How to get Rid of Indoor Gnats

Learn How to Identify Gnats - And Get Rid of Them Fast

You’ve come to the right place if you’re struggling with How to Get Rid of Gnats. Gnats, which can be the biting or non-biting variety, are tiny insects that fly in great numbers – and are a significant nuisance for people and pets alike.

It’s a great idea to eliminate Gnats as quickly as possible and prevent them from multiplying in or around your home. When they’re outside, gnats can be a considerable annoyance.

However, when they find their way into your house, this tiny insect species can trouble humans or their pets and even kill common house plants.

How to Get Rid of Gnats Indoors:  In 3 Steps:

  1. Identify which of the five common types of Gnats you have
  2. Remove water sources to clear their favorite breeding grounds
  3. Apply the proper insect treatment to get rid of Gnats

1)  “Identify” Five Types of Gnats:

There are Five common types of Gnats, and when you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of gnats inside your house, it is beneficial to identify what kind of gnats you have indoors, so you can determine how to get rid of them.

1) Midges (or “Midge Flies”)

midge flies
Adult Midge Fly Image – Best Home Gear

Midge Fly Description:

The most common name given to gnats is the midge.  Midges encompass the general population of tiny flies that inhabit the world and have an adult life cycle of 3-5 days.

In their adult cycle, midges do not eat and therefore pose no “biting” risk to humans or pests.  They have one goal – mate before you die.

Midges, often referred to as non-biting midges (and several other names), gather in huge swarms and, for homeowners, are usually found swarming around standing water and outdoor porches and post lights.

Check out this short video on Midge Flies:

How To Get Rid Of Midge Flies:

As they pose no threat of biting and are not disease-carrying insects, midges are fairly harmless and greatly important to the ecological cycle.

If, however, you have an overabundance of midges on your property and they have become a nuisance, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Use CO2 traps to draw midges away from living areas, killing them.
  2. Fill in, or avoid having low drainage areas on your lawn, which create water pools or puddling.
  3. Keep exterior doors closed – Utilize Air Conditioning over open windows.

2)  Drain Flies

Getting Rid of Drain Flies - Best Home Gear
Adult Drain Fly Image – courtesy MAB – Best Home Gear

Drain Fly Description:

Drain flies are common in tropical climates and live in and around sink and bathroom drains.  Drain flies feed on bacteria and can break up hair and sludge in sewer systems.

As drain flies are not biting gnats like others in our review, they can certainly become a nuisance inside the home. A hairy “moth-like” appearance identifies drain flies.

How To Get Rid of Drain Flies:

Home Remedy to Remove Drain Flies
  • Mix 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda plus a cup of white vinegar. Pour into any drain you have drain flies.  Allow it to work overnight, then flush the drain with hot water the following day. This sanitizes the drain and kills the flies and their eggs.
  • Use Chemical Liquid to Kill Drain Flies – Try Green Gobbler Drain & Fruit Fly Killer, Available at Amazon.

3)  Black Flies (or “Buffalo Gnats”)

The term Black Fly covers over 30 species of tiny (1/8″ long) flying gnats, all similar in appearance.  Black flies are called “Buffalo flies” due to their humpback appearance.

How to get rid of black flies - Best Home Gear
Adult Black Fly or “Buffalo Gnat Image” – Best Home Gear

Black Fly Description:

While black flies do not have a needlelike ability to feed, they utilize a slash-and-slurp feeding approach. As a result, black fly bites can be severe and lead to fever or possibly enlarged lymph nodes.

Fortunately, only a very few of these species attack humans.  Animals, however, are their most likely target, including household pets.

Most prevalent in late spring and throughout the summer months, black gnats (flies) often congregate near wooded rivers and streams. Black gnats can usually be trapped or killed in much the same way as other gnat species.

How To Get Rid Of Black Flies (Buffalo Gnats)

  • Avoid having standing or stagnant water near the living areas of your home.
  • Use a systemic insecticide (non-absorbing by plants and vegetables) around your home’s entries, bushes, or plants. 
  • One of the best-rated treatments to kill black flies is Sevin Garden Tech, available at Amazon.

