No-seeums, gnats, bitty flies… no matter what you call them, they’re known for being downright annoying. If you’ve recently moved from up north or out west and think there seem to be more of them here, you’d be right. Our area is south of the Gnat Line, according to entomologists (bug experts) – also called the Fall Line by geologists. The Gnat Line is where the Piedmont meets the Coastal Plains. The soils are sandier and the climate far more humid – conditions gnats, fruit flies and related pests thrive in.
Preventing Fruit Flies and Gnats
Prevention is the best protection. These pesky little fliers can actually be one of several types: fruit fly, drain fly, fungus gnat, eye gnat, sand gnat/fly or black gnat (female black gnats bite and drink blood to get energy to reproduce). Depending on species, these bugs can lay between 150 to 600 eggs in one day, making prevention your best defense. Here are our prevention tips:
- Keep trash in covered bins and take out frequently.
- Don’t let dirty dishes pile up. Wash right away or rinse and put into dishwasher.
- Run garbage disposal on sink with cold water every day to keep it clear of food waste.
- Keep produce in the refrigerator. Ripening or rotting produce, especially fruit, is a major attraction for these bugs.
- Allow indoor plant soil to dry completely between waterings. Constantly moist soil provides an ideal breeding place. If a plant is infested, repot the plant into fresh soil as soon as possible.
- Avoid moisture build-up in your home. Remedy leaks immediately and wring mops dry to avoid creating a breeding space.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies and Gnats
No matter which type of nuisance has invaded your home, most of them are attracted to rotting or decomposing food – or things that smell like it. Making a gnat trap is simple and easy. You’ll need a disposable cup (preferably clear so you can see if it’s working easily), water, apple cider vinegar, dish soap, a rubber band, plastic wrap and a toothpick. Here’s how to put it together:
1. Start with several drops of dish soap in the bottom of the disposable cup.
2. Add equal parts luke-warm water and apple cider vinegar until the cup is close to halfway full.
3. Cover the cup tightly with the plastic wrap and secure it with rubber band.
4. Poke holes in the plastic wrap with the toothpick. The fruit flies / gnats can easily climb in but are unable to get out.
You might want to create a couple of them and place them near where you see fruit flies / gnats most often. The apple cider vinegar smells like rotting produce and attracts the gnats into the cup while the soap in the mixture coats their wings to prevent them from escaping. The warm water dissolves the soap and also enhances the aroma of the vinegar when you first put the trap out.
If these pests have taken over your house plants and re-potting has not solved the problem, garden and home stores carry a product that is essentially a piece of fly paper on a stake small enough to stick into potted plants. There are several brands out to choose from.
Don’t hesitate to call The Pest Force for help with preventing fruit flies or any other pest problem. Our experts can help identify the exact species of bug you’re dealing with and help discover what conditions in your home are allowing them to thrive. We’ll help you get rid of the pests you have and help you prevent this tiny nuisance in the future.