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As any entomologist would tell you, a gnat is one of many species of tiny, flying insects—biting and non-biting—in the dipterid suborder Nematocera, especially those in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae and Sciaridae. But you don't need to know any of that, because it won't help with getting rid of them.
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The gnats typically found in and around our homes are commonly called fruit flies, midges, or no-see-ums. Regardless of what you call them, getting rid of gnats can be difficult, but not impossible. Here are a couple of old-school techniques (plus a couple of high-tech options) to try and the tools you'll need to get started:
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #1: Use Fly Paper
For generations, old-fashioned sticky fly paper has been a trusted way to catch and kill flying bugs, including gnats. Simply hang the sticky paper wherever you see gnats and wait for them to become stuck in the exposed adhesive.
Traditional ribbon fly paper works well in most areas. But if you’ve got gnats congregating at your windows, try window fly traps. Just stick these rectangular clear plastic sheets to the windowpane, then peel off the protective facing to expose the bug-trapping adhesive.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #2: Use Rotten Fruit
How better to trap fruit flies than with fruit? Places several pieces of rotted, over-ripe fruit in a medium-size bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Then, use a round toothpick, narrow skewer or similar object to poke several holes in the plastic. The gnats, attracted by the rotting, fermented fruit, will crawl through the holes. But once inside the bowl, they won’t be able to find their way out.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #3: Use Cider Vinegar
This proven technique challenges the old adage: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Into a bowl, add one-half cup of warm water, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, four to six drops of liquid dish soap, and one tablespoon of sugar. Mix well with a fork until the sugar dissolves and all the ingredients are well blended. Place the bowl anywhere you notice gnats. The scent of the sugar and vinegar will attract the gnats, but once they dip in for a sip, they’ll become trapped by the dish soap.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #4: Use a Wine Trap
Next time a bottle of wine turns stale or vinegary, don’t dump it. Instead, use it to make a simple gnat trap. This technique is similar to the cider vinegar trap mentioned above. Pour the old wine into a bowl, add a few drops of liquid dish soap, then set the bowl out in the open. For heavy gnat infestation, set out a few wine traps along with some vinegar traps.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #5: Use a Candle Flame
This simple tip works well inside and out, especially at night. Put a tall tapered candle into a candlestick; be sure it’s stuck in tightly. Set the candlestick in a shallow pan that’s partially filled with water. Light the candle, turn off and lights, and wait for the gnats to flock to the flame. Any bugs that aren’t instantly incinerated will fall into the water and drown.
⚠️ Never leave a burning candle unattended, keep candles well away from children and pets, and don’t place candles near curtains or any other flammable material.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #6: Use Ultraviolet Light
Use light—ultraviolet light, that is—to bring gnats to their knees First, UV light-powered indoor fly traps like those by Katchy and FENUN use a Ultraviolet rays to attract the insects. Then, a small fan sucks them down into a chamber and onto a glue board, where they lie trapped for the rest of their days (hours?).
If you're desperate and have a couple of dollars to spare, these high-tech options can help you avoid the hassle of dealing with gloopy vinegar and soap concoctions. They're clean, quiet and—dare we say it—even kind of stylish. Honestly, we love any machine that'll zap a pest to Kingdom come.
How to Get Rid of Gnats Technique #7: Combine and Conquer
Ultimately, if you've got a particularly bad gnat problem, the best course of action may be to combine a couple of different techniques.
For example, try rolling up a rectangular sheet of fly paper into a cone and slide it into the opening of your wine bottle. (For the best effect, make sure to roll the cone tightly.) Most of the gnats that are attracted to the mixture will get stuck to the paper. Those that somehow slip through will get trapped in the bottle.
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