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Homemade Gnat Trap

Gnats! Have they invaded your home? Need to know how to get rid of gnats in the house? Read on for this simple, effective, cheap, natural method of exterminating these pests: A homemade gnat trap! Best of all, you probably have all the materials you need already.

In seasons past it seemed gnats only showed up if we had rotten fruit, but I guess since we had such a warm winter the bugs (including gnats) are out in full force.

One thing in our home that attracts gnats is our compost bowl where I throw vegetable scraps before they go out to the compost pile or to the chickens.

Jars with plastic wrap to get rid of gnats

In years past simply moving the bowl outside would get rid of gnats in the kitchen, but this year they are tenacious. It doesn’t help that we have a toddler who walks around the house snacking on bananas among other things and leaves nibbles goodness knows where!

Did you know a single gnat can live for four months in your home? Breeding that whole time no less! If you’re wondering how to get rid of gnats in the house, keep reading for tips and a homemade gnat trap “recipe.”

Tips for Getting Rid of Gnats

  • Get rid of the fruit bowl – If you keep fruit out or use one of those cool banana hangers, stop! You can continue using both after you get rid of your gnat problem.
  • Empty any standing water outside – Birdbaths, flowers pots, and kids’ outdoor toys are just a few of the culprits.
  • Make sure your garbage disposal is clean so you don’t get drain flies.
  • Get a lid for your garbage can if you don’t have one.
gnat traps

Make a Homemade Gnat Trap

So how do you get rid of fruit flies? Here’s an easy, non-toxic way to get rid of pesky gnats in the kitchen for good. No more slapping your hands violently at seemingly nothing thanks to this homemade gnat trap.

Supplies

  • Wide mouth Mason jar – It can be any of these sizes, just make sure the mouth is wide and you’ll have better results. If all you have is the smaller type of mouth, it will work too (see pics), it’s just that the wider mouth provides more surface area and your homemade gnat trap will catch more gnats per trap.
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubberband (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 drops liquid dish soap
  • about a cup of water

Directions

  1. Mix vinegar, sugar, and a few drops of dish soap together in a wide-mouthed container.
  2. Add warm water about 3/4ths of the way to the top of the container.
  3. Cover rim tightly with plastic wrap (I also used a rubber band around the rim just to be sure).
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in the plastic wrap.
  5. Leave the container in the kitchen or other problem areas.

That’s it! At first, I used a fork to poke holes in the plastic but noticed the gnats being attracted to the container and unable to get in. 3/4-1″ holes work best and are easy to make with a steak knife.

Remember to be patient! Remove fruit from the kitchen counter and any organic matter like kitchen scraps or dirty dishes so the gnats can be attracted to the homemade trap.

I set two out one evening and the following morning we had 4-6 gnats in each one. They seem to be avoiding the jars now (maybe they wizened up?) so I’ll empty and refill them tonight with fresh bait.

mason jar gnat traps

As an alternative method, you can use the same vinegar/sugar recipe and trap gnats with a folded paper cone. I prefer the dish soap traps mentioned above, but this is an effective method too. 

DIY gnat trap

Now you know how to get rid of gnats in the house! Once you start catching a few adult flies and they stop producing gnat larvae, you’ll be surprised how quickly your gnat infestation disappears thanks to your homemade gnat trap.

FAQ

Are gnats and fruit flies the same thing?

Scientifically, no. There are a few structural differences and fruit flies tend to flock to kitchen waste while fungus gnats are attracted to organic materials such as compost and potted plants.
However, English speakers in the US tend to use the terms interchangeably. Here in the South, we say gnat when we’re technically referring to a fruit fly.
Whatever you call these pesky insects, this homemade trap will rid your kitchen of the annoying pests.

How can I prevent future infestations?

Keep overripe fruit and organic matter away from countertops and your kitchen sink drain. Limit access to standing water outdoors. Place a layer of gravel over the moist soil of your house plants so you can nourish your indoor plants without attracting gnats.

Alternative Treatment Plan

If you don’t feel like making these homemade gnat traps or don’t have the supplies on hand, there are a variety of commercial fruit fly trap options like the ones pictured below.

If the above-mentioned methods aren’t working for your indoor gnat problem, it may be time to call a pest management professional.

Other Natural Home Remedies

Homemade fly trap

DIY natural ant killer

Natural flea treatment

Trista F.

Saturday 30th of July 2022

I also have found that cleaning the Mason jars once it is "full" is quite disgusting!🤢🤮 So instead of using a glass jar. I use clear plastic cups with shrink wrap or a "recycled"(trash) zip-lock or sandwich bags. I cut the zip-lock part of the bag off and then use either masking tape, duct tape or rubber band to keep the plastic tight on the cup and poke 5 to 10 small holes in the plastic depending on the size of the cup. Then when the cup is "full" just toss the entire cup into and make another trap.

An additional observation or tip after years of using the apple cider vinegar.I have had the best success when the smell of the contents of the mixture is yeastier. Thus Ultimately using beer or wine have made the best gnat traps. But I live in a household now with a long term recovering alcoholic so having beer or wine on hand is not an option. So I have had amazing success having purchased a single serve fruit juice from the store opened it and taken one swig then put the lid back on and let it sit (unrefridgerated) for a week or so then divide the contents to make 2 or 3 traps adding a bit of water a spoon full of sugar and a couple drops of dish soap.

The juice starts to ferment and essentially starting to turn into "wine", adding sugar and water should help prevent the juice from becoming moldy.

Just wanted to share my personal experiences with others who might also not want to toss out or clean out their glass jars once it's full of dead bugs!! It's crazy to see how many of the annoying little flies really are in our homes though!🪰 Happy trapping. 😃

Tonje

Friday 19th of November 2021

Most of your tips only help for fruit-flies and not gnats. Gnats are usually not in the kitchen if there’s not a lot of plants there.

Melonie

Thursday 18th of November 2021

I just tried Rice Vinegar, sugar, dish liquid and Water in 3 Mason Jars. Most of the gnats were gone in one day (so many). Put a 2nd batch out today. But I saw a drastic difference from day one. Thank you

Jenn

Monday 29th of November 2021

I'm glad this method worked well and quickly for you!

Lisa Lewis

Saturday 9th of October 2021

This really works! I used sugar, dish detergent and water and the jar had about 10 gnats in 3 days. Thank you!

Jenn

Sunday 10th of October 2021

Excellent! Gnats are everywhere this year. You'd think cooler weather would decrease their numbers but not so far!

Shiloh

Friday 27th of August 2021

Please tell me you mean white vinegar..? I just ran out of apple cider vinegar and gnats are driving me CRAZY

Jenn

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

I've never tried it with white vinegar but it won't hurt to use it and see what happens. Let me know how it goes!