Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We just moved to a new place and we're noticing that there is a lot of gnats and fruit fly type bugs all over the house! We've been killing 2 or 3 an hour and they keep coming back. We find them all over, not just in the kitchen.

Is there any tips, tricks, products to get rid of the pests? I have a pregnant wife in the house, so harsh chemicals are a last result.

EDIT:

So... we just found the source of the flies... I got home from work to fine a Haz-mat team cleaning out one of the townhomes we share a wall with. Apparently the guy is a hoarder and had been hoarding things like empty whisky bottles and pizza boxes. The team had found human waste on the walls and rotten food throughout the house. The flies that were living there were so bad that the neighbor below him called the police about it. We only shared some pluming lines with him, they shared an air vent. SO GROSS!!!

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are plenty of recommendations out there on the web, but I can't say how well they work. I think the lifespan of a gnat is something along the lines of 15 days, so you basically just have to remove their food source, and they'll be gone in 2 weeks.

Clean dishes quickly, keep everything clean, get rid of potted plants (they feed on the manure found in many types of soil that you might get for potted plants) or cover the top layer of soil with an inch of sand to prevent them from getting to the manure, look for any dead animal bodies (rats, lizards, birds, etc.)

I've also seen ideas for traps, which supposedly work pretty well, but just because you catch some, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get rid of their breeding grounds. The basic idea is that you take a cup and put 1" of vinegar and one drop of dish soap in it, then cover it with something that resembles a funnel (curl up a piece of paper into a cone shape and cut the tip off.) They'll be able to fly in because the funnel will guide them downward, but they won't be able to get out so long as you seal between the lip of the glass and the funnel (maybe fold it back down on the outside of the glass and secure it with rubber bands. Like this:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Awesome! I will give it a try right now –  joe_coolish Aug 29 '11 at 22:56
    
I'd probably cut more of the funnel tip off than they did, and also, people seem to think putting a drop of dish soap into the vinegar helps. Presumably it helps to break surface tension and makes the gnats drown? –  Michael Aug 29 '11 at 23:11
1  
Another option is to cover the container with saran-wrap type plastic, and poke some holes in it. Also, I believe that you're supposed to use balsamic vinegar, not regular white vinegar. –  chris Aug 30 '11 at 2:14
    
@chris I think the logic is that the funnel makes it easier for the gnats to get in by directing them towards the hole if they bump into the walls of the funnel, and harder to get out. Regarding the choice of vinegar, I've seen recommendations for apple cider and balsamic vinegar, but people have said that white vinegar will work if you don't have either of those. –  Michael Aug 30 '11 at 2:20
1  
@Michael - it's been my experience that a bunch of small holes keep them in. You can also use red wine - the key is a drop of soap to reduce the surface tension, so they fall in - then they drown. The nice thing about vinegar is that they actually dissolve, so you don't have bodies floating around :) –  chris Aug 30 '11 at 2:27
show 5 more comments

I made homemade flytraps myself. I took a jar and poured some syrup in it and sat it down and it's simple and it worked. Then I got a coffee cup lid and poured some dish soap in it and sat it by the window which is also simple and easy plus it works too! You just have to check it every now and then. When it gets full, just dump it out and put some more in it and set it back down. Hope that helps(;

share|improve this answer
add comment

We have a small fruit fly problem in August each year. We deal with it using a paper cone trap as described by @Michael (see my comment), keeping the lid on the compost pail and emptying it often, and making sure overripe or bruised fruit doesn't sit rotting in the fruit bowl indefinitely. But one year it was awful, really really bad, and I did some searches and learned that they often grow in a slimy biofilm in a drain. I checked all the sinks and sure enough one of them (A guest bathroom near the kitchen) had a nasty slime growing in it. I used hot water and a bottle brush to scrub it all away. The fruit fly problem went back to normal almost immediately. So check your drains and get a bottle brush. It takes only minutes to clear the film, and then you go from unbearable to "yeah, sometimes at this time of year there are fruit flies" which is just part of life.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.