Gnats are small flying insects that are a nuisance to the yard and homeowners. Gnats measure about 1/8” long, making it almost impossible to identify them easily. They are both biting and non-biting species. Non-biting species feed on plants, fruits, and compost while biting ones are carnivorous and feed mostly on blood. But how do I get rid of gnats from my yard?
Remove any decaying material, avoid overwatering or stagnant water in your yard can help get rid of gnats. At times, it may require making gnats traps or even applying a mixture of 1:4 of hydrogen peroxide and water. For beginners and extreme infestations, you can hire a professional pest control company.
What Causes Yard Gnats?
What are the flying bugs in my yard? Gnats consist of many species of small flying bugs. The indoors gnats tend to be non-biting whereas the outdoor species do bite. Gnats are attracted to the scent. Certain smell such as fruit and sweet scent causes gnats and flies infestation to your yard.
Gnats are irresistible to vinegar, honey, flower-scented shampoo, and soaps. Food spillage, garbage cans, and composters that aren’t sealed, Sink drains, Pit latrine, flesh flower, and vegetables on your yard do cause gnats infestation. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens provide gnats with food sources. Over-watering your yard, outdoor lighting provides an optimal habitat for gnats.
Gnats are also attracted to humans, more so if you have sweet-smelling lotions, perfumes, and hairspray. Some detergents and fruit fragrances we use on our cloth can attract gnats. If you got gnats following you, you got the causes. Other things like perspiration, body heat, mucus, and tears from your eyes may also attract gnats.
Are Yard Gnats Bad?
Yard gnats can cause a myriad of problems in your yard especially when there is a fungal disease outbreak, moisture, and rotting matter. However, not all gnats are bad, some enhance pollination, get rid of aphids and other insects that could otherwise destroy or damage plants in the yard garden.
Non-bitting gnats(such as eye and fungus gnats) are of no problem to humans whereas the biting(commonly the buffalo and sand gnats) ones can cause red bumps that are irritating and itchy. At times, though rarely, gnat bites can lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. It’s good to note, the
How do you get rid of grass gnats?
Yard gnats are also called grass flies or eyes flies. They are various way of getting rid of severe yard gnats infestation using the available home remedies and commercials pest controllers. But first, the most crucial step is to identify where possible the kind of infestation you are dealing with. Gnats are of many species and the earlier you identify them, determine the efficiency of the control method taken. Using more than one method below will help to eradicate the pest.
1. Eradicate gnats favorable bleeding conditions
The first measure to get rid of gnats in your yard is to eliminate gnat’s favorable living conditions in your yard. These measures mostly involve physical tactics bellow
- Remove the decaying organic/ rotting matter on your yard. Gnats are known to feed and get attracted with these composting materials. In case the matter is inside the composting bins ensure you close the rid tightly.
- Get rid of stagnant water. Stagnant water provide the favourable breeding environment for these flying insects. The earlier you get rid of it the faster you inhibits the bleeding cycle, which help eliminate severe gnats infestation
- Reduce excess moisture on your yard. In case you do use a sprinkle your yard or you occasionally irrigate your yard, it may be time to manage the moisture level. High moisture levels also provide a good bleeding environment for the gnats.
2. Make a Gnat trap
To get rid of these swarms of tiny flies in the yard, it may require getting gnat traps. Some of these traps can be made at home using available items in your kitchen. Typically use the items that gnats are attracted to. Below are some of the best DIY traps.
- Fruit trap: since gnats are attracted to rotten fruits, you can use it as bit. Get a rotting fruit and wrap it with perforated plastic bag. The gnats will enter ans get stuck inside it. Alternatively there are plastic bottle traps you can buy from your nearest Agrovet meant for trapping gnats and use fruit as bit.
- Candle traps: Gnats are attracted to light especially at night. Get a candle and place it inside partially filled candle stick with water. Light the candle and turn of the yard lighting. The trap works through burning the gnats and eventually falls in water and drowns.
- Apple cider Vinegar trap: If you have small infestation, get a few table spoons of apple cider vinegar, drops of dish soap and few tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. Mix or stir the content and place it in the yard where there is prevalent gnats infestation. This is how the trap works; sugar and vinegar attracts the gnats while dish soap traps and drown them down.
- Bug Zapper: Gnats are attracted to light, it works best for large insects and can help get rid of a number of gnats on your yard.
3. Mix Hydrogen Peroxide with Water
Make hydrogen peroxide solution and water your plants to kill any larvae on the potted plants. Mix 1 unit of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to 4 units of water. When poured on topsoil you should see bubbling on the soil to show it’s working. The mixture kills gnat larvae on contact with it. If you are a DIY kind of person, this is one of the best home remedies.
4. Hire a professional pest control services
If you have severe and lingering gnats infestation, you can save time and hassle by just hiring a professional pest control provider. The best companies have the expertise to treat both gnat larvae and adult larvae with their effective customized treatment to help get rid of gnat infestation completely. Some companies do carry out follow-up services to completely ensure you got a pest-free yard and you can enjoy a sound sleep afternoon on your yard.
5. Gnats Repellents
For yards that gnat infestation is not rampant, you may opt to get either homemade or commercial repellent.
Gnats Life Cycle
The Gnats go through four stages of their limited lifespan (which is about 1 week). However, during its life span, it can cause damages to both plants and a lot of nuisance to human beings. The life cycle includes; Egg-Larva/ Maggot-Pupa-Adult.
How to Prevent Gnat Infestation
Nothing can ruin your yard than uninvited swam of gnats swarming around your yard. Whereas they may be harmless, it may be a good plan to take preventive measures in your yard to prevent gnats infestation. The following measures will go a long way in having gnats free yard:
- Control the watering patterns to allow yard/ outdoor garden to dry. Minimizing moisture and controlling stagnant water will go along way in minimizing hospitable nursery for gnats to flourish.
- Clean up your yard. Always bag grass clippings, rake leaves and any other dead plant leaves and materials. These materials once they rot can attract fungus gnats to your yard. Using a composting bins with lids for your yard can be a good idea to help compost your kitchen waste materials. Always make sure your yard is clean to prevent gnats infestation and their associated nuisance.
- Get gnats predators (Nematodes). “Steinernema feltiae” and “Steinernema carpocapsae” nematodes have been used to effectively get rid/ reduce the number of fungus gnats. Nematodes lives in the soil and mostly feeds on newly hatches gnat maggot/larvae, getting rid of them before they fly and reproduce the next generation.
- Minimize use of organic fertilizer on your yard.
- Discard top inch soil of any gnat infested potted plants. Getting rid of an inch of top soil of pottered infested plants will help get rid of both eggs and larvae, ensure you put it on a sealed container to break the life cycle of the gnats.
- You can also put sticky traps on your yard and change it often.
- Check for sign of gnats in your yard. Cut a piece of potato and set chunks in the soil on your yard. Check after two days for any sign of gnats, if present discard it in a sealed container. Once done you can cut another and repeat the procedure. Fungus gnats likes a damp organic material to lay eggs on it.