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How to Get Rid of Gnats

They appear quickly, but you can get rid of them quickly, too.

At one point or another, many people will experience a gnat infestation. These tiny little bugs can be a major nuisance, appearing in spots like kitchens and bathrooms seemingly overnight and multiplying by the minute. Fortunately, pest control experts are well-versed in how to get rid of gnats. Here, get their best tips, from DIY solutions to how a professional will handle the problem. You'll learn everything you need to know about these pesky critters, including how to identify them and where they typically nest.

RELATED: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen.

What Are Gnats?

Closeup of fungus gnats being stuck to yellow sticky tape.
Below the Sky / Shutterstock

Many of us know gnats when we see them. "They are little, winged flies that can be extremely bothersome," says Khalid Bob, CEO of Private Exterminating.

More technically, they're a member of the Diptera order of flies, a category that also includes maggots and mosquitos. There are different types of gnats, but the ones that are most commonly seen in and near buildings are dark-winged gnats, fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. They live about a week and typically appear in large numbers.

How Can I Identify Gnats?

These pests have a few identifying features. "A gnat's length is typically between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch, and their bodies are slim and black," says Bob. "When not in flight, gnats typically fold their translucent, veined wings behind their backs." They have six legs and somewhat long antennae.

They also appear by the hundreds, so if you see tons of tiny, winged creatures flying about, you may be dealing with gnats.

Where Do Gnats Typically Nest?

A pest's location could help you determine if it's a gnat. According to Jennifer Hankey, founder and CEO of pest control company The Green Queen, the critters typically nest in warm, damp areas.

"Outside, this includes areas where there is plenty of vegetation and drains," she says. "Indoors, gnats may nest and live in sink drains and houseplants."

Are Gnats Harmful?

Not really, but don't write them off completely. "While most gnat species do not pose a serious threat to human health, some types, such as biting midges, can deliver painful bites that result in localized irritation," says Trenton Frazer, resident entomologist at Aptive Environmental. "Additionally, fungus gnats, which are commonly found indoors, can damage houseplants by feeding on their root systems."

Why Are There So Many Gnats In My House?

If there are gnats in your home, it's because they've successfully found food and shelter inside it. The pests are attracted to standing water, damp areas, fruit and vegetable scraps, overwatered houseplants, and organic matter buildup in showers and drains. Any of these issues, or a combination of them, can lure in gnats and allow them to survive.

RELATED: The No. 1 Thing Attracting Fruit Flies to Your Kitchen.

How to Get Rid of Gnats

homemade gnat trap; vinegar, wine, and dish soap in a white bowl
Lyudmila Mikhailovskaya / Shutterstock

Just because gnats have found their way into your space doesn't mean you need to live with them. Here are some DIY solutions to get rid of gnats, plus a few commercial products you can buy to wipe them out.

Make a Vinegar Trap

This age-old hack will take out gnats quickly—and you probably have everything you need to build the trap at home.

"Create a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, and a few drops of dish soap in a container," says Frazer. "The vinegar attracts the gnats, and the soap breaks the surface tension, causing them to sink and drown." You should notice relief in just a few hours.

Make a Wine Trap

This works similarly to the vinegar trap. "You may either leave the bottle open on the counter to catch the inebriated gnats, or you can arrange a dish with plastic wrap with holes on top," says Bob. They'll be attracted to the wine and then get stuck in the bottle or plastic wrap.

Kill Them Off With Bleach

If the gnats are higher in numbers around your drain, then they're likely nesting there. To kill them off, clear the drain by pouring a cup of bleach down it. "Pour slowly, just like you would with drain cleaner, to give the bleach enough time to kill all the gnats and larvae," says Bob.

Additionally, you could just pour drain cleaner down the drain. A two-in-one special!

Spray Insecticide

Head to the hardware store and purchase a product to tackle the issue head-on. "Insecticide sprays containing active ingredients like pyrethrins or permethrin can effectively target adult gnat populations," says Frazer.

Use a Sticky Trap

Or try one of these. "Yellow sticky traps are also useful for capturing adult gnats, as they are attracted to the color yellow," says Frazer. They'll get stuck to the paper, and your problem will be over.

Buy a Bug Zapper

There are also store-bought zappers. "Utilizing a bug zapper is one of the best ways to manage and eradicate gnats," says Bob. "Gnats are drawn to these devices and electrocuted; as a result, they die and gather in the bottom of the apparatus."

Light a Candle

If the gnats are bothering you outdoors, Frazer notes that citronella candles or torches will help repel them.

Call in a Pro

"A pest control professional will start by thoroughly inspecting the affected area to identify gnat breeding sites, such as damp areas or overwatered plants, then employ targeted strategies, including applying insecticide treatments to infested soil and drain systems, utilizing insect growth regulators to disrupt the gnat life cycle, and recommending modifications to address moisture issues," says Frazer.

They'll also be able to provide preventative measures for your unique situation.

RELATED: How to Get Rid of Cockroaches.

How Can I Prevent Gnats From Coming Back?

fruit flies on a lemon
Drbouz / iStock

Toss Overripe Produce

It's a major food source for pests. "Keep expired fruit away from the refrigerator and counter and get rid of overripe vegetables," says Bob.

Take Out the Trash

The pros suggest doing this at least once a day, especially if you've recently tossed something that might be extra enticing to gnats.

Care for Your Drains

"To avoid food buildup, periodically treat drains and your garbage disposal," says Bob. "Also, look for any plumbing drain leaks and address them right away."

Monitor Your Plants

They can lure gnats into your space. "Keep your houseplants dry to prevent the damp conditions that attract fungus gnats," says Bob.

Eliminate Food Spillage

Even tiny amounts attract gnats. "Clean counters and floors of food residue and spills," says Bob.

RELATED: 4 Soaps and Scents That Repel Mosquitoes, Experts Say.


Even a mild gnat infestation can be unnerving, but there's always something you can do. Try one of these DIY measures or bring in a commercial product that will cut gnats at their source. For more pest control information, visit Best Life again soon.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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