9 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Gnats in Your Backyard

In Lawn & Garden, Tips by Jamie

Gnats are seriously the worst. Have you ever had to deal with them? They get in your face and all around you and it seems like no matter how much you swat them away, they just come back. When there is one gnat around, there are usually a ton of gnats around and they are so hard to get rid of.

You might find them around your fruit or around wet and muddy areas. It also might seem like they are hanging out for no good reason too. While it might seem like they are impossible to get rid of, there are actually some easy ways that you might be able to try.

We will share 9 easy ways to get rid of gnats in your backyard. Read on!

So, What are Gnats? 

what are gnats, gnats on catcher

You already know that gnats are a nuisance but what are they really? Gnats are like a very small fly. There are different types of them. In fact, those gnats around your fruit are probably really fruit flies rather than gnats. They are incredibly similar and usually can be handled the same ways as gnats can be.

Gnats are part of the fly family, but they are tiny species. Fruit flies and drain flies fall into the gnat category. Some gnats bite but there are many species that don’t bite as well. They often stick together in annoying swarms of tiny little flies. Those swarms are formally known as clouds.

Are There Different Types of Gnats?

We gave you an example of fruit flies above but that’s not all.

Some other common types are drain gnats and fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are the most common outside. You find them a lot in areas that have a lot of water or perhaps have bountiful plants and grasses too. They like wet soil, which is why there are so many gnats around. They even lay eggs there to continue to multiple the population.

Drain flies live in drains so you might find them near septic tanks, any type of drain, sewers, and even guttering systems. They thrive on water, particularly stagnant water.

Gnats show up far easier than they should, and it seems like getting rid of them can be a challenge. You’ll see some simple options soon.

Why Do I Have So Many Gnats Outside My House?

Gnats Outside My House?

There are many reasons that gnats might be present. It’s not even necessarily that you’ve done anything wrong. However, they do prefer specific environments so if you have an area that supports that life, it could be why you are seeing gnats in your backyard.

For example, moist soil is an attractant for fungus gnats. If you have plants or soil or a flower bed, it’s possible that’s what the gnats are attracted to. They lay eggs in the soil and then just continue to multiply.

Another common attractant might be water. If you have stagnant water anywhere, that could be attracting gnats like drain flies. Don’t leave buckets of water to just sit around. Try to avoid locations that have stagnant water for these pesky things.

Some other common things that attract gnats are decomposing organic matter and moist organic matter. Fruits and vegetables are attractants but so is waste, sewage, drain water, and more. And gnats will breed in any of these areas, so they just continue to multiply.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Your Backyard

Now that you understand just what gnats are and what they are attracted to, let’s talk about getting rid of those critters. Honestly, there is nothing more annoying than walking around or sitting outside and being clouded by gnats.

Check out these options.

1. Discover and Kill the Breeding Source

This is a pretty logical solution but sometimes it is easier said than done. Use some of the above details to try to figure out just exactly where those gnats are making a home. Once you figure out where it is, get rid of it.

If you have a bucket of water that’s been sitting by your front porch for weeks, get rid of it. Maybe you’ve found a plant or a specific place in your flower bed that the gnats are breeding and growing. Get rid of it.

We’re not saying you can’t have a flower bed. You can. However, you should be aware that this could lead to gnats. At some point you will have to decide whether it’s worth it or you want to find another approach to get rid of the gnats. There are other tools.

If you can identify where the gnats are breeding and hanging out, try to eliminate that source. That’s really the best way to get rid of gnats for good.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Trap Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 32 Ounce - 1 Pack

One common DIY solution is to create a trap for gnats using apple cider vinegar. This is pretty simple, and you likely have everything you need around the house anyway. The thing is that gnats love the smell of apple cider vinegar. It has those apple tones in it so it’s sweet. Fruit flies in particular will swarm to this, but many other types of gnats will too.

It’s really simple too. Here’s what you need.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Jar, bowl, or dish
  • Dish detergent

You just create a solution that uses mostly apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. Stir it together well and then just set it out close to your gnat problem area. The sweet smell will draw in the gnats. Once they get too close, they won’t be able to backtrack. They will stick in the mixture thanks to the dish soap.

3. Stick Fly Paper Stingmon 20 Pack Fly Strips, Fly Trap Indoor/Outdoor, Fly Ribbon Tape, Gnat Killer Trap for Flies

A common choice for fighting gnats is sticky fly paper. This paper is designed to attract gnats and flies both. Once they come to it, they stick to the paper never to bother you again. Since you’re working on a gnat problem outside, you can use a simple thumb tack to hang them. The sticky paper will hang in a spiral and flies and gnats will attach to that paper.

The downside to these is they aren’t all that pretty to look at. However, you can choose slightly inconspicuous places to put them, so they aren’t too noticeable. They also don’t always last a really long time. It just depends on how quickly the stick paper gets full and whether it hangs so long it is no longer stick.

All of that said, you can easily replace them and they’re an affordable solution. If you keep them hanging in problem areas, you will notice a significant decrease in your gnat population.