4)  Sand Flies

Sandflies are tiny (1/16″ long) light-colored gnats known for their habit of biting animals and humans. Although they are more common in tropical regions, certain species of sandflies are known to range into the United States.

how to get rid of sand flies - Best Home Gear
Adult Sand Fly

Sand Fly Description:

Sand flies are stealthy and barely noticeable at only 1/16″ in length. That is until they bite you. Very light in color with a brownish body, sand flies, like mosquitoes, use a needle-like approach to sucking blood.

How to Remove Sand Flies:

Sometimes called “horseflies,” sandflies are tiny and commonly called “no-see-ems.”

  • Avoid standing water near living areas around the home. They need water to survive.
  • Install screens with tighter mesh – sold for “no-see-em” protection
  • Seal any window or door cracks with caulk.
  • Use systemic insecticides such as Sevin Garden Tech around foliage near entries or outdoor living areas.

5)  Fungus Gnats

The final type of gnat most commonly found in the United States is the fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are a common indoor fly reproducing in moldy, moist leafy matter or soil.

As a result, fungus gnats are easily transported into the home, along with their host – the indoor houseplant.

Fungus Gnat Image – Best Home Gear

Fungus Gnat Description:

While more of a nuisance than the biting midges are for humans or pets, fungus gnats feed during the larvae stage on the roots of plants.  Aggressive and untreated, many fungus gnats will affect the growth of your plants and can eventually kill common houseplants.

How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats:

  • Allow the top 1 – 2″ of houseplant soil to dry completely.
  • Use Bio-Care stix for indoors available at Amazon.
  • We recommend Sevin systematic gallon concentrate for outdoor use in and around your garden, which is safe for use around plants and vegetables.

How to Get Rid of Gnats:  Practical Tips

Step 1:   Eliminate Potential Reproduction Sites

The first step in getting rid of gnats is to deny them the opportunity to reproduce. Like most flies, gnats have very short lifespans. If they are not allowed to lay eggs, the gnats in your house will die relatively quickly without being replaced by a new generation.

Many species of gnats can lay their eggs in fruit or vegetable matter left in your trash cans, so it’s important to keep trash covered and get it out quickly if you have a gnat infestation.

Fungus gnats can also lay their eggs on or next to houseplants that have developed mold, so checking all indoor plants for signs of fungus is a good idea.

Step 2:   Eliminate Water Sources

Gnats require fresh water to survive.  To reach their typical lifespan of 3-5 days, gnats must be close to a freshwater source. If you can clean and eliminate standing water from your property, such as stagnant or low lawn areas where pooling occurs, gnats will move onto someplace else.

Step 3:  Eliminate Gnats From Each Room

Remove Gnats from the Dining Room and Kitchen

Just as getting rid of ants in the home can be a significant issue, gnats and flies congregate wherever food gets left out. For this reason, kitchens and dining rooms are among the most common places you’ll find them.

Once you have eliminated breeding areas, your job is to kill the adult gnats in your home, and the kitchen is usually the best place to start.

One of the best ways to make a gnat trap is to pour some red wine into the bottom of a narrow container, such as a water bottle, and leave it open for gnats to find. Because wine contains fruit sugars, gnats will be attracted to it, trapped in the container, and eventually drown in it.

For an even more significant effect, you can use a liquid hand soap or dishwashing liquid to coat the sides of the container and make it impossible for the trapped gnats to land.

Remove Gnats from the Living Room

As with the dining room, a homemade gnat trap, such as the Kathy from Amazon, helps trap any gnats that may find their way into your living room.  This electronic device is safe and will kill the gnats without exposing you or your family to harsh chemical pesticides.

