It’s funny – well, not really – how something so small can become such a big trouble. Gnats, flies, no-see-ums, whatever you call them, can easily invade your home, especially if you forget to wipe a sweet spill, water your plants or leave your ripe bananas sit one day too many. Although they are unsightly and irritating, these pests will in fact do no harm. “Their mouthparts are not designed to bite,” says Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer. “There are no diseases that are actually transmitted.”
The problem: if you don’t tackle the problem directly, midges can quickly take control of your home. Fortunately, there are easy and effective ways to stop these winged creatures in their tracks – and keep them from coming back again and again. When you spot or hear them, follow this simple guide on how to get rid of midges.
Identify the pest.
Just because tiny insects fly around doesn’t mean they are midges. Fruit flies, drainage flies and fungal midges are three of the most common offenders, so you’ll need to get up close to see what you’re talking about.
Eliminate their food source.
Fruit flies will not stay if they have nothing to feast on. For the moment, stick the products in the refrigerator or inside the bins as much as possible. You should also rinse fruits and vegetables as soon as you return from the store. “There may be very, very tiny eggs or larvae,” says Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer. “By washing them and keeping them sealed, fruit flies can no longer find this source of food.”
It is not that simple for drainage flies. Since they prefer bacteria, sewage and dirt in your drain, garbage disposal or rarely used toilets, Hartzer advises to use a drain cleaner like Drano Max Gel Clog Remover to flush out the pipes. If the problem persists, a continuous infestation may indicate a leak, so call a plumber.
When it comes to fungal midges, exercise your green thumb. These pests love moisture and humidity, so make watering easier. Repotting indoor plants in new soil is also helpful. “It’s great for the plant and it’s great for reducing midges,” says Hartzer.
Set a trap.
Although these preventive measures will stop midges at the source, it is sometimes better to take immediate action. Here are the most effective ways to get rid of midges:
Make a trap with apple cider vinegar and plastic wrap.
DIY your own fruit fly trap by pouring a little apple cider vinegar into a glass, or by simply removing the cork from a bottle. Cover the opening in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then, drill a few small holes for the fruit flies to enter.
Trap flies with a paper cone, vinegar and old fruits.
Place a little vinegar and a piece of very ripe fruit in a jar. Then roll the printer paper into a cone and stick it in the jar, placing the narrow opening down. The smell of rotten products will help attract fruit flies to the mix, but the paper cone will make it difficult for them to escape.
Drown the flies, leaving aside a bowl of vinegar and dish soap.
Add three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar and leave it uncovered. The soap reduces the surface tension of the vinegar, so that the flies sink and drown.
Take out an almost empty bottle of old wine or beer.
With vinegar, fruit flies also like the smell of wine and beer. Leave a bottle open with some remaining liquid – the skinny collar will keep the flies trapped. the Old Farmer’s Almanac Also recommend using stale beer to attract fruit flies.
Purchase a fail safe fly trap.
For an easy fix, buy Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! on Amazon. The blend uses the active ingredients, including sodium lauryl sulfate (a surfactant used in soaps) and malic acid (found in fruits). Just open the top, put it on your counter and “watch the life cycle unfold”.
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