Need Help with Gnats PLEASE

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

I am not sure WHAT forum to post this on, but since this has "clean" in it, I chose it.... if you know of a better location- -suggestions are appreciated.

I have an "gnat" infestion at my house and I have tried everything to get rid of it. sometimes in the past when a banana peel or whatever was left in the trash or compost bucket small gnats would appear, but as soon as the item (banana peel, apple peel) was removed the gnats would disappear.

For the past two weeks I have had small gnats swarming around my kitchen sink and i have tried everything I can think of to get rid of them. The majority seem to land on my window above the sink. I have tried cleaning and cleaning and cleaning..... and I have even sprayed flying insect killer and spider killer on my window. That seemed to make a dent in them, but I can not seem to get rid of them. They are too small to eliminate each one by hand..... and are hard to hit with sprays as well without just spraying the entire area.....

I have scrubbed, put out vinegar to try to run them off, put out water in containers to try to attract them to it to drown them,.....put small amount of cooking oil in a container trying the same approach and NOTHING is working!! They are driving me crazy and I don't know what else to try.................. I have never had this problem, and never heard of anyone else having it, but I would sure appreciate any suggestions that you think might get rid of them for good!


Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Are you using organic matter in your house plants? i,e. soil, I have found that that will attract them and they lay their eggs in it. Do you have any house plants in your window?

Google Heloise and ask what to clean your kitchen drain with. Can't remember if she says vinegar or soda or??? Think she says to leave it overnight or something. But, she is normally pretty good. I think usually the vinegar trick does it. Another DGer made some small funnels out of waxed paper or something and put them in a little vinegar and I am assuming they went down the funnel and drowned. Anyway ask Heloise. Good luck

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

Thanks! I have tried soda with vinegar in my sink drains because i had wondered if they were coming from there. I have a small orchid near my kitchen window that i purchased about a month ago - and my daughter swore that is where the gnats were coming from, but I never saw any on the plant itself................. I did move the plant to another location but that didn't seem to help, but it did appear the roots of the plant might be rotting or something so maybe that is where it originated. NOW to figure out a way to get rid of them!!

Thank you for your suggestions.... hadn't thought about googling Heloise to see what that says , but I will sure try it!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Think I read to leave it over night. If the roots are rotting they would not go to the top of the soil, but to the bottom of the pot. Not too sure where they would lay their eggs tho. Probably in the top of the soil. Can the orchid take plant mix that is made without soil? Also, if the roots are rotting you need to take it out of the pot and cut those off. They aren't helping the plant any anyway. And sounds like an over-watering problem.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

If the gnats are coming from the orchid soil, douse it with soapy water. Kills them.

You don't see them on the plant because they don't live there, just hatch in the soil.

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

Thanks for that info! Not sure what type of soil is in that orchid - very little soil - mostly roots..... and it is in a tiny pot. I was told to leave it in a tight pot so to speak..... it is a small orchid but that pot has no drain holes and I really purchased it for my daughter and she probably has over watered with no drainage......

I attempted to search Helois but couldn't find a way to search on her sight...... anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of the live ones?

thanks so much for the help!

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

I just googled "gnats in orchid plants" Do the same and you will see lots of articles on how to get rid of fungus gnats. The gnats flying around live for about 6 or 7 days during which time they mate and lay eggs in some dark moist place like orchid soil. From egg to larva to adult takes 21 - 22 days. Kinda like killing fleas, you have to kill all life stages...Many of the links found above also tell how to care for orchid, trim roots, etc.

Here is what I googled

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Why would they put a plant in a pot with no drainage? How do you know the roots are rotting? I would take the plant out of the pot, look at the roots, and if they are indeed rotting, cut that part off and then put the plant in a new pot about an inch larger than the other but make sure it has holes in it.

That is amazing. But then I know nothing about orchids. However I have seen pictures of orchid pots and I thought they had holes all around the pot. Even on the sides??? Can't remember if that is right or not. Google orchid pots and see what they say about them.

LOL, my husband swears that Google knows everything.

Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

Yes that is very strange for an orchid to be in a pot without drainage holes. I grow several and they need very, very little water and need very good drainage. I was having the same problem with the little gnats or fruit flies several months ago and I was trying everything to get rid of them. I was looking for something in my cabinet one day and it turned out I had a potato that had gone very, very bad (it was hidden behind something). Once I got rid of it my gnat problem ended! I was surprised it was not smelling!!

