Have you ever noticed annoying swarms or clouds of small flies in the air? If you live near a lake, pond, beach, marsh, or slow-moving river or creek, then you’ve probably encountered midges! Even if they are biting or non-biting, we know that they can drive you nuts!
Like mosquitoes, gnats are challenging to control because the problem may go beyond your property line when they’re flying in from a nearby lake or farm. Are you looking for suitable repellents to get rid of them and ways to make your yard less inviting to them? Keep on reading to find out all you need to know, and enjoy your pest-free garden!
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How to properly identify midges in your garden
Midges, also known as gnats, no-see-ums, punkies and sandflies, are small flying insects that have a distinct appearance. There are two types of midges, the biting ones and non-biting gnats. Although they can be annoying because of their vast numbers, non-biting gnats pose little to no harm. They look like mini mosquitoes, and the biting ones look like tiny gnats. Biting gnats run the risk of causing you pain and annoyance. They both have a grey colouring, and adult ones grow no larger than 3mm.
Biting gnats are characterised by two wings, segmented antennae and 6 legs. Only the females draw blood from humans. They have a proboscis for their blood meals to produce protein for the protection of their eggs. Since it is difficult to identify what type of insects you are dealing with, paying attention to the wounds that occur on your skin will give you the answer.
Do you want to identify gnats in your garden correctly? They thrive in warm conditions, and there are certain things they like. Check around your house area to find if anything could be acting as breeding sites for the insects. Do you have plenty of flowering plants that produce flower nectar? Do you have a lot of water nearby? You can find gnats larvae in sewage water, natural lakes, and settling ponds. Keep on reading to find out what attracts midges and how to prevent them from visiting your garden!
What attracts midges in your garden
Many gnats populate during the warmer seasons, which explains why you see so many of them during the fall and cooler months. They prefer places that allow them to lay their eggs and breed and gather around areas that provide food. Here are the most common places you can find them:
- Around green areas, houseplants, in places with plenty of foliage and tall grasses.
- Around aquatic environments like marshes, swimming pools, birdbaths, ponds, a slow-moving stream, or something similar.
- In areas where there is sand and wet mud.
- Around open rubbish piles and bin bags that provide any food source, but mainly fruit.
- They are attracted to animals and humans due to our levels of C02, body heat, and certain scents that we carry.
How to get rid of midges easily
Wondering how to get rid of gnats ? It is almost impossible to eliminate them entirely as they are part of the ecosystem and nutrient-rich aquatic environments. Nonetheless, you can reduce and prevent their breeding habitats. To most effectively get rid of them, use a combination of methods to minimise their population in your yard and deter their presence.
Apply chemical solutions in water sources
To control gnat populations, you can use chemicals, such as granular temephos, BTI, and methoprene.
- Apply these to the gnats ’ water habitats to kill off some of the larval population, preventing the eggs from developing and hatching.
- To maximise their effectiveness apply them just before the wettest, hottest months in your region.
- Just keep in mind; this is only a temporary measure for dealing with their populations, and repeated and prolonged use of larvicides can harm the environment!
Spray adulticide insecticides where you see adult midges
- Adult gnat flies rest in areas like walls and surfaces having light sources. Target these areas or even spray directly on swarms of gnats.
- Using insecticides will not affect the gnats ’ rapid re-population cycles very much but can help you eliminate them temporarily.
- To reduce the adult ones population in a specific area, spray a mist of insecticide with a thermal fogger.
- You will probably need to use these sprays daily since they don’t last long in the environment.
Use electrocution insect traps
- Set up an electrocution gnats trap near a gnats habitat or a significant light source to kill large numbers of gnats. Keep in mind that this will not affect the reproduction cycle or the larvae population. Also, make sure that you pick up and clean the trap regularly so it won’t get clogged.
- There is a wide range of models, but choosing the best mosquito killers will eliminate annoying bugs around you!
Create DIY traps
- Use sticky tape to create traps. Place them on trees, windowsills, doors, plants, dog houses, patios, and wherever else you think gnats are present. After they land on the tape, they won’t be able to escape. Replace the tape traps when necessary.
