Summer presents the ideal conditions to enjoy time outdoors. My lawn is often busy during these months as I enjoy barbecuing, playing with my kids and loved ones, or just lounging.
However, if you have ever dealt with gnats, then you know they can quickly turn an otherwise relaxing and enjoyable time outdoors unpleasant.
As you know, these annoying tiny insects come out in numbers during warm and humid weather. Therefore, if you don’t want to be surrounded by fungus gnats every time you go to your lawn, especially in summer, spring, or after rainfall, learn how to get rid of lawn gnats naturally.
While I may be able to eliminate gnats with chemicals, I’d rather go with natural methods as they are safer.
What Are Lawn Gnats?
Lawn gnats are tiny, dark-colored insects with single pair of flying wings and are often found in damp or moist areas, such as lawns, gardens, marshes, and wetlands. You can also call them lawn midges or non-biting midges.
It is easy to confuse lawn gnats with tiny mosquitoes. However, you can differentiate them by the fact that lawn gnats don’t bite humans or animals. Furthermore, mosquitoes are double the size of gnats.
Also Read: How to get rid of flies outside
Although these insects undergo a four-stage life cycle, you will mostly see them during their adult stage, flying in swarms close to the ground. Fortunately, we often don’t have to deal with them for long because they are short-lived.
Gnats will annoy you when in large numbers, but the upside is they will not bite your or your pets. They gravitate towards light, so it should not come as a surprise if you find them around your outdoor lighting fixtures or windows.
Also Read: How to get rid of mosquitoes in yard
What Attracts Gnats Outside?
The sight of gnats swarming around my lawn got me thinking about what could be attracting these insects to my yard. I found several factors that make an outdoor space ideal for gnats. So, check for the following aspects should you find gnats in your yard.
Gnats love damp or moist areas, so standing water, leaky faucets, overwatered plants, and excessive humidity create favorable conditions for them to thrive.
2. Organic Matter
Gnats feed on decaying organic matter, such as decomposing plant material, fallen leaves, and rotting fruit. Therefore, if your outdoor spaces have these food sources, it will draw gnats to these outdoor areas.
Apart from organic matter, various vegetation attracts gnats. For that reason, you will find these insects in areas with dense plant growth, such as gardens, flower beds, or overgrown lawns.
4. Fragrances And Scents
I bet you love floral scents, sweet-smelling perfumes, and fruity odors. You may have even introduced plants that emit these fragrances to your lawn can all be appealing to them. These include fragrant herbs or perennials, flowering shrubs, fragrant groundcovers like creeping thyme, and fruit trees.
Unfortunately, gnats enjoy these fragrances and scents too.
5. Light Sources
Gnats often gather around outdoor lighting fixtures, porch lights, or windows because lights, especially bright and white lights, attract them.
6. Carbon dioxide
If you see gnats hovering around people and animals, it is likely because of the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans and animals.
Are Lawn Gnats Dangerous?
So you have gnats in your lawn, which is obviously annoying, especially if they are in large numbers. However, should you really worry about their presence?
Luckily, these insects are primarily a nuisance pest rather than a health threat, so don’t worry about them biting or stinging you. Also, they do not transmit diseases.
However, lawn gnats can be irritating, particularly if they enter your eyes, nose, or mouth; I discovered this the hard way. However, this will have you feeling awful for a while but won’t pose any significant risks or health hazards.
How To Get Rid Of Lawn Gnats Naturally
Gnats may not spread diseases or even bite you, but I am sure you still do not want a gnat-filled lawn. Thankfully, there are many natural ways to eliminate gnats.
1) Use Yellow Bug Lights
As you already know, gnats love bright white lights, so those dazzling lights in your lawn will have the place swarming with these insects. Imagine trying to have a romantic night with your person under the lights only to be interrupted by these bugs. Annoying, right?
Well, worry not; you can remedy this situation by swapping the bright white lights with yellow or amber lights, which don’t attract gnats as much. This will help reduce gnat activity around your home.
2) Natural Repellents
After seeing some gnats flying around my lawn, I thought of a way to deter them using an item I already had at home, essential oils. This natural repellent can be used in diffusers or candles. Also, you can keep gnats from you by applying diluted essential oils to your skin or clothing as a natural repellent.
