Nothing lulls us out of our homes and onto the patio quicker than the warmth of sunshine and the smell of fresh flowers. Unfortunately, the same things that attract us outside also attract pesky gnats. I’m flattered that they appreciate my outdoor area, but I’m also not a fan of uninvited guests. Spraying pesticides might be the easiest form of repellent, but these chemicals can also harm us in the process. I’m here to tell you how to get rid of gnats in your yard naturally.
Our strategy is going to be simple. We’re going to focus on stopping them at their source, adding some smells that repel from our patio, and making sure we don’t have any smells that attract them in the first place!
Things To Know
Before we dig into the specifics, I want to emphasize a few things about gnat removal to be mindful of. There is no way to completely eradicate every single one from your patio. Bugs are an essential part of the outdoor experience, so we have to coexist. Take a look at the declining bee populations if you need a reason to avoid a scorched earth approach! With that being said, there are a few natural remedies we can use that stop them from being a nuisance.
Stop Them At Their Source
The most common type of patio gnats thrive because of conditions that we create for them.
You may not realize it, but you might accidentally be setting up the perfect breeding ground for those little pests. Over-watering potted plants or flowerbeds causes standing water, which is the ideal habitat for gnats to multiply. If they are causing trouble and disrupting your patio, you simply need to stop providing a 5-Star resort for them!
If you are wanting to get rid of gnats in your yard naturally, stop watering your flowers so much. Make sure that your plants are getting enough water, but also stop before small pools gather in your flower beds. You can also install some plants that soak up excess water.
If you have potted plants, check that no liquid is resting above the soil line. Once you stop over-watering, you should see the abundance of gnats calm down within 3-4 weeks.
Additionally, outdoor patio heaters can attract gnats and other bugs. I’ve actually explored this topic fully in another article. You can find it here if you’re interested.
Smells That Repel
Certain smells are Kryptonite to gnats! Putting these smells prominently in the area where you’re having gnat problems on your patio or outdoor space will work wonders to keep them away. Luckily, the main two smells that they find repulsive are actually quite pleasant for humans. Vanilla and mint work extremely well as natural repellent, and will help keep those little nuisances at bay.
While cultivating vanilla can be difficult in most regions of the United States, mint is an easy plant to grow. A few potted mint plants requires minimal upkeep, but the aroma will effectively stop gnats from buzzing around. As an added bonus, you will also have fresh mint at your disposal!
Smells That Attract
Just like the smell of freshly baked cookies can lure us into the kitchen, gnats will also follow their nose.
If something smells appealing to them, they’ll try to find out where it is. Once they find it, you’ll have a hard time getting to leave! So what kind of smells might be bringing them to your doorstep? The answer might surprise you.
While we associate bugs with filth, popular cleaning solutions may be the very thing that’s attracting them. The aromas of both vinegar and soap will cause them to swarm your patio.
You can still clean with these products, just make sure that you rinse well after usage. Also, check for a runoff after rinsing. A standing pool of soapy suds gathering beside your patio would create the perfect storm for a gnat-infestation.
Average Gnat Lifespan
The average adult gnat lives for 2-weeks. While this is a pretty short lifespan, you will still need patience when you’re trying to get rid of gnats in your yard. Please allow at least a month to see if your unwanted guests have gotten the hint. If the problem persists, try a different method.
Are Gnats Dangerous?
Besides being unbearably aggravating, common patio gnats do not pose a severe threat to your health and safety. They will hover around and irritate the daylights out of you, but they won’t often cause physical harm. Some female gnats can bite on rare occasion, but these bites are similar to miniature mosquito bites.They don’t act as a vessel for disease, so you don’t have to worry about catching anything serious.
However, they can be dangerous to the plants around your yard and patio. Gnats can damage the leaves, cause wilting, and also create root rot. When you get rid of gnats naturally, it will do more than protect you from a bit of annoyance. It will actually help maintain the health and survival of your foliage.