Gnats

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Gnats can be confused with most any tiny black insect, but gnats are a specific species of insect that can become a nuisance when found inside the home. When a gnat problem arises most people mistake gnats with midges and no-see-ums, but technically they are different. You do treat them the same, however.

See also: Insect Control Products, Gnat Traps

Gnat Control

Gnat identification

Gnat control begins with identification. Gnats are very small, only an eighth of an inch long and range in color from gray to black, with very small wings. Resembling tiny flies, these insects are often blamed for any small, black flying insect. Fungus gnats are the most common gnats. Females can lay up to 300 eggs on the soil surface of houseplants or in outdoor areas, and you will often see fungus gnats resting on leaves of houseplants.

Gnat habitat

Fungus gnats thrive in wet areas. They eat organic matter, so soils with a high concentrations of organic matter can be especially susceptible. Fungus gnats are commonly mistaken for fruit flies, but if you’re finding them around your potted plants, they’re most likely fungus gnats. When you water your plants, these gnats will swarm out.

Fungus Gnats

The most common species that cause annoyance are fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are not hard to get rid of, but can be mixed up with other insect species, like fruit flies and drain flies and sand gnats (which are really biting midges). While getting rid of gnats can be difficult, we can help you identify gnats and give you tips on how to kill gnats and get rid of gnats in the house.

Fungus Gnat Damage

While gnats are tiny, they can cause big damage in plants. Since they eat organic matter, the larvae can damage root systems in seedlings, rooted cuttings, and young plants. Most gnats are harmless to humans, but there are a small handful of biting gnats, like buffalo gnats. However, there are many kind of small fly-like biting insects.

How to Kill & Get Rid of Gnats

Fungus gnat control is fairly simple: 

  • The easiest way to get rid of gnats in the home is to let your soil dry out completely in between waterings, both indoors and out. Lack of moisture is the natural gnat killer; the larvae cannot survive in dry conditions. Overwatering or constantly damp soil is the perfect environment for fungus gnats.
  • We recommend drenching the soil with a pesticide formulated for gnats or flying insects, like Talstar P to kill gnat larvae. 
  • An aerosol gnat repellent spray containing pyrethrin like Mircocare aerosol can kill existing adult gnats in the area. 
  • Sometimes fungus gnats enter a home because of a leaky pipe in a wall void or water leaks around windows and doors. Using sticky gnat traps can help you locate the source of the fungus gnats, and when located, try to dry out and seal those damp areas.

 


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