Gnats are prevalent throughout most of the world. Gnats are really flies but because of their small size and other behaviors, people don’t generally think of them as such. Gnats thrive outside when conditions are both moist and warm. However, due to their small size and ability to both reproduce quickly and in many situations, gnats can easily be found thriving inside most any structure. This article will explain some basic biology about gnats, detail why they are a problem in and around the home and then offer ways to treat local infestations.

Related articles:        BITING FLIES        BLACK FLY        DEER FLY        FLEAS        HORSE FLIES        MIDGES        MOSQUITOES        NATS        NO-SEEUMS        PUNKIES        STABLE FLIES        THRIPS

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As stated above, gnats are actually flies. They go by many names including punkies, punkys, buffalo gnats, buffalo flies, eye gnats, black gnats, black flies, hippelates flies, no-seeums or just plain old “nats”. Most gnats bite. Females need a blood meal in order to become fertile and once she mates, will lay hundreds of eggs. Though she will look for moist damp areas on which to lay her brood, each species will take advantage of prime locations which can vary from region to region. One region may find eggs common throughout salt marshes and streams; another area may find the eggs on animal droppings or rain ditches. Flower pots which accumulate standing water, along with gutters, rain barrels, old tires and buckets all can hold more then enough water to provide the needed moisture for gnats to successfully grow and thrive. Once eggs hatch, larva will feed for 2-3 weeks and then undergo metamorphosis in a cocoon like stage called pupa. Once they fully mature, they will hatch out as adults with males immediately taking to wing to find a female.



Hand Held ZapperThe adult stage is the one which people find to be so annoying and persistent. Eye gnats will regularly land on or around ones eye and nose; black flies or buffalo gnats will land anywhere they can find skin on which to suck blood. Essentially that is all the females want; blood. They will seek this from any mammal they can find and people will often times be their prime target. Though not particularly a fast flyer, gnats are hard to kill. They are elusive and yet persistent. Swatting at them will rarely get them to leave. In most cases you will have to leave the immediate area if you wish to get relief. The use of a HAND HELD ZAPPER can help; since these pests tend to stay in territories, once you kill off the ones which are active around you, others won’t come too quickly.

Hand Held ZapperHand Held Zapper:




Deet LotionDeet 100%If you are going afield where gnats are active, consider some type of preventive application for either your skin or your clothes. A combination of several products will prove to be most effective but results will vary from region to region. For the skin, use some MAXI DEET or DEET LOTION. Both of these materials will repel gnats and other flying insects and keep them off your skin. The Deet will prove to be longer lasting of the two.

Deet 100%Deet 100%:

Deet LotionDeet Lotion:


Permethrin AerosolAdditionally, treating your clothes with some PERMETHRIN AEROSOL will help. This product is repellent to most insects and is a great help at keeping ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats and most any biting insect away.

Permethrin AerosolPermethrin Aerosol:


Bite ShieldBug Band AdultIf you prefer “non-chemical” protection, or if you don’t want to treat your skin or clothing directly, the use of either BUG BANDS or BITE SHIELDS will prove helpful. The Bands fit around your wrist and release a light Citronella odor; the Bite Shields are usually attached to your belt and offer better protection overall.

Bug Band AdultBug Bands:

Bite ShieldBite Shield:




Conceal Jar CandleConceal CandleIf you plan on being at one location most of the time, then some Linalool Candles can really help. Made with essential plant oils, these candles will effectively “block” you from biting pests like gnats. The burning process will release a nice odor to people which is citrus smelling. In the process the Linalool will permeate the area making biting pests like mosquitoes and gnats not able to locate targets. The 4″ CANDLE will last over 30 hours, the 6″ CANDLE will last over 65 hours and the JAR CANDLE will last 75-85 hours. Excellent for decks and patios, these candles can be brought on camping trips and picnics.

Conceal CandleConceal Candle:

Conceal Jar CandleConceal Jar Candle:




Sting Relief SwabsIf you experience bites or expect to be getting bit during a field trip or other outdoor activity, bring some BITE RELIEF SWABS. This material will take away the itch and provide instant relief.

