Gnat Repellents

Gnats are tiny flying insects that can be a source of irritation to anyone’s outdoor activities. They are so prevalent that gnat elimination is not even feasible. There are ways to help control their population and reproduction. Gnat repellents can be natural, homemade, organic or chemical in nature. This article recommends trying the environmentally friendly approaches first. Chemical pesticides are toxic substances that poison the environment and should be left as a last resort, not a first choice. By starting with the least toxic method you will be protecting yourself and your environment.

Natural Repellents

Gnats and other pests can be reduced by altering the environment in ways that make it less suitable for their presence. The carefully controlled watering of plants will reduce the gnat population. Over-watered soil is prone to fungus growth. This creates a breeding ground for gnats.

Allow the soil to dry between watering to avoid this problem. In addition to controlled watering, remove all decomposing organic matter from the plant. This will also help reduce the gnat population by eliminating a food source.

Changes in lighting are another way to repel gnats. Switch all conventional outdoor lights to high or low-pressure sodium lighting to repel gnat populations. The orange color of sodium lighting seems to deter gnats from wanting to hang around.

The common sized mesh used in window screens is not fine enough to keep out tiny pests like gnats. You can replace your window screens with a fine mesh fiberglass screen available at hardware stores and on-line.

Biological Pest Control

Biological pest control is the release of beneficial insects into your yard that will feed on pests. They provide long-term pest control. They only feed on specific types of insects. They leave your plants alone. This is a safe and natural option. It can be used in conjunction with a non-toxic or organic repellent. When released immediately after the repellent, these predator insects are an effective control method.

Another form of biological pest control is the administration of naturally occurring micro-organisms that affect only a specific type of insect. Bacteria, virus and other disease causing organisms are safe and will not affect non-targeted pests. You, your pets and others will not be affected. Also, see our page on garden pest barriers.

Organic Repellents

A compound of natural oils is an environmentally friendly way to repel gnats. Citronella, Lemongrass, Cedarwood, Garlic and Cinnamon oils are commonly used ingredients in organic pest control. A solution of these oils is sprayed on your lawn or any area where gnats are present. The oils naturally repel gnats without any toxic effects.

Homemade Repellents

A solution of half vinegar and half dish soap can be put in a shallow bowl. The vinegar will attract the gnats to the bowl. After attempting to consume the vinegar the oily soap will trap the gnats in the solution. This is a very inexpensive yet effective control measure.

Sticky traps are non-poisonous and easy to use. They are safe anywhere, including your kitchen. They lure gnats and other pests by an attractant compound contained within the trap. The pests then get stuck in a non-drying glue. There are many different sticky traps available.


There are many chemical repellents and insecticides on the market. One thing they all have in common is the fact that they are toxic poisons. They do not discriminate against insects, humans or pets. Although it may seem the easier route to take, it is definitely the least safe. Some have been proven to cause cancer. There are also many unknown side effects. This is why the use of poisons should be a last resort and used as sparingly as needed.

There are topical repellents that you spray on your clothing and skin. They are immediately affective deterrents. They are less toxic than other whole room insecticides. From foggers that poison everything in their range, to granules and residual sprays containing powerful poisons like DEET and Permetherin, there are quite a lot of choices.

The best pest control is a combination of the suggested techniques. Find out whatever combination works best for your situation.