September 19, 2020
Around this time of the year, it is common to encounter fruit flies, or gnats inside our homes. I have been researching about gnats, because they have recently invaded my home. Today I would like to help you identify the differences between the gnat, and the fruit fly. Finally, I want to discuss how you can get rid of them.
A gnat is any of many species of tiny flying insects in the dipterid suborder Nematocera, especially those in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae and Sciaridae. They can be both biting and non-biting. Most often they fly in large numbers, called clouds. Wikipedia
Life Cycle of a gnat: About three days after an adult female deposits eggs, they hatch and larvae emerge. The larval stage lasts about 10 days before reaching the pupal stage. Pupae develop into adulta after about 4 days. In total, a new generation of fungus gnats can appear every 17 days.”www.orkin.com
How long do gnats live inside?
The life cycle is about four weeks, with continuous reproduction in homes or greenhouses where warm temperatures are maintained. Adults live about 7 to 10 days and deposit eggs on the moist soil surface or in soil cracks. Females lay up to 100 to 300 eggs in batches of 2 to 30 each in decaying organic matter.www.doyourownpestcontrol.com
What Do Gnats Eat?
- Organic matter in a stage of fermentation and decomposition.
- Slime produced by moist, organic matter that accumulates in poorly maintained drains, garbage containers, garbage disposals and other sources of waste products.
“It turns out that gnats swarm because of the birds and bees. … The term gnat is a collective word for many species of small flies that do not bite. In some areas, gnatsare also called midges. Gnats only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, so swarming is an important part of their survival as a species. Swarms of these tiny insects are beneficial for mating, according to Live Science. The swarms make it easier for the male and female gnats to find each other and mate, While the swarming makes mating easier for gnats, it also makes them more susceptible to predators, which is why they are beneficial to our ecosystem. These tiny bugs serve as an important food source for many animals, including birds, bats and large insects, theWashington Post reports. In addition, they help pollinate plants and flowers. Most gnats don’t bite and are simply a nuisance because of their swarming behavior. An exception to this is biting midges, also known as no-see-ums, according to Live Science. These tiny bugs are barely visible, but do have a painful bite.”www.reconnectwithnature.org
Gnat Infestation Throughout Your House?
Kitchens aren’t the only place that fruit flies can live, but it’s the most likely spot.If you’re seeing swarms of small flies in a room other than the kitchen, it’s probably a hoard of gnats. Why? Well, fruit flies love fermented food like decaying fruits, beer, wine, and vinegar.They’re usually not going to venture too far from the source of all of that, which is primarily found in the kitchen.Gnats on the other hand……have a much more varied diet.While they do love the taste of fruits and vegetables, they’re also attracted to mold, plant leaves, and even blood. These items are not limited to the kitchen, so if you’re seeing a swarm elsewhere, look out, you’ve probably got gnats.“peststrategies.com
What is the difference between a fruit fly and a gnat?
Fruit flies usually ride into your home as eggs embedded on the surfaces of fruit and vegetables, whereas gnats generally enter the home in the soils of potted plants.
Gnats like to hover in groups, whereas fruit flies only congregate together when lots of food sources are present (for example: a bowl of fruit sitting on the kitchen counter).”peststrategies.com
The following are causes of gnats inside your house:
“Moisture: Moist breeding grounds for gnats include food spillage, moist potting soil, overwatered grass or plants, garbage cans, puddles in kitchen or outside your house, leaky pipes under the sink, and condensation around windows and vents.”Dengarden.com
Where do gnats come from?
