In this article, we’ll be going over some of the most effective essential oils that kill gnats. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 options and how to use them.
Gnats are just as annoying to humans as they’re destructive to your plants. If you’re not vigilant enough, an infestation can break out in just a few days and devour the roots of your plants.
We have good news, though. You don’t have to turn to harsh chemicals and toxic repellents anymore. Essential oils are natural gnat repellents that are safe for kids and pets and effective in fending off gnats and other pesky insects.
Top 5 Essential Oils that Kill Gnats
All 5 essential oils can be mixed together in one solution. They work in conjugation with each other and produce an odor that’s considered unbearable to various types of insects.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is considered a powerful insecticide because of its primary ingredient, menthol. Menthol is considered biocidal, which means it’s effective in repelling mosquitoes, mites, and, of course, gnats.
How To Use
To make a powerful peppermint oil solution, add two cups of water and a tablespoon of dish soap. Mix and add in a spray bottle, then apply 20-25 drops of peppermint oil.
The dish soap acts as an adhesive. This is essential to enable the solution to stick to the surfaces for a prolonged time.
Spray the solution in your garden, lawn, and inside your house if necessary. The spray should last for a couple of weeks, but you can spray once a week if you suffer from a gnat infestation.
Another way you can make a powerful gnat repellent is by adding vodka and witch hazel. This will help disperse the peppermint oil and make the scent stronger and long-lasting.
Peppermint oil is best mixed with eucalyptus oil, clove oil, and lemongrass oil.
2. Neem Oil
We recommend neem oil in all preparations because it’s a powerful organic insecticide. It’s found abundantly in most parts of the tree, but you can find the highest amount in the seed. The compound is called Azadirachtin, and it’s known for its fungicidal and broad-spectrum insecticidal properties.
It’s especially powerful in repelling gnats but can also kill aphids, mealybugs, and other pesky insects.
How To Use
Neem oil can work as a spray, but we recommend drenching your garden’s soil with neem oil for better effect. Neem oil has a half-life of up to 22 days, which makes it ideal for the soil. This is why we consider neem oil one of the best remedies for fungus gnat infestations.
First, dilute 1 teaspoon of neem oil with two cups of water. Then, let the soil dry out completely so that the surface of the soil is brittle. Now, drench the soil with neem oil and make sure all the roots are covered.
You can also add dish soap and peppermint oil in a spray bottle and spray all the plants to repel the adult gnats. You should know that this method is highly effective, but it might take weeks, and sometimes months, for the gnats to disappear.
Finally, if there are still a lot of gnats after a couple of weeks, you might have to repot your plants. Throw out the old soil, rinse using bleach and water, and add the new soil. Drench the soil again and spray the plant. You should see results in the first few days.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another powerful insecticide. It contains 14 different terpenes and has a powerful camphoraceous odor.
This is why gnats dislike tea tree oil so much. In 2014, a study concluded that tea tree oil has powerful insecticidal and repellent properties. It was able to kill 100% of the adult flies subjected to it and lasted for several hours.
The study also concluded that tea tree oil is probably effective against several other types of insects and pests, and homeowners have backed up that claim. Tea tree oil is effective against gnats, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and various stinging insects.
Caution should be exercised especially with tea tree oil. The concentrated oil can irritate the skin and is considered poisonous when ingested. It’s also highly toxic to dogs and cats.
How To Use
Creating a diluted solution is just as easy as with the other essential oils. Add two cups of water and apply 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. You can add dish soap for better adhesion to the foliage.
It’s been reported that geranium oil significantly enhances the powerful odor of tea tree oil, making it truly detestable to most kinds of pests. The best part? It smells incredible and has a calming, pain-numbing effect on humans.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil comes from the tall and spectacular trees found in Australia’s evergreen forest. It has a wide range of uses, which is why almost everyone has probably heard of it before.
The wide spectrum of activities includes fungicidal, insecticidal, anti-microbial, acaricidal, and herbicidal properties.
Eucalyptus oil should also be handled with care, as it causes skin irritation and can be toxic to animals in high doses.
How To Use
To make a powerful eucalyptus preparation, add 25-30 drops of oil to one cup of water. Soap and alcohol are welcome additions, but you don’t really need them.
Once you shake the solution well, spray it on the foliage and roots and reapply three times a week. Eucalyptus oil is powerful, and this will become apparent in the first few weeks as you see the number of pests dwindle. However, take note that eucalyptus oil is surprisingly flammable, so keep it away from any heat sources.
5. Rosemary Oil
Finally, rosemary oil contains cineole, pinene, and camphor. It’s similar to tea tree oil and shows powerful insecticidal properties. It shares the terpenes of several other essential oils. For example, cineole is primarily found in eucalyptus oil, and limonene is found in citrus oil.
Rosemary oil isn’t a popular choice in repelling insects, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Cornell University compared rosemary oil to 11 other essential oils and found that it was the most potent and lasted the longest.
Rosemary oil isn’t just effective against gnats, but can also deter mosquitos and other stinging insects.
How To Use
Rosemary oil is best combined with other essential oils for better effect. We recommend choosing an oil with a camphoraceous odor like tea tree oil and adding a few drops of neem oil as well.
Start by preparing one cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of dish detergent. Then, add 15-20 drops of rosemary oil, 10 drops of neem oil, and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Shake well before spraying so the oils aren’t separated from the vehicle.
You can also add geranium oil for an extra pungent smell. We especially love this preparation because it makes your garden smell amazing!
Essential Oils That Kill Gnats – Conclusion
All the essential oils that kill gnats mentioned above are incredibly effective, but can also be used against other insects.
The diluted preparations shouldn’t cause any harm if spilled or ingested in small amounts. However, make sure to keep them away from kids and pets. If any preparation is ingested in large volumes, seek medical help immediately.
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