- Create an apple cider vinegar trap. Pour 12 mm of apple cider vinegar into a glass, fill with standing water and a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent. This mixture attracts gnats, so place the glasses around the house and the garden. They will fly close to the water and die when attempting to land. When many dead gnats are floating in the water, dispose of it and replace the mixture. This is one of the best answers to how to get rid of gnats since it is an inexpensive and straightforward trap.
Create DIY midge spray
- Combine 1 cup of distilled water, 3 tablespoons of citronella oil, 2 cups of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil and 3 tablespoons of lemongrass oil into a spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle well.
- Spray onto plants and surfaces to repel gnats.
- To kill them, spray directly onto them.
- Don’t get this stuff on your eyes or skin!
Seek help from professionals
Sometimes gnats’ presence is inevitable in uncontrollable situations or specific environments. You may seek help from mites experts to combat this pesky pest!
How to keep midges away
You’ve all heard that prevention is better than cure! Stopping gnats from coming into your home in the first place is the best way to deal with your pest problem. Here are some of the best ways to keep the life cycle of fruit flies and mosquitos away from your life!
Reduce water and light resources around your house
- Eliminate or reduce lighting around your home since it attracts gnats. If you cannot do that, use the light to your advantage by relocating it to an area away from outdoor gathering spots.
- Eliminate pools of standing water in your garden to help reduce gnats numbers. Stagnant water is used as breeding sites for them, so you should regularly empty water from birdbaths, planters, and rain gutters.
Attract natural predators
- If you own a pond or lake, you can purchase goldfish, koi, guppies or other tropical fish to control the larvae found in stagnant water.
- To reduce their population, try to attract native predators to your areas, such as bats, toads, frogs, dragonflies and bees.
Create DIY repellents with essential oils
- Use essential oils, such as pine oil, for a trap to get rid of midges.
- Soak a piece of old cloth in pine oil and hang it on top of the windows in your patio and home. When they smell the scented cloth, they will be naturally put off from coming close.
Get plants that repel midges naturally
There are many plants you can use as a natural repellent for midges. Place them around your home and garden and keep midges out. The best plants for this cause are:
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon balm and thyme
Keep midges away from your house and patio with screens and fans
- Install fine-mesh screens or mosquito nets to your windows and doors. Window screens will prevent them from entering your home, but make sure to patch any holes or tears in the mesh since midges can be tiny.
- Run an air conditioner or fan to block midges from entering your home. The air produced by these can disrupt midges’ ability to fly. You can also install ceiling fans on decks and patios to deter midges from resting there.
Apply insect repellent directly to your exposed skin
- Insect pests are attracted to skin and can cause painful and irritating bites.
- Spray your exposed skin with DEET-based or plant-based insect repellents.
- For the best result, make sure to apply the repellent as often as its instructions suggest.
- Using the best mosquito repellents will help you take back control and enjoy life without fear of nasty bites.
Use insect diversions
- Use high-intensity white-light sources to attract adult midges. Place them near the midge population but away from residential areas. With proper placement and some luck, they will be drawn to this light source, and their population will be reduced in places where humans frequent.
- Use a CO2 trap to eliminate midges. The carbon dioxide that humans exhale attracts insect pests. These traps discharge CO2 into the surrounding environment, and then a small fan pulls them into a container inside. Some CO2 traps cover a wide area of up to 91 m.
Use a spray midge repellent
- Combine 1 cup of distilled water, 2 cups of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil, 3 tablespoons of citronella oil and 3 tablespoons of lemongrass oil into a spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle well.
- Spray onto plants and surfaces to repel midges.
- Don’t get this stuff on your eyes or skin!
Smacking midges manually is undoubtedly one way to get rid of some of them. But it is not the best way to achieve pest control! With persistence and patience, you can control the midge infestation around your home. Keep those pesky no-see-ums out, using a combination of the above suggestions, choosing the ones that fit your needs and area better. Say goodbye to annoying swarms and midges’ bites!