4. Electric Bug Zapper or Catcher FENUN Fly Traps, Gnat Trap, Moth Traps, Mosquito Catcher Indoor with 10 Sticky Glue Boards Mosquito Traps (Black)

Theses electric tools have come a long way. They used to just be huge wire cages that looked and sounded pretty scary. Over time, technology has improved and so have the design of electric bug zappers.

Some devices will just zap the gnats while others might zap or catch. If you choose to use a bug catcher, it will likely have some sort of sticky paper that goes inside. The gnats are attracted to the light that is emitted from the device. They enter it and they either get zapped or they get caught and trapped with no release.

These zappers are safe, and they won’t have any effects like scary noises, odors, or toxic emissions. They are just there working quietly in the background for you. You might also be able to find zappers thar are almost like a toy. Some come shaped like a bat, or a tennis racket and you can swat flies or gnats that approach you.

5. Wine and Dish Soap

Dish soap is often helpful because it creates a stick situation for gnats that are brave enough to enter. Wine and dish soap can be a great tool. You don’t even have to waste a ton of wine fighting the gnats. When you finish off your favorite bottle of red wine, save the bottle and the last few drips of wine that are inside of it. Red wine works best but sweet white wine could work as well.

Take that bottle and drip just a few trickles of dish soap down inside of it. You don’t need a lot, just enough to coat the bottom slightly. Give it a swish or shake to help move the dish soap around.

The gnats will come looking for that sweetness and become intoxicated by the wine and stuck by the dish soap. The elements work together here.

6. Egg Trap

 Next up, take a look at various egg trap solutions. No, we don’t mean using an egg. What we mean is a trap that is designed to encourage gnats to lay eggs inside and then the eggs and the gnat get trapped. When the eggs can’t release, there are no baby gnats that continue to popular and annoy you.

This is a great way to stop the booming growth of gnats straight from the source. You’re stopping the eggs from hatching, which stops the multiplying of gnats that never seems to end.

7. Gnat Traps Fruit Fly Trap with Sticky Pads,Gnat Trap with 4 Bait for Indoor and Outdoor,Effective Fly Catcher Gnat Trap Killer ,Sticky Gnat Traps, Non-Toxic and Odorless Fly Trap for Plant/Home/Kitchen(2 Pack)

There are specialty traps that are designed specifically for flies and gnats and don’t have those long sticky paper strands. Gnat traps can be really useful and are actually suitable for indoor or outdoor. The nice thing is that if you buy the right kind you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals or any type of odd odors.

Options like the ones we shared here have two different methods to get rid of your gnat problem. The first is a stick piece that sticks up. When the gnats approach it, they get stuck on it and meet their doom. The other piece is little holes that the gnats can fly into, but they won’t be able to get out of thanks to the solution you put inside. This is a great place for your apple cider vinegar and dish soap solution to go.

8. Citronella Spray and/or Candles

If you’re hanging out in the backyard or on the patio, you can typically keep gnats, flies, and mosquitoes at bay with something like citronella. Citronella has both sprays and candles that you can use. The sprays will deter the gnats or kill them when they touch it. The candles will do the same.

Hausware Citronella Candles Outdoor and Indoor Scented Candles Gift Set 4 Pack Soy Wax Candle

Candles emit odors and fumes that gnats and other insects simply don’t like. It’s designed to repel them away, so they simply leave you alone.

9. Flame Torch

TomCare Solar Lights 99 LED Higher & Larger Flickering Flame Solar Torch Lights 43" Waterproof Outdoor Lighting Solar Powered Pathway Lights Landscape Decoration Lighting for Garden Patio Yard, 4 Pack

Some people use a candle trap but why not just go all out and get a flame torch? Gnats and other insects have a love-hate relationship with flames. The light of the flame attracts them, and they simply aren’t smart enough to not get too close, so they get burned in the process. Bye by gnats.

Related Questions

What Time of Year are Gnats Most Common?

You are most likely to see gnats in the springtime, but this is not always the case. This just happens to be the time that there is fresh fruits, vegetables, soil, and water in abundant supply. Flowers and plants are coming home and being set up and gnats can be anywhere.

Will Gnats Damage Your Yard?

While gnats might seem harmless other than just being annoying, they actually aren’t good to have around. They feed off of plants and can cause damage to plants, flowers, your lawn, and more. They also have been known to cause some health issues too.

How Can You Prevent Gnats from Getting Inside Your Home?

You might not be able to prevent it completely since you never know if they are coming home with you on plants or even fruit. However, you can be proactive and do your best to prevent it. Simple things like taking out the trash, keeping fruits and vegetables covered and put away, and being mindful of how much you water your plants can significantly help.

Final Thoughts

Gnats can be a major nuisance, but you don’t have to just put up with them. You can be proactive in trying to prevent them but there are also plenty of solutions you can turn to in your efforts to eliminate gnats and keep them at bay. We hope one of these solutions will work for you!