6 Proven Ways on How to Get Rid of Soil Gnats

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how to get rid of soil gnats

Soil gnats are a common problem that can be difficult to get rid of. They’re tiny, hard to spot, and all over your garden, where they lay their eggs and multiply.

If you’ve ever had soil gnats, then you know how frustrating it can be to try and keep them away from your plants. But don’t worry! We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll talk about what soil gnats are, why they’re such a pest for gardeners, and how to get rid of soil gnats quickly!

Before you learn how to get rid of soil gnats, what are they?

Soil gnats are tiny black flies that live in the soil and feed on decaying organic matter. They’re often found around plants and compost piles, which can be a nuisance if you have them in your home.

But before you learn how to get rid of soil gnats, what are these bugs look like?

If you see small black flies buzzing around your plants or houseplants, you likely have these chaotic bugs, and getting rid of soil gnats should be your top priority. 

They are very small, about 1/8 inch long, so they may be difficult to see without magnification. 

To identify them, look for the following characteristics.

  • They’re black (not brown or gray)
  • They have long, skinny legs that look like tubes
  • They have clear wings with veins that look like they’re made of wires
  • They fly in a “wavy” pattern instead of straight lines

Soil gnats are most active in spring when they lay eggs in the top layer of soil. These eggs hatch into larvae called maggots that feed on decaying organic matter, such as dead leaves and plant roots.

Because they’re attracted to moisture and organic matter, they’re a common problem with houseplants. However, they can also be found in outdoor potted plants and in garden beds with moist soil.

So, how to get rid of soil gnats in your garden and in your planters?

How to get rid of soil gnats in your garden?

If you have soil gnats, you know how annoying they can be. 

They keep coming back, even after you’ve cleaned up the mess they made. But don’t worry! We’ve got some tips to kickstart the process on how to get rid of soil gnats!

1. Clean your house!

If any food or garbage is lying around, that may attract the gnats. So throw out any old food scraps or trash, wash down countertops and floors with soap and water, and make sure that any dishes are squeaky clean before drying them. Soap residue will also attract gnats.

Keeping your property clean is the first and most important step on how to get rid of soil gnats.

2. Check your plants!

Your plants may be suffering from a lack of nutrients or water, which will attract gnats looking for greener pastures. If this sounds like your situation, give them good watering and fertilizer. With that, you can use compost to help them thrive again and watch as those pesky bugs disappear!

3. Make sure your soil is not overwatered.

Check the soil for dampness, which attracts the gnats in the first place. If you notice your plant’s soil is always wet, try adding more peat moss or compost to dry it out.

You can also cover the soil with layers of sandpaper or fine mesh screen to keep out adult gnats until the larvae have matured into adults and flown away on their own.

4. Use insecticidal soap.

Spray the plant with insecticidal soap when watering it. This will kill off any eggs or larvae hiding out on the leaves.

5. Utilize nematodes.

Try treating your soil with beneficial nematodes like Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. These microscopic worms can attack soil-dwelling pests without harming beneficial organisms like earthworms or other beneficial insects.

6. Use a trap.

If all else fails, set up a simple trap using a small jar and some apple cider vinegar mixed with water!

Or you can use yellow sticky traps as a last resort. They’re super effective at catching gnats when all else fails!

How to get rid of soil gnats on your planters and pots?

If you use planters or pots and get these pesky pests, you can follow these steps on how to get rid of soil gnats.

  • First, empty all of the soil out of your pots and planters. If you don’t want to do this yourself or if you have a lot of plants, consider calling a professional landscaper who can help you with this step.
  • Next, sanitize the inside of each pot or planter by filling it with warm water and adding about one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water. Let the pots soak for 10 minutes before draining them again.
  • After washing them out, fill each pot or planter back up with clean potting soil but don’t use any from before because it probably has some gnat eggs in it!

Other things to check that can help get rid of soil gnats.

Aside from your garden, other parts of your household or property can answer your question on how to get rid of soil gnats. Take a look at this list!

  1. Check for leaks in your plumbing system. Soil gnats can come into your house through leaks that allow water outside to come inside. Make sure all of your plumbing is working properly, and check for any leaks around pipes or drains. If you discover any leaks, repair them immediately!
  2. Make sure you don’t have standing water in any containers around your home, especially those holding plants or food scraps. As said earlier, cleanliness is essential to get rid of soil gnats.
  3. Add beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises to your garden or yard. You can also purchase them at your local gardening store.
  4. Check for any small holes in windows or doors where gnats might be getting inside from outside sources like sprinklers or rain gutters. Plug up those holes with silicone sealant or putty so they can’t come back through again!


If you’re searching for a way to get rid of soil gnats, we’ve given you all the information you need in this article. You can use one or two of these methods or all of them together to ensure that your garden is free from gnats in no time.

Remember to take care of the problem before it gets worse so you don’t have to deal with this issue again. But if you’ve tried everything and still haven’t been able to get rid of soil gnats, it’s time to call in the professionals.

We know how disappointing it is to have a well-kept garden that just won’t grow because of these pesky little bugs. But don’t let them get you down! With extra persistence and hard work, you can beat those soil gnats for good!

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