“Most species live and reproduce in decaying organic matter that is moist and shaded. Other species are attracted to overly ripened fruits and vegetables as well as garbage receptacles that are not properly covered. Some gnats live and breed in the soil of potted plants that contain excessive moisture.”www.terminix.com
Hopefully by now, you can identify if your pests are gnats or fruit flies. Never fear, even if you are not certain the homemade solutions/traps work for both. I experimented with the following four traps:
• Ball jar with paper funnel
• Ball jar with Saran Wrap cover with tiny holes made with a toothpick
• Ball jar with metal lid with punched out holes
• Water bottle with inverted top
I used the same homemade solution for each trap:
• 1 cup water
• 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of sugar
• 2 teaspoons of dawn dish soap
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Gnat Trap—Ball jar with Saran Wrap top:
- A Ball jar or other small container
- 3 tablespoons apple cider or distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dawn dish soap
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber band or duct tape
- A toothpick
“Add the vinegar, water, sugar, and dish soap to the mason jar. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and secure it with the rubber band. Using the toothpick, pole several small holes in the saran wrap. The apple cider and sugar make an excellent fruit fly lure.” tipsbulletin.com
Paper funnel trap:
Add the same solution (water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, & soap) to another Ball jar. Use a piece of paper to create a funnel to place inside the top of the jar. It should be wide enough at the top to keep it from falling all the way in. The bottom tip of the funnel should not touch the liquid at the bottom of the jar. You can trim it a little to keep it from touching. (Please refer to the photo)
Household Ingredient Gnat Trap Using a Water Bottle:
“Wash a plastic beverage bottle and cut off the top. Mark the center of the bottle with a permanent marker. This will serve as a “fill to” line. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of sugar in 1/4 cup of vinegar and pour it into the bottle. Add water up to the fill line. Place the cutoff top upside down in the bottle. The gnats can easily get into the wide opening, but it’s difficult for them to get back out. Place this on your kitchen counter or any area where you’ve seen a lot of gnats congregating.” familyhandyman.com
Overripe Banana Gnat Trap
“If you only want to trap the gnats and not kill them, a banana trap is inexpensive gnat control solution that will get rid of gnats in your house without killing them. Place an overripe banana in a small bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.Use a toothpick to make several small holes in the plastic wrap to allow the fruit flies to enter the bowl. Once the fruit flies enter the bowl to get to the banana, they won’t be able to get back out. When enough of the bugs get trapped in the container, you can take the bowl outside and unwrap it to let the fruit flies out.“tipsbulletin.com
“The Most Classic (and Our Winner) Method: The Jar with Holes in the LidTo be honest, our final method (and our hands-down winner) was the one I was also most dubious about. In this method, you take a Mason jar and punch a few tiny holes in the lid with a hammer and nail. My husband did this for me and the holes seemed really small — way too small for flies to get in.But I guess fruit flies arereallytiny, because when I went to check this trap at the end of the week, it was FULL of dead flies. Seriously at least 50 — I couldn’t count them all! (So gross, and so satisfying at the same time!)“ Faith Durandthekitchn.com
Are There Fruit Flies in Your Drains (or Something Else)?
“Oftentimes, you’ll spot a few fruit flies hovering around your kitchen, stopping every once in a while to take a slurp of a fruit’s juices.While this is gross, hear us when we say this: that may not be the only type of fly in your kitchen.It’s easy to assume that fruit flies will fly right into the drain of your sink, maybe to take a sip of water after they’ve fed. And yet, this isn’t necessarily the case.There’s another type of fly that lives primarily in wet drains called the drain fly, and to the casual observer, these two species of insects can look very similar.How to tell drains flies apart from fruit flies…Fruit flies have very sleek bodies while drain flies, on the other hand, have wings that spread out like a moth’s and a huge tuft of fur on their heads.Drain flies tend to feed on stuff that is fermenting in your drain.“peststrategies.com
How to get rid of drain flies?
Pour in 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda plus a cup of white vinegar. Allow it to work its magic overnight then flush the drain with hot or boiling water the next morning. This will sanitize the drain and kill the flies and their eggs.Roto-Rooter.com
Another way to get rid of drain flies:
- First clean the drain, from outside. …
- After this, use a metal pipe brush and push it through the pipe, move it in a up and down motion to clean the sides of the pipe. …
- Next, pour a drain cleaner gel into the pipe trying to coat the sides of the pipe.
Have you ever experienced a problem with either gnats or fruit flies? What trap did you try? Please share about your experience in the comments. Thank you for sharing!