Sting Relief SwabsBite Swabs:

Soothing CreamBut for old damage to the skin, GENES SOOTHING CREAM is an all natural ointment that works wonders. It will help your skin heal and during the process take away any unpleasant discomfort.

Soothing CreamSoothing Cream:




Adult gnats are a major problem around homes. Their sheer persistence can ruin a family picnic, outside get together or any attempt to just go outside and relax on your deck or in the yard. Gnats can make cutting the grass or working in the garden a nightmare. Their bites won’t heal quickly and when they fly into your mouth, ears, nose or eyes, they can bite and sting making for some very uncomfortable conditions. Fortunately there are many repelling and control options available for use in these areas. What will work the best is generally most dependent on the level of activity or local populations. For mild levels of activity or where gnats are not too dominant, there are several repelling treatments that can prove to be helpful.

Mosquito RepellentGNAT REPELLENT is the simplest material to apply and will repel several types of nuisance biting insects for 2-3 weeks. Be sure to apply it approximately 12 hours prior to any event if you are attempting to keep the area gnat free during a specific time. Also, don’t water over it in order to get the full benefit of the application.

Mosquito RepellentGnat Repellent:




Mosquito Blocker RefillsMosquito BlockerAnother repellent that works well on flying biting insects is the MOSQUITO BLOCKER. This device is simply set out around the area you want to protect and will slowly release a natural material which essentially “blocks” gnats, mosquitoes and other pests from scenting you as a target. By preventing their natural ability to scent targets, Mosquito Blockers will prevent the gnats from knowing you are present and will go elsewhere looking for food. Keep them filled with fresh BLOCKER REFILLS so they work at optimal level.

Mosquito BlockerMosquito Blocker:

Mosquito Blocker RefillsBlocker Refills:




Though repellents will work well when local populations are not extreme or excessive, there are times when chemical applications are needed. This will usually be the case when there are just too many areas around in which the gnats can breed and multiply. The constant renewal of adults means there will be aggressive competition for food which means repellents won’t work well. When such conditions exist around your home, it is best to do some kind of liquid, mist or fog application throughout their season to keep numbers in check. There are many options available for treatment; try to match the area needing treatment with the right sized equipment and chemical form so that you aren’t spending too much time retreating.



PT-MicrocarePT 565 XLOFor small areas, like inside the home or enclosed patios or decks, PT-5656XLO or PT-MICROCARE will prove effective. Both are aerosols that contain pyrethrin; the PT-565 will kill instantly but leaves no residual. The Microcare will last 2-4 weeks and is much better suited if you intend on spraying surfaces as well as the air. The Microcare is good to use on any surface gnats will land like screening or around windows or lights. Since gnats will regularly seek such places on which to rest, treating such areas can prove to have a big impact on their activity.

PT 565 XLOPT-565:



Flying Insect KillerAnother aerosol good for surfaces is FLYING INSECT KILLER. This formulation uses a newer active ingredient. It has a slightly stronger odor when applied but its stronger then the other two options. Plus, it’s water based. This means there is less chance of any staining if you have to treat local surfaces. The 565 and Microcare use the more traditional solvent systems which can react with some finishes and glass so if you plan on treating inside a lot, use the Flying Insect Killer. But the one limiting thing about all three aerosols is that they must be applied over and over.

Flying Insect KillerFlying Insect Killer:




Purge IIIAerosol DispenserFor light infestations, this is OK but if you have small areas that will need treatments through the entire season, consider getting an AEROSOL MACHINE and METERED AEROSOL. The machine can be configured to release a blast of the Aerosol on a timed basis so you don’t have to worry about doing the treatment yourself. Just set the machine up and replace the Aerosol as needed. This set up is excellent for porches, patios, decks, basements and any small area which has gnats, mosquitoes or other flying insects throughout the warm summer months.

