How to keep gnats out of your room – pest controllers recommend these 10 tricks
Bothered by gnats in your bedroom? Here's why they've made their way in, and what to do to discourage and be rid of them
It's the time of year when gnats start reappearing in our homes. They're pretty harmful, but annoying, so if your bedroom is a hotspot you'll want to take action fast.
There are many ways to get rid of gnats, but if you need to drive them out of your bedroom permanently, first it helps to understand why are there at all.
We spoke to pest controllers, entomologists and renovators to discover what attracts gnats to a bedroom, and how to discourage them. Then, we look at ways to be rid of them.
Why are there gnats in my bedroom?
'Gnats' is one of those terms that we tend to use for small, annoying flies that infest our rooms. However, they are not all the same type of insect, and not all there for the same reason.
Fungus gnats, for example, are often found buzzing around over-watered house plants, so if your search is around getting rid of gnats in plants, those are probably the pests you need to tackle.
Fruit flies, however, which are attracted to fruit, or even spilt soda drinks left on your night stand.
'Gnats are attracted to moisture, garbage, food left out, and ripe or rotted fruit just to name a few. Making sure the bedroom does not have any of these items in it is one way to keep gnats out,' advises Derek Carter, owner of Ohio-based Pests Termination.
How to keep gnats out of a bedroom
As Derek mentions above, gnats are attracted anything from rotting food to water sat in plant trays to water leaking from a tap.
So, your first and easiest route is to fix these with some cleaning and DIY.
1. Clean up sweet, sticky substances
Emma Grace Crumbley, Mosquito Squad Entomologist, says: 'Usually, these pests will enter your house from the outdoors through cracks or holes in your foundation, walls, windows, or doors.
'They will most likely infest trash cans, spoiled fruit, and other moist places where decomposing organic matter is. Be sure to leave food and drink cups out of your bedroom area to prevent gnats from infesting your room.
'Gnats are naturally drawn to any kind of fruity scent, including your body wash, perfume and even your shampoo. To combat this, use unscented soaps or perfume.'
2. Get rid of moisture sources
Usually getting rid of the sources of moisture will solve the issue of gnats in a bedroom. For gnats, specifically, this includes checking drains and under the sink, and other areas that might collect water mixed with other organic matter, including plants.
'In case of drains, it might be best to use an enzyme cleaner that is more effective in getting rid of the organic build-up that the gnats depend on,' advises Moneef Bin Break of Philadephia-based Diagnopest.
'In all cases, identifying and getting rid of the source of the activity is the ultimate way to get rid of gnats. Using an enzyme cleaner is always recommended but you can get it done with a general-purpose cleaner as long as you can stop moisture and organic matter from collecting in the area.'
Flyzyme at Amazon is highly recommended.
3. Treat the soil of bedroom plants
Bedroom plants are wonderful, but they can also be a source of attraction for gnats.
'If you are dealing with gnats in your bedroom, they may be attracted to any potted plants you have in there, since bedrooms don't typically offer the same sources of food that a kitchen does (where gnats are most common),' says Jeremy Yamaguchi and I'm the CEO of Lawn Love.
'If you do have plants in your bedroom, using cinnamon in soil is an excellent natural fungicide that can be used to get rid of gnats. Gnat larvae feed on fungus commonly found in soil, and cinnamon powder effectively kills that fungus. It isn’t an insecticide, so it won’t kill gnats, but it has antifungal properties, so it will deter them by attacking their food source – forcing them to go elsewhere.'
'There is a long list of plants that you can have around your home that will deter gnats, such as geraniums, lemon thyme, lavender, and Mexican marigold,' adds Mosquito Squad's Entomologist Emma Grace Crumbley.
4. Use white vinegar
Lawn Love's Jeremy Yamaguchi suggest getting rid of gnats with white vinegar.
'If the infestation is severe, a good home remedy is to fill Mason jars about two-thirds full with apple cider vinegar, swirl a couple drops of liquid dish soap, cover the jars with Saran wrap, and poke a few small holes with a toothpick. The flies will enter the jars, but will not be able to escape.'
5. Try the candle trick
'One of my favorite tricks is to set a candle in a dish of water and dish soap, then light the candle an hour or so before bed time,' says Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn Austin Lawn Care. 'This should attract most of the gnats in the room to the light to drown in the water, ensuring the bedroom is gnat-free for bed.'
6. Use essential oils
'Certain essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus, can repel gnats,' says Jeff Johnson, owner of Simple Homebuyers.
'Simply add a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser or spray bottle and spray or diffuse it in your bedroom.'
7. Seal up entry points
'Install window screens,' says Jeff Johnson of Simple Homebuyers. 'Window screens can help keep gnats out of your bedroom while still allowing fresh air to circulate. Be sure to keep your windows closed when you're not in the room to prevent gnats from entering, too.'
'Caulk is your best friend if you need to seal entry points throughout your home,' expands Entomologist Emma Grace Crumbley. 'It's inexpensive and can be used around window frames, around air intake and exhaust grilles. Additionally, use caulk to patch small cracks.'
8. Improve air quality and circulation
If you're hunting for the best fan money can buy to tackle the upcoming hot weather, know that they can deter gnats from entering your bedroom, too.
'Gnats are weak fliers and can be easily blown away by a fan. Place a fan in your bedroom and turn it on to keep the air circulating and keep gnats away,' advises Jeff Johnson of Simple Homebuyers.
'Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with gnats in the bedroom,' says Karina Toner here, Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning. 'Because gnats thrive in moist environments, consider using a dehumidifier or air conditioning to reduce the humidity in your bedroom.'
9. Use a bug zapper or sticky traps
'Bug zappers are effective at killing gnats and other flying insects,' says Jeff Johnson of Simple Homebuyers. 'Place a bug zapper in your bedroom and turn it on before going to bed to catch any gnats that may have entered your room.'
'These devices use UV light to attract gnats and other bugs, then zap them with an electric shock. The Hoont Bug Zapper is a popular option that is effective at eliminating gnats,' continues Karina Toner at Spekless Cleaning.
'Insect traps or sticky traps (from Amazon) can help catch any gnats that make their way inside, and natural repellents like peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender oils can be effective at fending them off.'
10. Call in the professionals
'As always, if infestation gets to the point where these basic remedies won’t work, it's time to call a professional to get to the root of the problem and clear your home of these unwanted pests,' advises Emma Grace Crumbley, Mosquito Squad Entomologist.
How do I get gnats out of my room?
Mix a combination of apple cider vinegar and dish soap in a small bowl and place where you have spotted gnats. They will be attracted to the solution and then drown in it. You can also use cut up, rotting fruit. However, be aware that doing this will attract gnats from outside if you haven't already sealed up cracks and entry points, so it's important to do this first.
Can gnats lay eggs in my room?
Yes, gnats will lay eggs in a space that they're happy in, so do look to reduce any conditions that please them, from moist areas, such as over-watered house plants to plates of rotting fruit or sticky spills.
Gnats, like many pests, thrive on your mess, so the key to keeping them out of your room is to be clean and tidy. Cleaning your bedroom daily of leftover food, wiping up spills and ensuring there are no damp conditions (such as wet towels dumped in corners) is key to keeping gnats out. Regularly vacuuming up food particles is a must, too. Lastly, don't leave your bedroom lights on at night when your windows are open: it's an open invitation to gnats.
Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.
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