No matter what type of gnat is buzzing around you, one thing’s for sure: They are annoying little pests. Many small, flying insects are characterized as ‟gnats” even though many of them are actually small flies. Fungus gnats, buffalo gnats and black gnats certainly fit the profile here. The common flies that are often referred to as gnats are fruit flies, phorid flies and sand flies. Regardless of what you call them, they always seem to show up when you least expect it. So, how do you get gnats? Let’s look at what attracts gnats in order to find out.

Why are gnats attracted to humans?

The answer is simple – it’s all about scent. The majority of gnats and flies are attracted to certain smells, especially fruit and sweet scents. Most of us use a variety of personal hygiene products. So if you’re asking, ‟Why are gnats attracted to my face?” the answer might be the soap, perfume, lotion or hair spray that you use. Many of these products contain a flower or fruit smell that draws these pests to you. The scent of laundry detergent or additives on your clothing will also bring them your way. Body heat and moisture also play a role. Many species of gnats and flies are attracted by body heat. Others are in search of moisture. Not only are they drawn to perspiration, but also the mucous around your eyes and nose that can be a source of moisture.

What are gnats attracted to outside of your home?

Your yard can contain a variety of items that entice gnats and flies. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens and flowers all provide a source of food and moisture. Over-watering your lawn or flowerbeds not only provides moisture, but may also create fungus and molds that are the primary food source for certain types of flying insects such as the fungus gnat. And your outdoor lighting? Are gnats attracted to light? Yes, many species are attracted to light.

What are gnats attracted to inside of your home?

Many items that attract gnats and flies outside of your home are commonly found inside as well. Fruits and vegetables that aren’t stored in sealed containers could easily be the source of an infestation. Fresh flowers and houseplants also appeal to these pests. Some gnats, like the fungus gnat, will even live and reproduce in the soil of potted plants that have a high moisture content. Food spillage, garbage cans that aren’t sealed and sink drains that aren’t routinely cleaned can provide food, water, shelter and breeding sites for a host of flying insects.

What other types of substances can catch gnats' attention?

What about other stuff around your home? Are gnats attracted to honey? Are gnats attracted to vinegar? Indeed. Vinegar and honey are almost irresistible to gnats. In fact, there are home remedies that suggest using glass jar traps with either vinegar or honey inside as the lure. There are also many other household items that will draw gnats and flies, such as scented candles, fragrant oil burners and potpourri.