Purge IIIPurge:

Aerosol DispenserAerosol 2000:




Flying Insect KillerTwo other aerosol options that recently came to market should be considered for sensitive areas or when treatments are to be done in gardens. ORGANIC FLYING INSECT KILLER is certified organic and can be used inside or outside for open space treatments.

Flying Insect KillerOrganic Flying Insect Killer:


Houseplant Insect KillerUse it as frequently as needed to control most any kind of flying pest. ORGANIC HOUSEPLANT KILLER is safe enough to be applied directly to plants making it the only aerosol you can apply to organic gardens, herb gardens or plants both inside and outside the home. Both are certified organic and bear the “organic gardening” logo and as such a product it means they won’t provide long term residual. For this reason you should expect short term control of gnats and nothing that lasts more than a day or so.

Houseplant Insect KillerHouse Plant Insect Killer:




Veg PlusIf the aerosols aren’t big enough or strong enough to handle the area you want to protect, you will have to go to either liquid or fogging applications. Liquid treatments will be applied with a sprayer and though effective, there will be waste and time considerations. Liquid treatment is easy to do when you have small areas like a garden or under a deck that needs to be sprayed from time time. A good product for this type of application is VEGETABLES PLUS PERMETHRIN. This odorless concentrate is labeled for use right on vegetables and turf and it won’t hurt pets or people. It comes with its own hose end sprayer and is good for small to medium sized areas.

Veg PlusVegetables Plus Perm:




Permethrin SFRExciterIf you want to get concentrates and use your own sprayer for the job, a combination of PYRETHRIN 6% and PERMETHRIN SFR will provide both quick knockdown and long lasting residual. Expect to be treating once every 10-14 days once the problem is under control; more frequently if you live in a moist area where gnats are able to populate within a few days.

Exciter6 % Pyrethrin:

Permethrin SFRPermethrin SFR:


Hose End SprayerPump SprayerNylar IGRTo cut down on the frequency of treatments that will be needed, add some NYLAR to the tank mix. Nylar is a growth regulator and is the only material that will control gnat eggs. Apply the mixture with one of our SPRAYERS which will do the job for small areas like 10,000 sq/ft or less; using a 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER will work since liquid spraying does mean you need to get a lot of water applied so you’ll need 5-10 gallons per 5,000 sq/ft for sure.


Nylar IGRNylar:

Pump SprayerPump Sprayer:

Hose End SprayerHose End Sprayer:



Cyonara RTSWe also have a product called CYONARA RTS available which comes in it’s own hose end sprayer. Basically you just hook it up to a garden hose and it’s ready to go. Cyonara is labeled for use on Vegetable Gardens, handles a broad range of insects and is odorless. If you don’t mind dragging the garden hose through the yard, either type of hose end treatments will work for small areas and is the best way to treat when using a liquid formulation.

Cyonara RTSCyonara RTS:




Mosquito & Tick KillerLastly, we also carry ORGANIC MOSQUITO KILLER which also comes in it’s own hose end sprayer. Certified organic by the NOP, Mosquito Killer will handle most any biting pest like gnats and is very safe to use. It’s only drawback is that as an organic material, it won’t be quite as strong as our other choices so if you choose to use it, expect to treat more frequently. Generally once a week should do the job.

Mosquito & Tick KillerOrganic Mosquito Spray RTS:




If you have large areas to treat, fogging will be the way to go. You can fog any sized yard but once the area is 10,000 sq/ft or more, fogging is really the only practical way to go about the task.

Anyone that fogs will find this method is much faster compared to spraying liquids. Additionally, you’ll be using a lot less material to get the same area treated compared to liquid sprays. This is true because you’ll be able to “stretch” your liquid mixtures to cover a lot more area. This means you’ll effectively use a lot less product.

You’ll also get way better coverage because mist applications get most every side of any plants being treated so gnats and their eggs won’t be able to hide or be “missed” in the landscape.



