Toledo Talk

Anyone else having problems with gnats this year?

I'm asking because I moved this summer and at my old house, I would occasionally have problems with gnats around the kitchen sink/garbage disposal. Keeping the sink clean and dishes in the dishwasher would usually take care of the problem.

This summer, before I moved I had problems. Now at my new house I am still having problems even though I have very few dirty dishes and I have even noticed them at my work.

I've kept the sink clean, dishes in the dishwasher and use bleach daily to rinse the drain, and they keep coming back. If it was just one place, I could see it was something I was doing, but three places?

Anyone else having worse than normal problems this year? Any suggestions on how to get rid of them? It grosses me out and makes me feel like I'm not keeping my house clean.

created by MrsArcher on Aug 23, 2014 at 10:09:00 am     Home     Comments: 40

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No we have had them a lot this year as well, I thought maybe they hitched a ride on some plants we brought in last fall, but it could ust be the weird seasons we had.

posted by MIJeff on Aug 23, 2014 at 10:48:11 am     #  

Fruit flies? We've had them brought in on bananas. They love sink drains and garbage disposals.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/how-to-get-rid-fruit-flies-10000001648489/

posted by MsUnderstood on Aug 23, 2014 at 10:51:56 am     #  

I had gnat problems for years. From my experience they probably are coming from a single location and spread everywhere. The source may be behind the fridge, behind the stove, under the sink, anywhere that is dirty and is damp. You want to do a thorough check and cleaning to find the source.

That said, with your second comment I think you may want to start out with the plants. Gnats love moist plant soil.

posted by tolbuck on Aug 23, 2014 at 10:54:36 am     #  

We have not been hit too bad this year, but we have them at work along the offices that are facing north and bordered by evergreen shrubs, so the damp soil explanation makes sense. I also know several people that are having issues with them right now. Last year when we had them pretty bad, I did something similar to the link above. Take a smallish glass or two ( highball size), fill with something like balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, or even just red wine. Cover with Saran Wrap, and then poke holes into the wrap with a toothpick. Wiggle the toothpick around a bit to make the holes big enough for the flies to fly in. Put the glasses in the rooms where you have the flies. You will be amazed and grossed out by how many you get. Change the glasses every couple of days and keep doing this for 2 weeks. That is how long it takes for eggs to hatch and you want to make sure you get all of them so you don't give any a chance to start a new cycle. If one of the liquids above does not attract them try one of the other ones. It works!

posted by llz on Aug 23, 2014 at 11:31:55 am     #   1 person liked this

Suggestion:
Clean yer kitchen.

posted by a_fan on Aug 23, 2014 at 12:06:18 pm     #  

We never had a problem with fruit flys before this summer but they were really bad for a while. I bought one of these and it's taken care of about 90% of them: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002EJLLEE?pc_redir=1408678124&robot_redir=1

posted by idinspired on Aug 23, 2014 at 12:26:51 pm     #  

a_fan posted at 12:06:18 PM on Aug 23, 2014:

Suggestion:
Clean yer kitchen.

Unwarranted.

posted by justread on Aug 23, 2014 at 01:27:49 pm     #   11 people liked this

llz posted at 11:31:55 AM on Aug 23, 2014:

We have not been hit too bad this year, but we have them at work along the offices that are facing north and bordered by evergreen shrubs, so the damp soil explanation makes sense. I also know several people that are having issues with them right now. Last year when we had them pretty bad, I did something similar to the link above. Take a smallish glass or two ( highball size), fill with something like balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, or even just red wine. Cover with Saran Wrap, and then poke holes into the wrap with a toothpick. Wiggle the toothpick around a bit to make the holes big enough for the flies to fly in. Put the glasses in the rooms where you have the flies. You will be amazed and grossed out by how many you get. Change the glasses every couple of days and keep doing this for 2 weeks. That is how long it takes for eggs to hatch and you want to make sure you get all of them so you don't give any a chance to start a new cycle. If one of the liquids above does not attract them try one of the other ones. It works!

Thanks; that sounds like an easy solution so I'll give it a try.

posted by MrsArcher on Aug 23, 2014 at 01:40:32 pm     #  

I was going to post a six paragraph diatribe about cleanliness, food poisoning and health department inspections but I just don't have the energy. Besides, I like MrsArcher and fruit flies are a royal pain in the venochie.

