Gnats are some of the most aggravating insects on the planet, and their positive traits are often overlooked amid all their swarming. Gnats are a food source for bats, larger insects, and birds. Gnats also play a crucial part in the environment by aiding in the natural process of pollination, helping flowers, crops, and agricultural areas thrive.
When found in nature, gnats can be annoying but pose no serious threat. However, when they work their way into your home, they quickly become a pest in need of extermination. They can infest your home and become a health hazard for you and your family. Learning how gnats survive and their behaviors can help you eliminate them.
What Are Gnats?
There are many species of gnats, and they are all scientifically classified under the Order Diptera. They are extremely small in stature and are typically seen in clusters. Gnats are attracted to decaying organic matter and moisture, making them exceptionally fond of potted plants. They seek out damp areas that provide food and shelter for breeding. Gnats can be found thriving in garbage disposals, around overripe fruits, in trash cans, or anywhere with favorable conditions.
Depending on the species, gnats consume a variety of different things. In nature, gnats have been observed eating scales, aphids, plants, other insects, fungus, and even blood. When indoors, they will eat food crumbs, fruits, vegetables, sugars, syrups, grease, oils, and houseplants. Gnats are very opportunistic and can thrive where food and moisture are abundant.
When gnats breed, males swarm in large numbers above streets and large fields. This typically occurs close to dusk, and the swarms are referred to as ghosts. Female gnats will lay their eggs on water or land, depending on the species in question. Overwatered houseplants or outdoor potted plants are prime locations for gnats to lay their eggs. The young will thrive on the excess moisture and decaying plant material as they grow.
What Do Gnats Look Like?
Gnats are small, winged insects with long legs. They have one pair of wings, six legs, and antennae. They are typically gray or black with clear, membranous wings. They are weak fliers and can easily be swatted or slapped, but their sheer numbers can be overwhelming when dealing with an infestation. Gnats are most often observed in clusters, especially when they are in mating swarms.
Where Do Gnats Live?
Natural areas with oversaturated soil such as lowlands, bogs, swamps, ponds, and lakes are where gnats are most common. That said, gnats can thrive on your property if you have moisture issues, such as poor landscaping, overwatered plants (mostly potted plants), unsanitary trash containers, decaying ground covers such as leaves, or any other ground covering debris. They can also breed inside your home in unsanitary drains, houseplants, around overripe fruit or vegetables, or in areas of water damage due to underlying moisture issues.
Gnats are found throughout the United States and commonly infest areas of Atlanta; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Houston. Fortunately, Bulwark Exterminating has locations in these areas with experts who are ready to help you get rid of your pest problems.
Common Problems With Gnats
Overall, gnats are filthy due to their breeding and feeding habits, which makes them a health risk to you and your family. As they breed and feed in unsanitary conditions, they can spread pathogens known to cause illness in humans and pets to the surfaces of your home. Not all species of gnats bite, but some do, such as black gnats. Female black gnats consume blood in preparation for reproduction, needing the protein to complete the reproductive process. If such gnats are carrying pathogens, they can pass along diseases to humans, pets, and livestock.
How To Get Rid of Gnats
Gnats are opportunistic and will find their way inside your home in search of food and shelter. They often enter your home through open doors or windows, but entryways aren’t always so obvious. Soil-breeding gnats, more often than not, find their way into your home when houseplants are transported inside. Once indoors, they will use your house and its resources to propagate, especially if you allow for unsanitary conditions.
Practicing preventive methods will help you get rid of gnats on your property and in your home. Keeping your yard well-maintained and correcting any areas that are overly saturated with water will help to reduce places where gnats can breed. Cleaning outdoor trash containers and clearing your yard of decaying debris such as fallen trees and leaves will also help in your battle to get rid of gnats.
Maintaining a clean house without moisture or humidity issues plays a significant part in keeping gnats at bay. Ensuring that your kitchen is clean and sanitary helps deter gnats as you keep trash in an enclosed bin with a lid, maintain clean drains devoid of food crumbs and grease, and properly store pet foods. Keeping your kitchen counters clean and discarding overripe fruits or vegetables will also help you eliminate your gnat problem. If you have houseplants, you will need to maintain the proper moisture content in the soil by not overwatering to deter gnats from breeding.
Practicing these methods will go a long way toward reducing the gnat population in and around your home. If you feel that you are overwhelmed with a gnat infestation, contact Bulwark Exterminating and let our trained technicians help you clear your home of gnats and other pests. An expert exterminator can assess your situation, identify the pest, design a plan to eliminate the threat, and put preventive measures in place to keep your home free from pests. Gathering information on how to get rid of gnats will help you better protect your family and your home.