Crozet, VA

At some point in the past I saw a method for getting rid of them by taking a container with water and a squirt of liquid dish detergent and sitting it near the source of the gnats. Supposedly they will be attracted to it and will drown. Sounds much like what you tried with oil and water Gen, but heck maybe the soap will do better.

Good luck with ridding your place of them. How annoying it must be. If the problem has been solved, would you mind writing and letting us know what finally did the trick.


Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

Well, I have tried several things, but I think that I am slowly making a dent in them..... they are almost gone thank goodness....but I think I am going to have to get rid of the orchid that caused them to begin with...... I just can't deal with these things on a regular basis.... I HOPE I am not just between batches!! :)

I will try the soap in water this evening and maybe get the rest of them.... Thanks for the suggestions!


Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Geez, if that's the worst of your problems you're doing good. You'd hate my house. I had a snake in my garbage disposal the other day. Luckily I stuck my hand down there out of habit, checking for silverware, so no harm done, just startled us both.

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

OH my gosh! I don't think I could take that !! I don't have a garbage disposal - but had a snake on my backporch right outside my door last year and I didn't like that!!! I sure don't want him inside my house!!!

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I like snakes. They play their part in the ecosystem plus they're gorgeous.

This particular one had been hurt by one of my cats & was supposed to be under observation in a Tupperware container on the counter but had managed to escape.

Yes, garbage disposals are the spawn of Satan but if I don't run mine it somehow backs up into the dishwasher which I also never use & then water leaks out & causes domino-effect warpage to the floor, cabinets & counter. I'm still upset about that one.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

I compost the majority of my scraps but my husband can make a mess out of the garbage disposal in one day. He knows how to get things into it but does not seem to know where the switch is or how to turn it on. LOL.

I have two sinks in the kitchen so I have two garbage disposals and use them very little. So I have the happiest worms in the neighbor. Sharon

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

We once killed a lot of gnats and got rid of them, here is what we did.
Put a peeled very ripe banana on an old dish or tray and set it on the counter around the area where they gather. Let them come to the fruit and when you have a lot of them on it, spray them quickly and kill them. You will only have to do this once or twice.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Whatever works, but I think you must find what is attracting and supporting them first.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I finally got rid of them by chemical warfare. I bought BATS-Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub and diluted it down for my houseplants. It worked.

Berkeley, CA(Zone 9a)

some say BT works to kill them

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Might on the larvae.But, if the larvae are in the soil, does BT work below ground? I remember years go the gypsy moths were so bad in the Seattle area that they used crop dusters to spay the whole area (in the south county) with BT at like 3 o'clock in the morning. But, you see the moths come from the cats. Above ground.

Savannah, GA

I've gotten rid of tiny flies by putting out a dish with apple cider vinegar with a bit of fresh fruit juice (about 4 vinegar to 1 juice) and 1 or 2 drops of dishwashing liquid. They show up here any time I've been the least bit slack about taking things out to the composter outside, and heaven help us if we let a piece of fruit go bad! Then it's 2 dishes of vinegar!

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

That's a good idea! I didn't try vinegar, but I bet that would have worked better than the straight water and dishwashing liquid I was using. Thankfully they are gone at the moment and have been for several weeks so I hope we have finally stopped the cycle!

I will try to remember this in case I ever experience this again!

Brooklyn, NY

pour you a cap full of gain liquid laundry detergent just like you would for the wash, pour it down all your drains and let them sit dont run water on it let it sit for several hours and that should do the trick

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Funny, I have not had any all winter even tho I have left bananas and tomatoes plus the Banana peels lying on the counters. Must be that the cold weather has killed them. BUT, that would also mean they were outside and coming in wouldn't it? My house isn't cold enough to kill them.

Morganza, LA

Gnats hate vanillia! I spray cheap vanillia musk perfume on to keep them off outside, maybe a little extract and h2o in a spray bottle would rid you of their company!

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

What an interesting tidbit of information! Thanks!! I will have to remember that if I have a problem again....that is bound to smell better than bug killer !!!

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