I managed to get a major infestation of the little pests once, and once was enough. It seemed like I could get rid of almost all of them, then another cloud would form up and make life miserable for me. I used a similar trap to the one llz suggested, only I used squashed bananas and honey. The flies would stick to the honey. I also used sugar water and they'd drown in it.

Anyway, it took me a few weeks to get rid of 'em, but I finally did it.

Sorry to hear you've got an infestation.

posted by madjack on Aug 23, 2014 at 02:04:47 pm     #  

a_fan, kitchen is clean. So is office at work , which is not near any kind of drain BUT does have bushes outside it's windows. I get them every spring through fall and perhaps one tailgated on me/ my clothes from work to home last year...but it's a small price to pay for a window office.

posted by llz on Aug 23, 2014 at 02:25:37 pm     #  

Saran Wrap method doesn't work for me. Best solution is apple cider vinegar in coffee mug half full. Couple drops dish soap and then spray with water to make bubbles until they're to the top then set it out and wait. Results will be disgusting... I promise.

posted by wahhutch9 on Aug 23, 2014 at 03:50:47 pm     #   1 person liked this

^but it works magic

posted by wahhutch9 on Aug 23, 2014 at 03:51:39 pm     #  

totally a big problem. My sister suggested a container with water and vinegar and then add dawn dish soap. Cover, shake to produce the bubbles and then poke holes in it. They smell the vinegar and get trapped in the dish soap. It works.

posted by ToledoLatina on Aug 23, 2014 at 04:16:33 pm     #  

Gnats are a sign of a sanitation problem. Decaying organic material is what they live and thrive on. Depending on what's decaying and it's stage of decay will determine what type of gnat you have. Fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats are some possibilities. They could be cause by something that needs cleaning or repair. Some possible causes are rotting food i.e. fruits and veggies. Check anything not in the fridge like potatoes, onions, bananas. Drain problems especially if there's a disposal, food debris get's in the lines creating a buildup that attracts them. Overwatering plants may cause a fungus which would attract fungus gnats, also water leaks in roof or crawl space would attract them.. Soil from outdoors in a house plant may have brought them in. Dirty pet areas may also attract them.
These are the basics. Hope this helps.

posted by bucknut on Aug 23, 2014 at 05:31:47 pm     #  

bucknut posted at 05:31:47 PM on Aug 23, 2014:

Gnats are a sign of a sanitation problem. Decaying organic material is what they live and thrive on. Depending on what's decaying and it's stage of decay will determine what type of gnat you have. Fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats are some possibilities. They could be cause by something that needs cleaning or repair. Some possible causes are rotting food i.e. fruits and veggies. Check anything not in the fridge like potatoes, onions, bananas. Drain problems especially if there's a disposal, food debris get's in the lines creating a buildup that attracts them. Overwatering plants may cause a fungus which would attract fungus gnats, also water leaks in roof or crawl space would attract them.. Soil from outdoors in a house plant may have brought them in. Dirty pet areas may also attract them.
These are the basics. Hope this helps.

Exactly.

Clean yer kitchen.

posted by a_fan on Aug 23, 2014 at 05:48:53 pm     #  

a_fan posted at 05:48:53 PM on Aug 23, 2014:
bucknut posted at 05:31:47 PM on Aug 23, 2014:

Gnats are a sign of a sanitation problem. Decaying organic material is what they live and thrive on. Depending on what's decaying and it's stage of decay will determine what type of gnat you have. Fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats are some possibilities. They could be cause by something that needs cleaning or repair. Some possible causes are rotting food i.e. fruits and veggies. Check anything not in the fridge like potatoes, onions, bananas. Drain problems especially if there's a disposal, food debris get's in the lines creating a buildup that attracts them. Overwatering plants may cause a fungus which would attract fungus gnats, also water leaks in roof or crawl space would attract them.. Soil from outdoors in a house plant may have brought them in. Dirty pet areas may also attract them.
These are the basics. Hope this helps.

Exactly.

Clean yer kitchen.

Quit yer trolling.

posted by historymike on Aug 23, 2014 at 06:39:15 pm     #   6 people liked this

My kitchen is clean. When I moved in a month ago, it was professionally cleaned by the landlord, I cleaned it again myself, and I've been keeping counters clean, dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher and food put away ever since. But they are still here.

