Gnats are small flying insects that can be a nuisance in both indoor and outdoor environments. They swarm around your face, fly into your eyes, nose and mouth, and can deliver painful bites. They can also contaminate your food, making it unappetizing to eat. Some gnats are only attracted to the outdoors, creating a particularly frustrating issue for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. In this ultimate guide, we will explore all the ways you can banish outdoor gnats once and for all.
Gnats are a common name used to refer to a variety of small flying insects that infest homes and gardens. Despite their small size, they can create big problems. These tiny bugs are known for their short lifespans of just a few days, during which time they reproduce quickly, causing infestations. Here are some common types of gnats:
Fruit flies are tiny, annoying insects that are often found around ripe or rotten fruits and vegetables. They lay their eggs in fermenting organic material and can survive in drains and drain traps.
Fungus gnats are small flies that resemble mosquitoes. They are attracted to fungi and damp soil, making them a common problem in greenhouses and plant nurseries.
Buffalo gnats, also known as black flies, are small biting flies that are usually found near rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. They can be major nuisances for those who like hiking, camping, or fishing.
Common Causes of Gnat Infestations
Gnat infestations often occur due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices. They are attracted to fermenting organic matter, damp soil, and standing water. Here are some common causes of gnat infestations:
Fruits and Vegetables
Gnats are attracted to overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables. They thrive on the natural sugars and volatile organic compounds that are released when fruits and veggies start to go bad.
Mold and Mildew
Gnats love damp, humid environments. They are attracted to mold and mildew, which can often be found in bathrooms, basements, and other areas with high humidity levels.
Gnats lay their eggs in standing water, which makes birdbaths, fountains, and other water features common breeding grounds for these pests.
How To Get Rid of Gnats Outside
There are several ways to banish outdoor gnats effectively. Here are some effective techniques:
Remove Standing Water
Gnats lay their eggs in standing water, so it’s vital to remove any standing water around your garden or yard. Avoid over-watering your plants, and empty any birdbaths, fountains, or other outdoor water features regularly.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed
Gnats love to hide in tall grass, so always ensure to keep your lawn mowed, and bushes trimmed. This will help to reduce the hiding spots significantly.
Avoid Using Bright Lights
Gnats are attracted to bright lights, so try to avoid using outdoor lights at night. If you must, use yellow or amber bulbs that tend to be less attractive to gnats.
Use Natural Repellents
If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals, natural insect repellents can be just as effective. Crushed lavender and rosemary, citronella candles, and essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus can work wonders in repelling gnats.
Chemical Solutions to Get Rid of Gnats
If natural remedies don’t work, you may turn to chemical solutions. Different types of chemicals work on various gnats, and it’s important to select the right treatment for the type of gnats you are dealing with. Here are some effective chemical solutions:
Pyrethrin is a naturally occurring chemical discovered in chrysanthemum flowers. This chemical is effective in dealing with a wide variety of insects, including gnats. It can be found in different forms, such as sprays, foggers, and insecticides.
Neem oil is a natural pesticide that is extracted from the seeds of neem trees. It is mostly effective against adult gnats, including fruit flies and fungus gnats, but may not be sufficient to eradicate buffalo gnats.
Bacillus thuringiensis is a soil bacteria that can effectively control mosquito and black fly populations. It is safe for humans and pets and can be found in the form of briquettes or coils to be used in ponds, bird-baths, or fountains.
Maintain a Healthy Garden
The best way to prevent gnat infestations is to maintain a healthy garden. Here are some tips:
Overwatering your plants can lead to standing water that is the breeding ground for gnats. Water your plants only when the soil is dry to the touch.
Clean Up Plant Debris
Dead leaves, seeds, and other plant debris can attract gnats. Clean up any plant debris regularly.
Add Sand to Your Soil
Gnats prefer soil that is moist and high in organic matter. Adding sand to your soil can help improve drainage, making it less attractive to gnats.
Introduce Natural Predators
Natural predators like nematodes can control populations of fungus gnats in the soil, while birds and bats can prey on adult gnats.
Gnats are one of the most annoying insects to deal with. However, as we have seen, there are numerous ways to banish outdoor gnats effectively. Whether you prefer natural remedies or chemical solutions, it’s important to select the right treatment for the type of gnats you are dealing with. Maintaining a healthy garden and outdoor environment is also crucial in preventing future infestations.
- Q: How do I get rid of gnats outside?
- Q: What attracts gnats outside?
- Q: What is the lifecycle of gnats?
- Q: Can gnats be harmful?
A: Some effective ways to banish outdoor gnats include removing standing water, keeping your lawn mowed and trimmed, avoiding using bright lights, using natural repellents or chemical solutions, maintaining a healthy garden and introducing natural predators.
A: Gnats are attracted to fermenting organic matter, damp soil, standing water and bright lights.
A: Gnats have a very short life cycle of just a few days. During this time, they reproduce quickly, making it essential to address any potential infestations promptly.
A: While most gnats are not harmful to humans, some may deliver a painful bite or transmit diseases such as the West Nile virus.