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How Do I Get Rid of Gnats in My House?

Question: How do I get rid of gnats? I'm pretty sure they are gnats at least. They are really, really tiny and look like black dots. I bought a house spray and have been spraying about 4-6 times a week. They are only in my kitchen at the base of my back door. I can't tell where they are coming from. What must I do? P.S. My home is new construction. Would this be a factor?

Answer: If you have gnats in the house, it usually means the presence of one or both of these small flies:

Fungus Gnats: If the flies are small, black, and flying around windows or potted plants; then they are probably fungus gnats. These flies are the most common small fly in houses. They are small, delicate black flies that are weak flyers and often collect at windows. The immature stages are small and maggot-like, but with dark brown heads. They live in the soil of potted plants. The immature stages feed on the decaying organic material in the soil. They generally do no harm to the plant roots.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats

The larvae are common in the moist soil of the plants that have been overwatered and the soil remains wet or very moist. This may occur in the fall when plants are brought inside for the winter, or in the winter when house plants (or office plants) are overwatered. Read more about gnat control.

Fruit Flies: If the flies are small, light brown and seem to be attracted to places in the kitchen, then they are probably fruit flies. To control these flies you have to start with the removal of overripe fruit and vegetables; this is where the larvae live. To remove the adults, which can live for a few weeks, you can place a small amount of vinegar in a shallow pan, and place this pan in locations where the flies are common. They are attracted to the vinegar and some may get trapped in the liquid, and you can use an aerosol to spray the others that are waiting there. Read more about fruit fly control from Orkin.

Close Up of Fruit Fly Feeding

Phorid Flies: If the flies are small, light brown to black, and have a rather jerky or erratic walking behavior when they are on a surface (they run in a zig-zag rather than a straight line) then they may be phorid flies. These are sometimes called sewer flies. They are similar in size to fruit flies, but the walking separates them, and they seem to be active at night, while fruit flies are not. Phorid flies usually have a direct connection to a broken sewer line (inside or outside the house). If these are the flies you have, it is best to get the sewer or septic tank system looked at. Read more about phorid fly control

picture of a phorid fly

Related Questions

Orkin used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by users:

  • Question: I live in the 60136 area, and I have a BIG problem with gnats. I can't open my windows ever! I even had the pests during this past winter when I opened my window "just a little bit.” I don't want to be turning on my air conditioner just to get crisp fresh air! What can I do?

  • Question: I have small black flies in my home. I notice them in the bathroom and on the window sills. We recently bought two new house plants and it seems that most of the flies are in the same room. I have done research, I think they are gnats or fruit flies (no fruits lying exposed). Can you help me identify what type of flies I may have? Also, what measures can I take to get rid of them?

  • Question: How can I kill gnats? How much is your service usually?

  • Question: I have gnats, I think, and I want to know how to get rid of them or how much it would be for you to get rid of them. They are out of control.

  • Question: We have these pesky, small flies. We have no fruit plants. They seem to come from nowhere and we don”t know how to get rid of them without getting rid of our plants or destroying them in the process.

  • Question: I have these tiny green bugs with wings that I keep finding in one room in my house. I find them dead in the windows, around the floors and on the top of the table. They look like a super tiny mosquito.

Answer: These are probably midges that are active this time of year (outside) and are attracted to lights at night … so it might be helpful to turn off outside lights.

  • Question: What can I do about "gnat" bugs? I have a ton of them on my front door and around my windows at night.

  • Question: I have these small flies in my bathroom and kitchen areas. They are very small and they show up in bunches and die within a day. I clean the areas but they are back the next day in small amounts and build up.

  • Question: My apartment has been invaded by these tiny flying insects (I think they are gnats). They don't bite, they're just very annoying and are now getting into my refrigerator.

  • Question: How do you control little flying gnats?

  • Question: What can we do to get rid of gnats in our office?

  • Question: My apartment has become a home to these tiny flying insects. I don”t know what they are, I just call them gnats. I don”t believe they are mosquitoes because I don't see or feel any bites on me. They buzz by my ear, making that tiny high-pitched buzzing sound. I have killed at least 30 of them, but they are next to impossible to catch and kill. I've been swatting at them with anything I can find. I first started noticing them in my bathroom, but now they have taken over the entire place. I know they are crawling on me as I sleep and I can”t handle that! I want to have someone come out and get rid of them! What are they, and what should I do?

  • Question: I have a problem with tiny flying gnats. They are very small—smaller than fruit flies. I have them year round. They are attracted to light and white surfaces. I live in Ohio and there are woods about 50 feet from my house.

  • Question: Where do gnats come from? Do they live in the fruits?

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