I bring you this blog as I surface from an unfortunate stretch of time that I spent hiding from my kitchen. About a week and a half ago, I came into my kitchen to find that it had been invaded by gnats. Now, the immediate thought is, “Oh, did I leave something out that went bad? Maybe bananas?” But, no. There were no dishes left out, no rotten food. Just a mystery!
Through process of elimination over the next week, I think a gnat must have created baby gnats in our garbage can, which then escaped out into the kitchen. The problem is, that over the week, as I tried method after method of getting rid of them, the gnats would mate, create new baby gnats, and then die in one of my traps, leaving their spawn to continue to haunt my kitchen.
But for posterity, I will now document my attempts to capture and kill the gnats. Vegetarians, vegans, and bug lovers be advised, the following paragraphs may be difficult to read for you.
My first attempt was simply killing them with blunt force i.e. hitting them with a rolled up newspaper. However, the gnats are tiny, bendable, and quick! Almost all of them escaped my efforts.
I followed these attempts with the classic opening of the windows. Even a prolonged period of open windows and doors with removed screens did nothing to get rid of the gnats.
My above failures spurred me to investigate tried and true methods of gnat termination. The internet provided a number of possibilities for me to try. Though, as a note, there are a number of different small flying insects that can be in your house. I settled on calling my invaders gnats, though I am by no means an entomologist and could be totally wrong.
The first of the three versions of traps that I tried, based on advice from the internet, was a concoction of vinegar, sugar, and dish soap. The internet recommends apple cider vinegar, but I only had red wine vinegar. I saw some people had used white vinegar too, so I figured my red wine vinegar would work just fine. The idea is that the gnats are attracted to the sugary sweetness of the red wine and the sugar, but the dish soap both works to break surface tension and drown the gnats as well as breaking down the bugs and killing them. See a picture below of my latest gnat trap with some captured bugs.
I tried this trap and it worked relatively well, but there were still tons of gnats. I then tried filling a plate with the mixture, but that seemed to work less well, so I moved on to trying a new type of trap. I knew that if I didn’t kill them off quickly enough, they would continue to reproduce and I would never get rid of them.
The internet suggests using over-ripe fruit as a lure, but I had no overripe fruit. Instead, I figured if I left orange juice out, that would be similar to both my previous trap and to the overripe fruit trap. With the orange juice, I didn’t add dish soap, so I needed some way to trap the gnats in. Following internet suggestions, I put plastic wrap over the top of a cup of orange juice and poked holes in it. The holes let the gnats in, but they aren’t quite bright enough to find their way back out.
Over the course of two nights, I put out two different cups with just a little bit of orange juice. I trapped many bugs, but I still had some left. My final stage of trap experimentation was using candles. The idea is to light a candle that is set in a small dish of water. The gnats are attracted to the light and either burn up in the flame or fall into the water and drown. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this trap to be that helpful. I don’t think that I caught many gnats this way.
On the last day of my gnat killing adventure, I used another of my original red wine vinegar traps, which seemed to be one of the most effective. I removed all of the traps and disposed of all of the dead bugs. At this point, there only a few gnats left and hopefully my one remaining trap will catch them over the next couple of days.
I suppose my conclusions from this are two-fold. One, make sure to always take your trash out quickly so that gnats have no time to procreate. Two, vinegar, sugar, and dish soap is the most effective trap that I found, followed closely by the orange juice trap.
While I know this blog post has been a bit abnormal, hopefully anyone looking to deal with a gnat problem is able to learn a little from my experiences.
Sneak peak: Geoprocessing tools?....GAC MAC?.....Control Nets?.....Who knows??