4 Things You Need To Know About Gnats

Gnats, also known as house mosquitoes, are tiny flying insects that can cause major problems for people, both indoors and outdoors. Here are four things you need to know about gnats.

How do you identify them?

Gnats are small, flying pests with light brown bodies. Their bodies are mostly plain, with no markings on their wings, legs, or heads, though the females have light brown or cream colored bands on their abdomens. You may mistake them for mosquitoes; this is an easy mistake to make if you aren't an entomologist because mosquitoes and gnats are related and quite similar.

Why are they pests?

Walking through a cloud of gnats is annoying, but gnats are much more than just a nuisance. These tiny pests can spread bacteria, including the bacteria that causes conjunctivitis (pink eye). Gnats feed on eye secretions, and if they land on someone who has pink eye, and then land on you, you could get the infection. Gnats have been responsible for outbreaks of conjunctivitis in the United States in the past.

Gnats can also spread gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach that is also called stomach flu. The gnats pick up bacteria when they land on contaminated surfaces, and if they land on your kitchen counters, cutlery, or food, you could get sick. For these reasons, controlling gnats is essential.

How can you control them outdoors?

Gnats breed in standing water, just like mosquitoes do, so controlling outdoor water sources is the best way to control them. Empty any containers that have filled with water, like buckets, watering cans, and plant saucers. Carefully check your property for smaller sources of standing water, like bottle caps that have filled with rainwater.

Some sources of standing water are easy to overlook. For example, clogged gutters provide the perfect place for gnats to breed, but since they're out of sight, you may not think to check them.

How can you control them indoors?

To keep gnats out of your house, make sure that your windows have tight-fitting screens. If possible, replace your standard mesh screens with a fine mesh screen that is designed to keep out gnats and other tiny insects.

Even if your screens are in good repair, gnats can still enter your home. They can hitch a ride in potted plants, and when you water the plant, you'll provide standing water for them to breed in. To avoid this problem, re-pot any plants you purchase, and make sure not to overwater them. Pesticides can also be sprayed on the plants to keep gnats at bay.

If you're having trouble keeping gnats under control, ask a pest control company like Commonwealth Exterminating Co for help.