3) Run Fans
The gnats in your lawn will have a hard time flying and hovering around if you run fans in your outdoor spaces. This method works because these insects are weak fliers.
4) Beneficial Nematodes
Why not let other creatures handle your gnat problem? If this sounds good, buy beneficial nematodes online or from a plant or garden shop. After that, introduce these microscopic worms to areas infested by gnats.
If you do it correctly (following the manufacturer’s instructions), they will feed on the larvae of gnats and other pests, thus controlling their population.
5) Attract Gnats’ Natural Predators
Birds, bats, dragonflies, and other creatures are the natural predators of gnats. Therefore, it would help to make your home attractive to these beneficial creatures. If you do that, they will help eliminate gnats, and their presence will also beautify your home.
Knowing how helpful the presence of gnats’ natural predators in your lawn is, how do you attract them there? Well, you can introduce bird feeders, birdhouses, bat boxes, and water features.
6) Use Sticky Traps
Sticky traps attract and capture gnats, but what’s the mechanism behind them? This item’s bright color attracts the gnats while the adhesive surface captures them, rendering them immobile.
Keep in mind that this method’s effectiveness relies heavily on proper positioning. So, hang the sticky traps in gnats tend to gather, ensuring you position your sticky traps at the gnat’s flying height. Furthermore, regularly check and replace the sticky traps once they become full of captured gnats or lose their stickiness.
7) Bug Zapper
Electrocuting gnats with a high-voltage grid is a sure way of eliminating these pesky bugs, but you must capture them first. Fortunately, a bug zapper, also known as an insect electrocutor or electronic insect killer, does both making killing gnats pretty convenient.
This device uses ultraviolet (UV) light to lure insects and then electrocutes them using a high-voltage grid.
The reason UV lights entice gnats and other flying insects is that they use them for navigation and mating. Once they instantly die from electrocution, they fall into a collection tray or drop to the ground beneath the bug zapper.
How To Prevent Lawn Gnats Naturally
I know the feeling of seeing your lawn free of gnats after eliminating them. However, this happiness will be short-lived if you fail to make your home unattractive to them in the first place. That will lead to a future infestation, which means working to eliminate them all over again.
1. Remove Standing Water
Identify areas around your home, like empty containers where water can accumulate, then empty them. Also, clear out gutters and fix leaks or drainage issues.
2. Improve Drainage
Moisture is also abundant if your lawn has poor drainage. Therefore, after removing standing water, prevent pooling by clearing blockages in drainage systems and adjusting your yard’s slope or grading.
3. Clean Up Organic Debris
The ideal living environment for gnats has an ample food source. Therefore, remove fallen leaves, grass clippings, and other decaying organic matter from your lawn and garden.
4. Avoid Overwatering
You already know gnats’ love for moisture. Overwatering your lawn and plants can easily create moist environments, so avoid it.
5. Keep The Yard Well-Maintained
I understand the temptation to let your lawn vegetation grow taller since mowing can be tedious and even boring. It happens to the best of us. However, regularly mowing your lawn, trimming vegetation, and keeping your yard tidy reduce hiding places for gnats.
Do Lawn Gnats Bite?
Lawn gnats do not bite humans or animals. You should not worry about them as they are generally harmless and do not possess biting mouthparts like mosquitoes or other biting insects. However, they love sugary fluids like nectar and plant sap, primarily feeding on them.
Also, instead of seeking blood meals, they focus more on mating and reproductive activities.
Do Lawn Gnats Bite Dogs?
Lawn gnats do not bite dogs but will swarm around your dogs and other animals. However, be careful with other types of gnats or biting insects like biting gnats since they can bite dogs.
With the above solutions, you can resume enjoying your lawn without worrying about gnats hovering around your face or just flying around your yard. You may not be compelled to eliminate a few gnats but remember that they multiply quickly.
Hey there, I’m Derek Schew, a writer for Lawnholic.com, where we cover everything and anything related to lawns. As someone who’s spent countless hours tending to my own lawn, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others achieve the perfect yard. From lawn care tips to product reviews, I’m committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. So whether you’re a seasoned lawn enthusiast or just getting started, I invite you to join our community and discover the joys of a lush, green lawn.