There is no open food out - its either sealed, in containers, or in the fridge. But they are still here.

I have no plants, the roof is a year old, the basement is dry, the dog run is in a far corner of the yard away from the kitchen. The yard is sand not dirt, so there is no standing water anywhere. But they are still here.

Now if it is something deep in the pipes, I can't see or smell it. But its entirely possible, the prior renters were less than diligent about their cleaning. So I'll try trapping them for a few weeks and see what happens. Thanks for the input.

posted by MrsArcher on Aug 23, 2014 at 07:59:53 pm     #  

You are probably correct in your assumptions, Mrs. Archer, that you have something like drain flies. They can be pesky to eliminate, but (as other posters noted) they find damp areas like drains inviting as a source of food and breeding.

And no: this is not an issue of basic cleanliness. They typically feed on the scum that lines the interior and traps of drains (yes, even the immaculate & pristine drains of a_fan).

I have used the wine-and-Saran-wrap trick to catch them, and regularly dumping chlorine bleach in the drains also seems to lower their numbers.

If you are concerned about the bleach, try using boiling water in the drains.

posted by historymike on Aug 23, 2014 at 08:45:10 pm     #   1 person liked this

a_fan posted at 05:48:53 PM on Aug 23, 2014:
bucknut posted at 05:31:47 PM on Aug 23, 2014:

Gnats are a sign of a sanitation problem. Decaying organic material is what they live and thrive on. Depending on what's decaying and it's stage of decay will determine what type of gnat you have. Fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats are some possibilities. They could be cause by something that needs cleaning or repair. Some possible causes are rotting food i.e. fruits and veggies. Check anything not in the fridge like potatoes, onions, bananas. Drain problems especially if there's a disposal, food debris get's in the lines creating a buildup that attracts them. Overwatering plants may cause a fungus which would attract fungus gnats, also water leaks in roof or crawl space would attract them.. Soil from outdoors in a house plant may have brought them in. Dirty pet areas may also attract them.
These are the basics. Hope this helps.

Exactly.

Clean yer kitchen.

Yer an asshole.

posted by justread on Aug 23, 2014 at 08:58:39 pm     #   5 people liked this

a_fan posted at 05:48:53 PM on Aug 23, 2014:
bucknut posted at 05:31:47 PM on Aug 23, 2014:

Gnats are a sign of a sanitation problem. Decaying organic material is what they live and thrive on. Depending on what's decaying and it's stage of decay will determine what type of gnat you have. Fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, fungus gnats are some possibilities. They could be cause by something that needs cleaning or repair. Some possible causes are rotting food i.e. fruits and veggies. Check anything not in the fridge like potatoes, onions, bananas. Drain problems especially if there's a disposal, food debris get's in the lines creating a buildup that attracts them. Overwatering plants may cause a fungus which would attract fungus gnats, also water leaks in roof or crawl space would attract them.. Soil from outdoors in a house plant may have brought them in. Dirty pet areas may also attract them.
These are the basics. Hope this helps.

Exactly.

Clean yer kitchen.

Yer an asshole.

posted by justread on Aug 23, 2014 at 08:58:41 pm     #  

JustRead beat me to it. But I did manage to push two posts (JustRead and HistoryMike) over the top. I'll settle for that.

posted by madjack on Aug 24, 2014 at 06:44:54 pm     #  

Not this year but a couple years ago we had 2 or 3 gnats in the kitchen. This past week we had a swarm of yellowjackets trying to build a hive beneath the bottom lap of the vinyl siding on our house. I bought a box of "Real Kill" glue traps for mice. Then I positioned a board upright against the foundation close to the yellowjackets an set a glue trap on it. In 3 hours the trap was full of dead yellowjackets. It took 4 traps to eliminate then all.

posted by flinty on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:21:33 pm     #  

Good lord, we had tons of the little buggers in the pool.

posted by JeepMaker on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:13:12 am     #  

Yeah "clean your kitchen" people are so quick to attack people.

I have a very clean kitchen and still get them once in awhile so it's not a clean your kitchen problem.

My problem this year is bees!