Aquacide WBMost of our foggers can use our WATER BASED PYRETHRIN PREMIXED FORMULATION but it’s more cost effective to get the concentrates and mix your own.

Aquacide WBAquacide:


Permethrin SFRExciterThe EVERGREEN PYRETHRIN and PERMETHRIN are two actives that can be mixed together that will prove highly effective for misting when targeting gnats and will no doubt prove cost effective to use over the cost of any season. All of these water based mixtures will work well in any of our foggers with the added benefit being that they won’t pose any danger to plants – even when used during the hot summer months.


Permethrin SFRPermethrin SFR:


ExciterFor treating around vegetable gardens or any kind of fruit yielding plant of tree, the EVERGREEN PYRETHRIN should be used alone. It’s labeled for use on food crops because treatments won’t last that long and since it only uses Pyrethrin for it’s active ingredient. No doubt this will work fine without the Permethrin added; you’ll just need to fog more frequently compared to areas that are treated with both Pyrethrin and Permethrin mixed together.





EssentriaLastly, for super sensitive areas like horse farms, chicken coops, dog kennels and other areas where pets and/or livestock are kept, the ESSENTRIA IC would be the active to use. Essentria uses nothing but federally exempt food grade additives for it’s active so it’s fine to use around animals, people and pets. It’s even labeled for use directly on horses and livestock for a wide range of insect pests because it’s safe. Like the Pyrethrin concentrate, treatments won’t last as long compared to using a tank mix that includes a residual like Permethrin. But once the problem is under control, you’ll find that you should be able to go 10-14 days without having to retreat so overall, the end result will be about the same.

EssentriaEssentria IC3:


EssentriaESSENTRIA IC is also the only active labeled for use around water like ponds, lakes and rivers so again, for any sensitive areas you want to fog, this is the best active because you can be aggressive yet not have to worry about hurting the landscape or any aquatic life.

Expect to be treating once a week when problems are bad; once every 10-14 days to keep them away once the problem is under control.



Now if you want the easiest way to control gnats, you’ll need to invest in a fogging machine. Over time any one of these devices will more than pay for itself because they will enable you to treat so much faster and use less chemical compared to liquid spraying. For this reason fogging is a highly effective way to treat gnat infestations.

For those of you who don’t know, Foggers or Mist Blowers are small devices that pump out a “mist” (looks like fog) which is a great form of treating any landscape. It’s highly effective because the mist these machines create will cover plants, turf and hard to reach areas way better compared to liquid applications.

There are many foggers and mist blowers to choose from and we have a large range that can be used effectively for small lots of 5,000 sq/ft or less right up to big lots that can total several acres. Just be sure to get a machine that will handle your property efficiently so it won’t be “stressed” or cause you to work too hard. These two conditions will in turn lead to poor product performance and/or a tendency to not treat enough because the work is too “hard”. A properly fitted fogger for your property will enable you to treat the area in very little time and save on the cost of chemical so it’s always better to oversize the machine compared to the work load it will have to handle.

For example, the author has about a 1 acre lot which he regularly treats for mosquitoes, gnats and other flying pests. Using his machine of choice (the Back Pack Mist Blower listed below), he’s able to treat the entire area using 2-3 gallons of mixed material in just 8-10 minutes. About half of this area includes his house and well manicured lawn; the other half is mostly a wild area full of overgrown weeds and other plants. The job could be done using an electric machine but it would mean having to drag an extension cord around (which takes time) and refilling the tank of these smaller machines a few times. When using these machines for this area, it was taking the author around 30 minutes to treat the same area. So yes, the Back Pack Fogger cost more to buy initially but in the end, it’s been working fine for 13 years now and has no doubt more than paid for itself in time saved.



Fogmaster 7807 With ExtFogmaster 6208 TrijetFogmaster 6309Fogmaster 5330For small areas measuring 5000 sq/ft or less, the MINI-FOGGER will work fine. For areas up to one acre, either the FM6309 or the FM6208 will do a good job. If you need the fogger to direct the mist in a very specific direction, the FM7807 will do the job.