Remove Gnats from the Bathroom

If you see gnats in your bathroom, it’s more likely than not that they are drain flies. Unlike other species, drain flies lay their eggs inside drains, meaning you’ll need to flush your drain pipes to get rid of them.

get rid of gnats in bathroom - best home gear

A diluted bleach solution will kill the eggs and larvae, as will a pot of boiling water. Be sure to clean both your sink and shower drains, as there’s a good chance you’ll have gnats in both.

Remove Gnats from Pantry

Last but certainly not least on the list of common gnat hot spots in the home is the pantry. If you have a pantry where food is left open, gnats can quickly get in and feed on it.

A red wine gnat trap, as described above, will help to get rid of gnats, but It’s also a good idea to tightly seal all food and throw away any opened containers that may have been exposed to gnats or their eggs (Yes, gross!)

Best “Home Remedy” To Kill Gnats

If you prefer to use a less toxic approach to repel insects, here are a few home remedies to get rid of gnats:

  1. Create a trap by mixing apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap.
  2. Pour leftover red wine into a jar.
  3. Mash bananas in a pot and cover the top with plastic wrap.
  4. For drain flies, pour bleach solution into the bathroom sink, tub, or drain they appear at.

Best “Insecticide” To Kill Gnats

If you eliminate likely breeding areas and go through your house to eliminate adult gnats, you’ll likely stop seeing them quickly.

With that said, some infestations may be severe enough to require a more aggressive approach. If this is the case in your home, the best method for getting rid of gnats is to use a chemical insect fogger.

Foggers can clear your home of gnats and other pests, but they are also messy and should be handled with care and have your house completely emptied of people for the duration recommended. 

Generally, it’s best to try less aggressive methods first and only use a fogger if you feel it’s necessary.

For a less invasive chemical approach, consider using the yellow sticky traps from Gideal – also available at Amazon.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are Gnats?

Gnats are tiny insects (1/8″ long +/-) that occur in nature as one of five species of small flies.

The five (5) flies most commonly referred to as “Gnats” include; sandflies, midges, drain flies, fungus gnats, and black flies.

While fruit flies are sometimes mistakenly called gnats, they are actually from a different branch of the fly family than the species listed above – and are not considered actual gnats.

How Do You Kill Fruit Flies?

If you have a significant infestation and need to know How to kill fruit flies quickly, this is a great way to do it;

  • Remove any ripe fruit from the house which has attracted fruit flies indoors.
  • Use a drinking glass or jar, and pour 2-3” of Apple Cider Vinegar into the glass, which will attract fruit flies. Then, add 2-3 drops of dish soap to the vinegar. The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue – to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar – where they eventually drown.
  • Wrap the top of the glass with clear plastic wrap, and place a rubber band around it. Poke several small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick to allow fruit flies to access the vinegar solution.
  • The dish soap acts as a fly trap or glue – to hold the fruit flies in the vinegar – where they eventually drown.
  • When the fruit fly problem is gone, dispose of the contents of the jar.

Note:  Gnats and Flies are not the same species. While fruit flies may sometimes be mistaken for gnats, they are from different parts of the fly family.

How Do Gnats Get Indoors?

As with all flies, gnat infestations begin when a single gnat enters your home and lays eggs. Once those eggs hatch, many gnats can quickly appear in your home.

How Do You Get Rid of Gnats Outside?

Now that we’ve covered how to get rid of indoor gnats let’s briefly touch on how to get rid of gnats in outdoor yard spaces.

You can use a lawn spray containing a safe insecticide to kill outdoor gnats. While outdoor gnats are usually only a minor annoyance, severe infestations can be bad enough to warrant spraying.


Conclusion

While not as abundant or annoying as Ant problems – Hopefully, you now know how to identify and eliminate gnats. Knowing what types of gnats to look for and what areas of your home are the most likely to be found will allow you to eliminate these tiny flying pests.

Whether your gnat infestation involves only a few flying around your living room or a significant population in your kitchen, the tips and tricks above should equip you to evict them from your house once and for all.

References and Additional Resources:

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carrollhttps://www.besthomegear.com
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Image of Kevin Carroll, author and publisher @ Besthomegear.com
Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Owner, Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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