Can Pest Control Get Rid Of Gnats? (Triangle Exterminators)

March 13, 2020

Due to their particularly tiny size and flying ability, gnats can be very frustrating to deal with. If you have ever encountered them, you would know what I mean. They fly over your head incessantly. They happily go around your eyes, nose, and mouth, buzzing like there is no tomorrow. They are very adept at flying, and at the same time, they are so tiny that it is very hard to catch them. They always seem to be a step ahead of humans. They are even smaller than flies and mosquitoes. 

The word “gnats” is a generic term used for small flying pests like midges, crane flies, and black flies. Some even refer to mosquitoes as gnats too. They could be non-biting, or biting gnats, though usually what we find in our homes are of the non-biting type. There are usually a lot of them during the summer because these insects are attracted to moisture and organic material.

Are you, like many other residents of the Triangle area, having problems with gnats? If you are, let us help you with that. We are Go-Forth Pest Control, the leading pest control company in the Triangle area. With our decades of experience handling all kinds of pests—including gnats—we can certainly give you some helpful tips as you read on.

The first and most important thing in handling pests, as always, is knowing how to identify them. Knowing what they look like, their habits, behaviors, and hiding areas will allow you to get rid of them.

About Gnats

Gnats are tiny insects that fly; they belong to the suborder Nematocera. Since they are smaller than your usual flies, many think of them as baby flies.  This is a misconception, however, as they are already fully grown insects. They are long-legged and are typically small. They are usually around 1/16 inch in length. Gnats are dark in color and with slim bodies. Gnats do not cause major damages inside homes and are merely considered as a nuisance.  The most common types of gnats are fungus gnats, midges, drain gnats, black gnats, fruit flies, and sand flies.

Gnats have three body segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They are considered true insects because of this. They have six legs. Some gnats have one pair of wings while others have two; they are weak fliers though. They have mouthparts that can be used for biting, piercing, or lapping. They have sensitive receptor organs, similar to other small insects. Because of this, they are attracted to the smell of food.

Since they are weak fliers, they will not go beyond their vicinity or far from their eggs. They have a very short lifespan

Gnat Life Cycle

A gnat life cycle develops through 4 stages. These stages are the egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. The tiny eggs hatch in about 3 days at 75 degrees F. It would then take 10 days for the larvae to develop into pupae. Pupae will become adults after 4 days. Then the cycle would start all over again.

Adult female gnats can lay 100 to 150 eggs over their short lives; they only get to live for 5 to 7 days. That is just long enough for them to mate and reproduce. 

Do Gnats Bite?

Yes and no. There are some types of gnats that bite, and some do not. In the United States, they are generally harmless and are a mere nuisance. One type of biting gnats are black flies.

What Are Black Flies?

Black flies are small flies that bite humans, wildlife, livestock, and poultry. Their size ranges from 5 mm to 15 mm. Like mosquitoes, they suck blood to survive; because of this, people are concerned that they may transmit diseases. The truth is, there is no evidence to prove that they do transmit diseases, even if their bites are painful.

Their bites cause different reactions to humans. Some have a small puncture wound where the black fly had its blood meal. Some suffer a swelling on the skin as large as a golf ball. Black fly fever can also affect bite victims. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

These tiny insects are not only a nuisance to humans; they are also threats to livestock. If black flies cannot transmit diseases to humans, they can with the livestock. Some of the diseases they are known to transmit are nematode worms and protozoa. Diseases are not the only problems when it comes to black flies. These insects can actually cause suffocation if there are too many of them. They fly around animals’ noses and throats, effectively blocking airways.

Saliva injected into the skin of animals through black fly bites can cause toxic shock, which may lead to death. Black flies are known to cause death due to blood loss from extreme rates of biting. 

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are black, fragile-looking insects that almost look like mosquitoes. The adults have thin, long legs and long, segmented antennae attached to their heads. They grow to about 1/16 to ⅛ inch long. They have light grey wings. The Bradysia species have Y-shaped veins in the wings.

These are types of gnats that infest soil. potting mix, and other sources of organic decomposition. The larvae feed on fungi, but can also be a huge problem in greenhouses, potted plants, and indoor plantscapes. On the other hand, the adults emerge from indoor houseplants to become nuisance pests.

They are attracted to light, so you would normally see them flying near windows. However, they are weak fliers and do not move around much. They usually stay near potted plants. Despite this, adult fungus gnats do not cause damage to plants. They also do not bite humans. All they are is just being a nuisance to you. However, a large number of larvae can destroy roots and prevent plant growth, especially in seedlings and young plants, and could lead to plant death. 

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are among the most common pests in the kitchen. They like fruits, hence the name. They like fresh or decomposing fruits; it does not matter to them as long as they are fruits. They also like juices high in sugar. They look the same as your typical house fly, only smaller. There are two kinds of fruit flies: the Red Eyed and the Dark-Eyed fruit flies. Red-Eyed fruit flies are ⅛ inch long, while Dark-Eyed fruit flies are 3/16 inch long.

Drain Flies

Drain flies are hairy, light gray or tan colored with a dark border around their wings. They are about ⅛ inch long with antennae attached to their bodies. They like to live in dark and damp areas, a condition they usually find in a drain inside houses. This may be a floor or sink drain. Drain flies do not bite but can aggravate asthma in some people.  

What Are The Things That Attract Gnats?

Gnats like moisture and organic materials. Their short lives are dedicated to finding food and a place to mate. They are attracted to decaying leaves or rotten fruit and areas with plenty of moisture inside houses, like wet sinks and drains and wet potting soil. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, will attract fruit flies, regardless of whether they are fresh or rotten.

Gnats are also attracted to you, and you may be the reason why you have gnats! They like human tears, sweat, mucus from your nose, body heat, and carbon dioxide that you emit. They also like the sweet-smelling perfumes and lotions, detergents, and hair spray.

Lastly, they are attracted to light. They do not see very well in the dark, so they need to get near sources of light like lamps and light bulbs.  

Gnat Control Tips

Here are a few tips on how to get rid of gnats in your home:

1. Remove the source. Fruit flies are attracted to fruits and vegetables, so store them in sealed containers or cover them up. Dispose of fruits that were leftover and rotting. Remove dead leaves on the soil to get rid of fungus gnats. Fixed leaky pipes or faucets to decrease moisture. Clean floor and sink drain regularly.

2. Look for their breeding grounds and kill both the adults and their offspring. Sticky fly traps are still among the most effective ways to kill them. 

3. Use apple cider vinegar for your gnat trap. Apple cider vinegar is effective on all types of gnats. Mix this vinegar and some dish soap in a jar. Apple cider vinegar attracts them, while the dish soap drowns them.

These are some of the easiest, safest, and cheapest ways to get rid of gnats. However, if you find them too much to handle, you can count on the best pest control company in the Triangle area, Go-Forth Pest Control.

Go-Forth Pest Control can safely get rid of your gnat infestation problems.  Call us now for more information.

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