto the sticky fly paper, you may need to change the roll after a few days. Be wary of catching other unintended and beneficial insects as well, like bees, butterflies, and even other animals like lizards and small birds. This is a more common occurrence outdoors, so be mindful of wildlife as you place these traps out.
Use a Bug Zapper
Like with many insects, lights attract gnats as the bright light confuses the navigation instincts of these pests. A bug zapper works by attracting fungus gnats into its light, before zapping them with jolts of electricity - just high enough to kill gnats on contact. Other than gnats, a bug zapper is also effective against fruit flies, drain flies, house flies, and mosquitoes.
Place a bug zapper around your kitchen, and close the lights. Let the bug zapper zap away at the insects, then clean up the frizzed husks the next day. You may need to leave out the bug zapper for a few days to get rid of gnat infestations, especially if you haven't found the root cause of the problem.
A Clean Kitchen is a Healthy Kitchen
Keeping your kitchen free from pests and insects means to keep it clean. When the cleaning chores are getting overwhelming, Luce Home has got your back in home maintenance and upkeep. Our cleaning professionals will get your kitchen to a squeaky clean finish!
Need more tips on kitchen cleaning? Check out our other articles for guides on cleaning different areas in the kitchen!