SO MANY BEES.

posted by stooks on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:28:53 am     #  

^^

posted by historymike on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:23:18 pm     #  

I've noticed a ton of bees this year, especially on our sunflowers. I don't consider them a problem, really. Good for the garden and all. Anyone else seeing an increase in cicada killers? We always seem to have a few around the yard, but this year I'm seeing them everywhere!

posted by valbee on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:49:09 pm     #  

Dang bees, budweiser, miller, molson. I keep finding them empty all over the house, have to go get full ones just about everyday.

posted by MIJeff on Aug 26, 2014 at 01:33:32 pm     #  

valbee posted at 12:49:09 PM on Aug 26, 2014:

I've noticed a ton of bees this year, especially on our sunflowers. I don't consider them a problem, really. Good for the garden and all. Anyone else seeing an increase in cicada killers? We always seem to have a few around the yard, but this year I'm seeing them everywhere!

I have seen fewer cicada killers this year, valbee (ha! of course you would stick up for bees, what with your name).

Of course, last year was the year I went all Tennis Racket O' Death on them, so I think I severely reduced their breeding numbers.

posted by historymike on Aug 26, 2014 at 02:16:56 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'd like to go on record defending WASPs. They can be annoying, but all in all, they are good for the community; serving on boards, giving to charities and planting flowers. I've noticed a lot of them playing tennis at Carranor this summer.

posted by justread on Aug 26, 2014 at 02:37:56 pm     #   5 people liked this

I put out two glasses filled with apple cider vinegar and covered with plastic wrap. I immediately noticed more gnats swarming around so I assume it was working. One is gathering a significant number of gnats. I'll swap out the cups every couple of days and keep them out for a couple of weeks. So far, so good.

posted by MrsArcher on Aug 26, 2014 at 03:51:08 pm     #   1 person liked this

My issue with the saran wrap method is that it would attract a majority of the gnats.. but the holes were either too small for the gnats to get into.. or they were too big and they could get out. That was my method until I ended up going with the method I laid out above... with the apple cider vinegar, couple drops of dish soap, and water.

The saran wrap method is going to take you a solid week (I would guess.) The bubbly apple ciider vinegar water will clear your problem up in a couple of days. Like I said, it's disgusting, but it works wonders.

posted by wahhutch9 on Aug 26, 2014 at 04:52:51 pm     #  

 photo 5652FCE3-0F95-47D3-819F-D4B57F4A8BCC.jpg

posted by wahhutch9 on Aug 26, 2014 at 05:10:29 pm     #  

sorry for the big ass picture :)

posted by wahhutch9 on Aug 26, 2014 at 05:10:46 pm     #  

I was going to put out fresh cups tonight; I'll give your method a try and see what it does. I've got maybe 15-20 gnats in my saran wrap cup, but not all of them are dead.

posted by MrsArcher on Aug 26, 2014 at 05:16:12 pm     #  

Drain flies were a warm weather annoyance in my prior home. Bulbous-red-eyed itty bitty pests (tired poster here... the eyes are red and bulbous.) I believe that ammonia down the drain.... pour and let it sit for a bit ... like an hour or more..... then flush with hot tap water for a few minutes....was the ONLY permanent remedy for my kitchen infestation. I had old drains and pipes that seasonally grew stuff. Had nothing to do with obvious cleanliness or sanitation, just the infrastructure of an older home. Pour the ammonia at bed time, flush in the morning. Repeat if anal retentive and/or fearful of itty bitty pests.

posted by LetItBe on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:56:08 pm     #  

Gnats everywhere this year! Outside by and on my patio table, in the kitchen which is always clean, and even at work in my SE facing office. Staring at 3 of these #$&@#^$ right now on the wall behind my monitor!

posted by presbacon on Aug 27, 2014 at 02:04:44 pm     #  

These gnats are making me go nuts. I have to keep watch over my window tomatoes.

posted by estioney on Aug 28, 2014 at 07:57:43 pm     #  

I tried a couple of the suggestions that were made with some relief but not significant. So I dumped toilet bowl cleaner down my kitchen sink. That seems to have worked. Interesting that bleach didn't work but toilet bowl cleaner did.

posted by MrsArcher on Sep 06, 2014 at 10:21:53 am     #  

Prolly just needed a little thickness to cling to the drain for a bit.

posted by toledolen_ on Sep 06, 2014 at 12:03:26 pm     #  

I've always been able to avoid this problem with first using a cup of bleach in kitchen sink drains followed the next day with white vinegar and baking soda.

posted by 6th_Floor on Sep 07, 2014 at 12:35:20 am     #