Fogmaster 5330Fogmaster Mini Fogger:

Fogmaster 6309FM6309:

Fogmaster 6208 TrijetFM 6208:

Fogmaster 7807 With ExtFM 7807:



Solo Mistblower BackpackThe best “large area” foggers are systems that run on gas and can be carried anywhere. The BACK PACK FOGGER is handy because its self powered, can hold several gallons of mixed product and is carried on your back. It can treat large areas over an acre and will do so efficiently saving on chemical costs and the time needed to treat the given area.

Solo Mistblower BackpackBack Pack Mister:




CIRRUS FOGGING CONCENTRATEDeodorized OilGolden EagleFor multi acred lots, get the THERMAL FOGGER. It relies on a “hot” fog and will release a mist that stays in the air much longer then the other misting foggers so you are able to treat larger areas effectively. For the Thermal Fogger, you’ll have to mix up some EXCITER PYRETHRIN and PERMETHRIN in some form of DEODORIZED FOGGING OIL since water can’t be used. But the best option is CIRRUS FOGGING CONCENTRATE. This is an oil based concentrate which works well on all kinds of crawling and flying pests. Mix just 4.5 oz per gallon of Deodorized Oil and you’ll have a great formulation for use in any kind of hot fogger.

Golden EagleGolden Eagle:

Deodorized OilDeodorized Oil:



Insecticide 300 Oil BasedYou can also get some premixed material that comes in oil and ready to fog. OIL BASED PYRETHRIN will prove to be more expensive in the long run but it works great and no doubt is handy – especially if you aren’t using too much over the course of any one season. Some people like the fact that there is no mixing involved; just load it into the sprayer and start applying it.

Insecticide 300 Oil BasedOil Based Pyrethrin:


Regardless of the form you choose to apply, the Back Pack Fogger or our Thermal Fogger will prove to be the most effective tools for getting any large area properly sprayed for gnats.

Gnats are a major problem for many areas of the world. Though prevalent during the warm season, if left untreated in the home they can prosper year round. Be sure to identify local breeding grounds if you want to treat effectively. Once such areas are located, spray or fog with Pyrethrin 6%, Permethrin and Nylar. Use some repellent on your skin and clothes if you are going somewhere off your property and expect to encounter them. Bug Bands and Bite Shields will help as well and if you do get bit, keep some Bite Ointment available for treatment. Though the Repellent options will help, they will prove to be short lived and won’t solve the breeding problem so use them only where problems are light. For maximum control, spray or fog on a regular basis and you will be able to get outside more often and enjoy the experience a lot more as well.


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Comments on GNAT CONTROL Leave a Comment

May 20, 2012

jessica baxter @ 9:30 am #


Where are the best areas to spray outside? I have them really bad.

May 22, 2012
June 28, 2012

Scott Augustine @ 12:19 am #


I am interested in the SpringStar gnat traps. Do you sell them? How much? Thanks.

June 29, 2012
July 3, 2012

Shunn @ 7:58 pm #


What product do I use for gnats inside my home? They are such a pest!

July 4, 2012
November 4, 2012

Geoff Beales @ 7:00 am #


Hi, we have a problem on our allotments of getting plot holders to seal water butts. Unfortunately, due to the numerous open water storage vessels, gnats appear in large numbers in late afternoon or when the sun goes in. Is there a chemical that can be safely added to the water butts?

December 3, 2012

mac mcguire @ 7:57 pm #


I have so many gnats. Big, medium and babies. They’re all over my house but especially in the kitchen around my sink. I don’t leave dishes in the sink or standing water. They’re in my bathroom too, more so than anywhere else. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar and dish soap in a dish but they didn’t go near it.. It’s very annoying..

December 4, 2012
April 11, 2013

Anonymous @ 12:49 pm #


What would you suggest for a warehouse with a high density of electronic equipment? 18K sq ft.

