Will citronella oil spray repel gnats? Here are the facts.
Gnats are tiny insects mostly known for causing significant discomfort during an infestation. Although certain species do bite, others don’t.
Apart from those that feed on blood, others feed on crop pests.
Some are excellent pollinators. Now, in a bid to find a solution to gnat presence, you’ll need to pick from several treatment options.
One home remedy that has been touted as being effective is the use of gnat repellent plants.
Citronella oil is widely applied for a lot of domestic uses. Among its many uses is pest control, and so we ask the question; does citronella repel gnats?
Most of our discussion will aim at finding answers.
What Pests Does Citronella Repel?
There are lots of claims as well as counterclaims as to the effect of citronella.
According to such claims, citronella oil repels mosquitoes, fleas, ants, and even gnats.
So, should this be taken as a confirmation of citronella’s efficacy on gnats? Not really. Such claims will need to be confirmed before taking them seriously.
Claims are Mostly Anecdotal Evidence
Most of the claims about the efficacy of citronella oil for gnat control mostly consist of stories from personal evidence. More often than not, such types of claims aren’t supported by reliable proof.
Several factors might come into play that may affect actual results when repeated.
For example, you may try out this treatment by applying citronella to gnats with dismal results obtained.
Efficacy may be affected by the composition of the oil (if diluted), as well as improper application among other possible factors.
More important is the fact that the so-called repellent effect of citronella isn’t backed by science.
Why People Think Citronella Works
Citronella won’t give desired results when it comes to gnat control.
If so, what informed this thinking in the first place? Understanding the “why” gives us a more comprehensive grasp of the topic being discussed.
There’s a common claim that essential oils repel insect pests. While some of these are true, others aren’t. As a matter of fact, essential oils generally tend to be terrible bug repellents.
While citronella may not measure up in terms of gnat control, it has a wide range of other benefits.
You may want to try something Else
When it comes to citronella use as a repellent, the chances of getting desired results are quite slim.
In a nutshell, this isn’t a treatment you should take seriously if you really want to deal with an existing gnat problem. You want to try out something that’s proven to work.
Citronella Alternatives For Gnat Control
Having disproved the efficacy of citronella as a gnat repellent, it’s necessary to consider alternatives that work.
Thankfully there are several. One similarity they all have in common with citronella is that they’re also natural treatments. As non-toxic gnat remedies, there’s no reason to fear when using them.
These include Gnatrol or BTI, apple cider vinegar trap, diluted bleach, and gnat fly trap. More citronella alternatives include potato chunks, homemade gnat spray, and sticky traps.
Let’s have a look at how these optional treatments are applied.
Gnatrol or BTI
When it comes to natural gnat treatment, Gnatrol/BTI can be used instead of citronella. This is basically a naturally occurring fungus that serves to destroy gnat larvae.
For best results, you’ll need to target potted plants and applied to the soil.
A one-time treatment won’t get anything done. You’ll need to apply repeatedly for these fungi to feed on gnat larvae. Before long, there should be a significant drop in gnat presence.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap
This is one of the most versatile products to have in a home. Apple cider vinegar can be used to make a gnat trap.
How is this trap made? You only need a few tablespoons of this product. This is added to a few drops of your preferred dish soap and should be mixed with a tablespoon of sugar.
With your trap solution prepared, place this around areas with the most gnat presence. The sugar and apple cider vinegar contents will attract these pests.
Once they touch the solution, they become trapped and drown.
Bleach is another household laundry product that can be used as a repellent for gnats in place of citronella.
Because these insect pests are commonly found around drains, you could pour some diluted bleach into your drains. This repels gnats and at the same time kills those within the drains.
How does potato chunk measure up as a gnat repellent?
You’ll need to consider the damaging effect of gnat larvae on plant roots. To better control these pests, you only need to get a raw potato chunk and have it placed in your flower pots.
The potato chunk should be placed in such a way that it’s away from the plant. This draws out gnat larvae from the plant roots towards the chunk of potato.
After a few days, have this chunk removed and replaced until the problem is resolved.
Homemade Gnat Spray
A homemade gnat repellent spray can be made with natural everyday ingredients with great results.
Here, you’ll need some water (about a cup), a cup of baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap. Mix these and pour them into a spray bottle.
With your gnat spray ready, target areas you’ve seen gnats lately. With repeated applications, these pests should be gone within a few days.
Just like the name implies, sticky traps are meant to glue these pests.
By cutting and placing these traps along with wooden skewers of your flower pot, gnats are trapped when they land on them. Before long, you shouldn’t have any more gnat problems.
Gnat Fruit Trap
Because gnats are attracted to fruits, you can make a trap by some rotting fruits in a jar. Instead of closing the jar with its cover, replace it with a perforated plastic wrap.
These pests enter into the jar through the perforations and are unable to leave.
Although citronella does not repel gnats, it’s just one remedy out of many that can be exchanged for another. We’ve listed the other alternatives to keeping gnats at bay.