Keeping ghosts out of your house

15 Aug

No, not spectral apparitions. A group of gnats is called a ghost. They show up in the late spring and don’t leave till the fall.

Gnats are a type of small fly and unlike their bloodthirsty cousin, the mosquito, do not bite humans. They feed on plants, algae and fungus, if they feed at all. (Some don’t, they just reproduce.)

In your home, gnats are most likely to be found in the kitchen, the bathroom and the basement. Why? Because those are the most likely areas where moisture will be found and gnats will not thrive without moisture. They lay eggs and their larvae grow in a moist environment.

The kitchen is a perfect environment for gnats to lay eggs and establish the makings of a new ghost. There’s ample moisture and heat, and overripe fruit such as bananas or peaches becomes a perfect opportunity for food.

If you live in a humid environment, you have a greater chance of these annoying critters trying to take up residence in your home. But you can take some steps to keep them out of your home.

  • Keep storm drains unclogged
  • Get rid of standing water on your property
  • Avoid bringing outdoor potted plants inside
  • Inspect fruits and veggies that you bring in, especially if you frequent farmers’ markets
  • Use fruit and vegetables before they go bad

If you’ve discovered gnats in the house, find the source; look in trash cans for food or liquid that’s under the bag, then take it outside, hose it out and use some light bleach water on it. Here’s what you can do to get rid of them:

  • If indoor plants become infested, let the soil dry for a few days before watering again
  • Make sure not to leave any dishes in the sink
  • Clear your garbage disposer and drop a little bleach water in it
  • Make sure the sinks and counters are dry completely
  • Throw out any fruits or veggies that are past their prime
  • Place a few dishes containing a little vinegar with tight fitting lids with holes in them. Gnats are attracted to vinegar and they’ll get in, but not be able to escape.

Gnats serve a purpose, of course, and they’re not really dangerous to humans. They’re just annoying.

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