RSS Feed
Email this article
Printer friendly page

Ask Rick A Question

How To Get Rid of Gnats


Summary: Here are some tips to teach you how to get rid of gnats. The two surest ways to get rid of gnats are to eliminate water sources and to apply repellant containing Deet and/or permethrin.  You can learn more about gnat control products and/or purchase them here


How to get rid of gnats:

Buy a fine weave fiberglass window screen for your windows and patio. The small holes in a common window screen are wide enough to allow biting sand flies into your home. The smaller the holes, the less chance you have of tiny pests flying in.

Do not over-water your plants. This will help keep out gnats that thrive in moist environments, particularly fungus gnats.

Remove organic matter from your garden and flowerpots. This will also help keep away fungus gnats.

Call your local health official if your home or yard is infested with buffalo gnats. These pests are so miserable to deal with that the insecticide to kill them is not for use by non-pest professionals.


Change the light bulbs on your porch and patio. Using high pressure sodium bulbs will help keep midge gnats away.

If you live near a water source, spray a repellant containing Deet on yourself before you go outdoors in the summer. Reapply every two hours.

Sometimes spraying Deet on you is not enough. If this is the case, use a lotion or spray on your skin containing Deet and R-326. If the gnat population is out of control outdoors, use the Deet/R326 lotion or spray on your skin and protect your clothes with a spray containing Deet and permethrin. Permethrin is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use on clothes, shoes, camping equipment, and bed nets. When purchasing camping gear, you can even find some that has already been treated with permethrin.

Gnat foggers containing pyrethrin will get rid of gnats that are in the immediate area. However, it will not get rid of all of them. So, if you are extremely frustrated with them, use a gnat fogger as a temporary solution.

Bacillus thuringiensis is a repellant that can be poured directly into the water source the gnats inhabit. However, it will only kill larval gnats, not adult gnats. This is a great option to use if you can ensure that the gnats have not fully developed yet.

Pour a cup of brown apple cider vinegar and a quarter cup of dish soap into a bowl and set it outdoors where the gnats are flying around the most. Or, if you have a problem with gnats indoors, use the same trick but with a smaller amount. Fill about a half an inch of a glass or jar with brown apple cider vinegar, and add a few drops of dish soap. Fill four or five glasses and place them in different rooms in your home. The gnats will swarm to the bowl or glasses and will not be able to get out.

If gnats are spending time on your window screen, pour some pine oil onto an old rag and hang it by the window. The smell will repel them. If gnats are inside your home, place pine oil rags in different rooms of your house. Cleaning with the pine oil on wooden surfaces will help deter gnats and keep your house looking sparkly clean.

Do not wear perfume, cologne, or scented lotions when you plan to spend time outdoors as this will attract sand flies and other pests.
Apply lotions containing citronella or Deet.


Light citronella candles if you are entertaining guests outdoors.

Apply insecticide to your yard the day after heavy rainfall. Use a hose sprayer or fogger for best results.

Wear long sleeves and long pants in order to cover up as much skin as possible.

If you plan to go camping, use a bed net on your mattress. Make sure the net is made of fine-mesh netting, and spray it with permethrin insecticide for best results. Spray the insecticide on the netting again after a few months, or every time you wash it. Note that you can also apply Deet to camping materials, but it can ruin some materials. Try spraying a small, obscure section of your tent or net with Deet to test it out before applying it to the entire tent or net.

Sun block and insect repellant worn together may lessen the effects of both. Try applying a bonding base sun block before going outdoors. Wait until it has set into your skin (at least 10-20 minutes) and apply a lotion insect repellant. The bonding base sun block is the best kind to use when you are also applying insect repellant.

Ask Rick A Question


14 Sep 2009, 19:31

Make a trap by putting about a 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and about 5 to 10 drops of dish soap in like a plastic butter bowl then cover it with saran wrap. Make slits in the plastic wrap. The flies will climb in and you can identify them to a pest control person who can spray your house. You can fog the house with foggers. Seal up kitchen dishes from fog, otherwise you will have to rewash all the dishes. I have a spray bottle mixed up of 2 TBsp of Baking Soda and 1 TBsp of dish soap, making sure baking soda is fully mixed and diluted with hot water or it will clog your sprayer. I use this to spray my legs when they are biting at the computer. Baking soda and salt strewn on the carpet with dry out the eggs and flies. Pour 1/2 Baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drains to kill eggs.
14 May 2011, 11:28
how to treat a gnat bite by the eye.
my husband got bit and is all swollen by the eye.
Ask the Exterminator
20 May 2011, 08:20
See a doctor.
glenda C
30 Aug 2011, 22:37
I live in a small complex of condos, I noticed several by my screen door the last few nights, and then last night we were over run!! I was cooking dinner and saw them all over the light above the sink so I looked up at the florecent
light on the ceiling and there were 100s of them , I couldnt believe my eyes!!! I dont know how they were getting in so fast, I had walked outside a few times always closing the door behind me, but they managed. I took a walk around the block and they were swarming around every light in every yard, including the street lights. HELP! I called my extermintor but I dont think he can help much, does anyone have a BIGGER Suggestion??? Im going to turn off all my lights so maybe they wont see us tonight'
sitting in the dark....

glenda C
30 Aug 2011, 22:40
Please help!
Ask the Exterminator
31 Aug 2011, 09:13
Lots of rain. Lots of heat. That all equals lots of bugs reproducing at incredible rates. Turn off your outdoor lights and keep shades pulled closed so the gnats are not attracted. Follow the suggestions listed in this article.
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my email
The box below is for visitor comments! Questions posted in this box may not be answered by Ask the Exterminator. For quickest response click on the "Ask the Exterminator a Question" link at top of this page.
Security Image:



More Articles Like This

  • Buffalo Gnats
  • Fungus Gnats
  • Biting Insects
  • Midge

  • Categories: