How To Eliminate Lawn Gnats From Your Lawn

Summertime means cookouts, swimming, and time spent outside in the yard. However, if you have been dealing with an infestation of lawn gnats, that enjoyment may have been spoiled. The hot, muggy days of summer can be a paradise for lawn gnats. These tiny black flies can swarm around your head and land on your food, making outdoor activities less than desirable.

Lawn gnats can be a real nuisance, but thankfully there are ways to get rid of them. So, how can you get rid of lawn gnats and enjoy your yard this summer? Keep reading to find out!

What Are Lawn Gnats?

Lawn gnats, also called Fungus Gnats, are a common type of fly. Adults look like small, dark flies with long legs. Larvae are legless maggots that live in moist areas where they feed on organic matter such as decaying plant debris. Lawn gnats usually do not pose any threat to humans or animals, but a large amount of them in your yard can be a nuisance.

These gnats are found in countries all over the world. They are weak fliers, and are often seen walking quickly rather than flying. However, once they get airborne, they can be a real pain because they fly and buzz close to people’s faces, eyes, and noses, and around their heads.

Lawn gnats are very hardy, and can tolerate freezing conditions due to innate antifreeze capabilities. They can both avoid freezing and tolerate freezing, something very few insects can do.

Why Are They In My Yard?

Fungus gnats are so called because they feed on fungi and mushrooms growing in the ground or on the sides of trees and other shrubbery. So, one main reason they could be found in your yard is if you have mushrooms growing on your lawn. This is a classic sign of overwatering, so if you have overwatered your lawn at all, or have been getting a larger than normal amount of rainfall, mushrooms can start to grow and attract lawn gnats.

Lawn gnats lay their eggs in moist soil, and the larvae feed on organic matter like grass roots and leaves. While both adults and larvae populations of lawn gnats are not dangerous to humans, animals, or even healthy plants, they can do a lot of damage to seedlings and other growing grasses and vegetation.

How To Kill Lawn Gnats

So, now that you know why lawn gnats are in your yard, and basically what they look like and how they live, let’s get down to the business of eliminating them. There are a few simple steps to take to kill and get rid of these pesky insects:

Natural Methods

One of the first natural ways that we can get rid of lawn gnats is to prevent them from laying eggs and hatching larvae in the first place. While it may be impossible to get rid of all moisture in your soil, you can reduce moisture levels significantly by allowing any watered plants to dry out.

Another natural solution to a lawn gnat infestation is to place a small layer of sandy soil or a small amount of mulch on top of the soil around plants. This will both dry out your plants as well as encourage growth and better water retention.

You can also mix hydrogen peroxide and water and use that to kill lawn gnat larvae that is in infested soil. Simply mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with four parts of water and spray.

 Since gnats are sluggish flyers, fan-based traps and other fly-killing gadgets may be used to help control free-flying gnats, particularly inside.

Chemical Methods

You may use diflubenzuron, a growth regulator used to control fungus gnat and larval development, to manage fungus gnats and their larvae. You should apply it to infected soil and a single application will kill any lawn gnat larvae for 30–60 days.

How To Prevent Lawn Gnats

Like we have mentioned before, lawn gnats are attracted to wet and damp locations, so a great way to prevent a lawn gnat infestation is by allowing your lawn’s soil to dry out, as well as not overwatering it in the first place.

However, these insects are very hardy, so if you have been overwatering your grass for years and the soil has become compacted from excess moisture, it may be too late for prevention by skipping just one or two applications of water. That process can take a long time, and involved de-compacting your soil and aerating it.

Final Thoughts

Lawn gnats are tiny flies that can be a nuisance in your yard. They are attracted to moist environments, and can often be found around lawns, gardens, and compost piles. In this post, we’ve outlined what lawn gnats are, why they’re in your yard, and how to kill them using both natural and chemical methods. We hope this article has been helpful to you, and that you can now finally get rid of your pesky lawn gnat problem once and for all!

Photo of author
Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.