When warm weather comes, everyone celebrates and plans for spending more time outdoors are made. Most vegetation also starts picking up and every creature wants a share of the weather. This time, insects and bugs start flying around and as usual you will not like them to hover around your evening gatherings or parties.
Like mosquitoes, gnats are stubborn pests that will not let you have some peace on your patios. While true fungus gnats does not bite, large swarms become a serious nuisance. Gnats that bite on the other hand will wound your skin to extract blood leaving you with painful or itchy bumps that may also be infected.
Just like stink bugs or mosquitoes, gnats can be very much difficult to control, especially if the problem is beyond your property line. It will be a futile attempt to prevent gnats from a nearby farm, forest or lake. In this guide learn how to get rid of grants outside and how to prevent them from biting you.
What do Gnats Look Like – Identification
Gnats are tiny flying insects resembling mosquitoes. They include non-biting and biting types that typically feed on blood. Gnats are seasonal pests that come in large swarms during warm months of spring. They have a shorter life span of up to 10-days and when summer weather heats up they usually go away.
Gnats have long slender legs with segmented antennae quite longer than their head. The weak fliers have light gray to clear wings. Adult gnats are very small- typically less than 1/4 of an inch long. Their color varies, yellowish, tan or dark brown.
What Attract Gnats?
Gnats are usually attracted to water, sweet fruity scents and decomposing matter, with biting species of gnats being drawn to body heat in humans and pets. Gnats will swarm around fruits, vegetables and flowers growing in your garden.
Inside a home, gnats can be attracted to fresh flowers, container houseplants, food spillage, uncovered farm produce and open garbage bins. Dirty kitchen sink drains can provide food, shelter, water, and breeding sites for most gnat species.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Outside
When getting rid of gnats, focus on treating the problem both inside and outside the home. Gnat infestation can be controlled in the following ways
1. Identify and remove what attracts gnats
- Harvesting produce timely and clearing away overripe fruits will reduce the population of gnats swarming around.
- Remove any standing water in your yard or garden and let lawns and flower beds drain or dry thoroughly between watering.
- Remove any decomposing matter in your yard including fallen fruits, leaves and tree branches to minimize the growth of fungus that serves as the primary food source of most gnat species.
- Clear bushes or shrubs in your yard and mow your grass short. These are areas where gnats and mosquitoes will hide when the sun gets hot. It will also help trapped moisture in these areas to escape and this will typically discourage these flying bugs.
- Cover garbage bins, clean them and other trash cans frequently. Gnats love open or overflowing garbage bins or cans. Also ensure there are no beverage cans thrown allover in your yard.
- Check your home for rotting produce, old food spillage in a sink ,a houseplant or anything else that is likely to attract gnats
- Fix leaky drains and pipes that are likely to spill sewage or water in your home and dry out any water that may have pooled.
- Clean pet dishes thoroughly and dispose of any remaining food or leftovers.
- Frequently clean all water features in your home including bird baths and replace water often.
- Clean your drains and remove any organic matter to help break the life cycle of the gnats
- Sinks and countertops should be cleaned thoroughly after every use
- Keep all food stuffs and produce covered or refrigerated
2. Use Repellents
Repellents that contain DEET or natural oil of lemon eucalyptus can provide a great relief from gnats when you are outdoors. Repellents can come in various forms including spray, oil or wipes. Simply apply on your skin and enjoy your outdoors. Some of the most effective mosquito repellents are also good at keeping away gnats.
Other options include electronic insect zappers which are also effective in controlling flying bugs. They use a high intensity UV light and an electrified grid to attract and kill insects. It is a safe and eco-friendly option. Installing high velocity fans can also help in keeping away gnats, mosquitoes and other flying bugs.
3. Apply a natural insect killer
Unlike chemical pesticides that are poisonous and unfriendly to the environment, natural insect killers can be used to control stubborn insects in your home without raising any safety or environmental concern. Natural insecticides use plant based oils that targets gnats and mosquitoes without harming other wildlife and beneficial insects.
Nematodes and biological insecticides are also great for controlling gnats in pots and container plants. Nematodes can provide long-term control of gnat by targeting their larvae. These biological controls are readily available in retail nurseries and garden centers. Follow label instructions on how to use to get good results.
4. Set Vinegar Traps
A homemade vinegar traps is known to be good at keeping low the population of pesky insects outdoors.
What to do
- Fill a jar or bowl to half-full with apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap.
- Seal the jar and place it in the area where you frequently spot the swarm. You may strategically place several traps on your patio, garden and indoors.
- The vinegar scent will attract the gnats, while the dish soap makes it hard for the gnats to escape
- Check your trap every few days and once fill with gnats, discard the contents.
- Thoroughly wash the jar with soap and hot water, then refill and set your trap again until all the gnats are gone.
5. Sticky Gnat Traps
Usually a yellow sticky pad that attract and trap most flying insects including gnats, houseflies, mosquitoes and fruit flies among other. These traps are waterproof and you just place them anywhere in your garden. A pack comes with several pieces which can be used over several days in different places in your home.
6. Call professionals
Professional insect control agencies have the skill and equipment for the management of any insect infestation. They can also involve the whole community to completely end the menace. Professionals use safe and effective methods after doing thorough surveys.
How to Prevent Gnat Bites
It may be impossible to completely get rid of all the gnats in your home. This is typically when these insects come from an area beyond your property. Preventing the gnat bites will be a great option.
- Cover your exposed skin when outdoors. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed shoes to avoid bites on your arms and legs.
- Install protective screens on your pergola or porch. Retractable screens are a great option since they can be removed from the view and added when need.
- Apply insect repellent when you are outdoors to keep away mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies and other bugs.
If by any change you become a victim of gnat bites, simply wash the affected area with mild soap and water and pat it dry. If there is some swelling or pain, apply cold compress.
Grants, mosquitoes and other flying bugs can make life outdoors very unbearable. Further, their bites are itchy, painful and sometimes infectious. The only way to avoid all these problem is to control the infestations. Getting rid of gnats