Why Pesky Gnats Seem Worse This Year & How to Get Rid of Them

gnats swarming around a light pole at dusk

Have you noticed more bugs this summer than you remember seeing in years past? Well, the good news is that you’re right. Many more bugs are around this summer than what we’ve seen before.

The bad news is: Summer pest infestations are at an all-time high. But, why now? In short, because of climate change. To learn more about gnats, why they’re bothering you, and how to get rid of them, stay tuned and keep reading. Your trusted experts here at Vulcan Termite & Pest Control are here to answer your burning questions.

How Can I Identify Gnats?

It is good to know exactly the kind of pest you’re dealing with. Most of the time, this is a simple task, but not all gnats are created equal.

First, let’s settle this common misclassification: Gnats are not “baby” flies. Gnats are flies that just so happen to be tiny throughout their life cycle, which can be one to two months.

If you want to get all scientific, all gnats come from the taxonomic order Diptera, like every other kind of flies. You see, the word “gnat” is not the name for one specific insect or group of insects because it is an informal name for small flies, derived from the Latin word culex

More than five species of flies have the word “gnat” in their informal name. Still, “gnat” is what many people call fruit flies even though gnats, like mosquitoes, are from the taxonomic suborder Nematocera, and fruit flies are from the suborder Brachycera. Fruit flies and gnats tend to have different coloring and diets as well.

Gnats fly in large swarms, called “clouds,” or by themselves in areas around the world. The differences in their names, nicknames, and informal classifications vary even more outside of North America. Also, some bite and others do not.

There are, in fact, thousands of types of flies that are considered gnats. For simplicity’s sake, we use gnat to refer to tiny, dark-colored flies in the Nematocera suborder with only one pair of wings and long legs.

Why Won’t These Pesky Gnats Leave Me Alone?

Since it’s summer and climate change has only made things hotter, gnats and other cold-blooded insects are thriving, and they’re everywhere. Much like mosquitoes, gnats need to live in warmer conditions to mate and lay their eggs—thousands at a time. But, if they like the warmth, why do they come inside?

The answer will quickly reveal itself when you look around your home and follow the gnats to the source of what’s attracting them, so long as you know what to look for.

Have you ever noticed how gnats gravitate toward the standing water in your sink, sweet aromas drifting from the fruit bowl on your counter, the sillage of your house plant, and anything with an organic stench (e.g. your cat’s litter box or whatever’s been sitting in your garbage can since you last changed out the trash bag)? 

That happens because gnats love moisture and the scent of things they like to eat: mostly organic waste and matter like potting soil, fresh and rotting produce, plants, and sewage. Gross. 

How Can I Get Rid of These Invasive Pests?

Now that you know what gnats like, you must eliminate those things to keep them from coming back to your home or whatever environment they’re taking over:

#1: Clean the Kitchen 

Start in the kitchen by taking out the trash, clearing the dishes or any standing water from your sink, wiping down and drying countertops, mopping and sweeping the floors, putting a cover on your fruit bowl, and putting food away in sealed containers.

#2: Clean the Bathrooms

Make sure your bathroom is clean and free of sewage, standing water, waste, stray strands of hair, damp towels, or clothes. Get a cover for your toothbrush so the gnats won’t flock to the moisture and your natural oral bacteria and put away any brushes or other grooming accessories.

#3: Check These Other Areas

  • Try to keep windows or doors open only a short time. You let out the air conditioning when you need it most and allow gnats and other insects to crawl or fly right inside.
  • Make sure you aren’t overwatering your plant. A pool of standing water in the soil is like a magnet for gnats ready to lay their eggs.
  • Some plants and soil can be sprayed with a little neem oil to ward off bugs, but do your research, as it doesn’t work for every plant. 
  • Vacuum carpeted areas, especially if they’re in the dining area—where you might drop some crumbs during dinner.

Take Out Those Pesky Gnats

When you’ve tried these tips and nothing seems to get those pesky gnats to go away, you may have a more serious infestation on your hands. Not to worry though because we can help.

Providing superior pest control services to the people of Birmingham, Alabama since 1965, Vulcan Termite & Pest Control in Pelham is a reliable group of experts in extermination and pest solutions you can trust to eradicate unwanted pests in your home or business. We provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your home pest-free!

To get in touch with our pest control specialists, call 205-663-4200. We encourage you to check out more of our blogs for further tips on pest management and prevention.