A recent and annoying outbreak of gnats and fruit flies in my kitchen and adjoining family room nearly drove me to despair. The darn things seemed to be everywhere - hovering over the fruit bowl, perching on the edge of the kitchen sink, flying by me when I was cooking at the stove.
Swatting them with a fly swatter was futile. They're fast little buggers, and tiny as they are, they easily zoomed out of the way before I could make contact. It didn't make any sense to spray them with an insecticide, either. Toxic chemicals in my kitchen? No thanks.
Still, I had to do something before the small outbreak turned into a swarm. Here are the 9 natural ways I got rid of every single pest. Maybe they'll help you, too.
1) PUT ALL FOOD AWAY. Gnats love any food that's available to them, whether it's raw, cooked or waste. I immediately put all fruit and veggies in the refrigerator and tightly closed bread bags and cracker boxes. Cookies went into a sealed cookie jar. I cleaned off oil bottles and honey jars so there were no drips to attract hungry bugs.
2) THAW FOOD IN THE FRIDGE. Rather than thaw frozen food on the kitchen counter, I put it in the refrigerator. I let frozen bread and cookies thaw in the microwave or in the bread bin, both of which close tightly.
3) CLEAN. CLEAN. CLEAN. I'm as guilty as the next person of leaving dirty dishes in the sink - unless I've got gnats. That unwashed milk glass or the plate covered with drying pasta sauce couldn't be a bigger invitation to a gnat party. At the very least, rinse food off all dishes before you leave them stacked, though it's better to rinse and put them in the dishwasher if you have one. Also, clean up spills and crumbs on counter tops and on the stove. Gnats don't care where their food is, as long as it's there.
4) TOSS THE OLD FLOWERS AND REPOT THE PLANTS. Toss the old flowers and the stale water they may be standing in. Also, gnats often take up residence in the top couple of inches of soil in a plant pot. If you have potted plants, take them outside, get rid of the top two inches of dirt, and replace with "clean" dirt (perhaps from a garden center, as opposed to your own garden).
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