April 13, 2013

Laura Lewis @ 7:22 pm #


We have horses and a chicken house is nearby. The buffalo gnats are driving them nuts. I am putting a wipe on them but I would like to kill the ones around the barn and not hurt the horses. Any suggestions?

April 14, 2013
September 29, 2013

Anonymous @ 9:36 pm #


Fridge is overrun with some kind of bug. I can’t give much description because when I even crack the door, they start to fly out.
Light brown and since there is food in there (long since abandoned), they have food. Fruit flies are also crazy. I can’t call in pest control as this would alert the management that I let things get so bad. I’d be evicted. The fantasy is some sort of auto fogger I could turn on and chuck into the fridge, shut the door and check back in a few days hoping to see lots of dead bugs. Fairly sure there’s nothing safe like that, but I truly can’t even reach in to put something there. I could crack it, spray and close it quickly multiple times a day to try and lower the population to the point I could leave the door open to fog. If I were to try now, my entire apt would be overrun in hrs. Please give me some hope that I can do something myself. I’m desperate.

September 30, 2013
February 15, 2014

Gerald @ 10:56 pm #


My father has been absolutely going crazy with these tiny flying white bugs – from reading your website they are tiny white flies because I have had to buy him hats off of Amazon so he can sleep and when they attack they go straight up his nose, in his eyes and sometimes in his ear. We have spent hundreds of dollars trying to get rid of these things or whatever they are. He must have CO2 and Octenol come out of his breath because he can be around all of my sisters and his grandchildren and his eyes will be bloodshot from them just biting him and they will not even come near us. He has had pest control come out and he was not impressed, charged alot of money and no luck. They will attack his ankles, legs and neck area. He was going to buy a fogger and try that and I started researching the internet because this is going on 2 years and he is going crazy. I was going to start with the PT Microcare, Champion Sprayon Flying Insect Killer, PT 565-XLO , Organic Flying Insect Killer, and a fogging machine for his house and outside. These things are relentless I don’t care if it is 105 outside or 30 below they are everywhere. He has steamed his clothes, vacuums all the time and then ties the bag up and throws it away outside immediately. I need your help to tell me if I am on the right track or what you would start with. I also thought that machine called the Blocker with the cartridges and the candles looked like they would be very helpful. I would like to know what you think would be the best fogging machine, best products he can spray in the house, best product for himself to keep away the bugs from his face and if at all possible to permanently get rid of these. I would apppreciate any help or information that we could receive. Thank you for your time.

February 16, 2014

Gerald @ 6:23 pm #


@Tech Support: Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. My Dad has no potted plants, recycling bins, insinkerators, or any animals so he has no cat litter except the winter has been so snowy and icy here he has put it all over his driveway and deck and on the outside of the house. That probably made it worse, huh? I will talk to him and read him what you wrote back to me and then we will call and order products. Do you think he should do the backpack fogger and the fogger spray through his whole house and outside? He was going to go get a fogger because a friend had told him that it would probably work the best.

July 2, 2014

Rye @ 2:34 pm #


Hello. We recently purchased a 14 acre lot. There is no house on it yet but we’re living in a camper until something is built. The lot is thick with prickly pear cactus and rock. There is also weeds and wild flowers of sorts growing everywhere. We’ve had very little rain in this area of Texas so I don’t think moisture is what the gnats are attracted to. To me it seems like they’re hanging out in the weeds and when you walk through them or just stand outside they come out and try to go in your nose, eyes, and ears. We have 3 dogs with us and they get them on them too. Currently using fly repellant as a temporary solution to help prevent some miserableness. Are these things on our property because of the type of vegetation (weeds?) that are on the lot? 14 acres is too much to treat but it would be nice to get rid of them at least in an area where we’re trying to live. What suggestions do you have for me? I’m trying to cut down the grass where I can without hitting rocks. Everyone is shooing away gnats constantly outside.

December 29, 2014

Mark @ 11:50 am #


We just moved into a new built home and we have gnats coming out of the bathroom and kitchen drains. Mostly in the bathroom drains. What can I pour in the drains?

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