gnats are annoyingGnats—tiny black flying insects—have invaded my house. I believe they are gnats or fruit flies. They could also be fungus gnats. Whatever they are, they are annoying. I don’t know where they came from but they appeared shortly after my mother’s birthday party. Since she received several bouquets of cut flowers from loving friends, I suspect one of them (or all) might be the source.

The dictionary says a gnat is “any various usually biting dipteran flies.” The word “gnat” has been in use since before the 12th century. It is from the Old English word, gnætt, akin to the word gnagan, as in “to gnaw.” I am thankful this variety of gnat is not a biting insect; otherwise, I would resort to drastic measures, such as bug bombing the house.

Over the following weeks, these tiny winged villains have become a real nuisance. I expected them to have a short life span and be gone within a week, but they are still here. Is it possible they are mating and birthing at an exponential rate?

They are attracted to the CO2 in my breath so they continually circle my face. Worse, like stealth bombers they dive right up my nostrils. That drives me crazy! I find them in my water glass. I find them flattened on the butter dish. I find them in the refrigerator, circling the fruit bin. How maddening is this?

Initially, I could not find where they came from, but I’ve experienced this type of infestation before. The first time it happened, the source was an over ripe banana I found at the bottom of the fruit bowl.

The second time, the source was an amaryllis, a gift I received at Christmas. It was one of those boxed bulbs with its own soil. As soon as the soil was moistened, the little buggers appeared.

This time, however, those sources do not exist, so I have narrowed it down to the flower bouquets or my houseplants. It is possible that the bugs were in hibernation under the flower petals until they reached the warmth of my air-conditioned house (which is set at 80 degrees) and then hatched. I can’t very well throw the flowers away. They were a birthday gift.

It could also be the houseplants. According to most pest control companies, if houseplants have wet soil it can attract fungus gnats. One way to control fungus gnats is to let the soil dry out completely before watering. So, I am drying out all my houseplants.

Another household remedy that does not involve pesticides is a concoction of apple cider vinegar and dishwashing detergent. I am in the process of testing this method. After an hour, I have collected two gnats. That’s two out of a million, but I am encouraged by the success.

Two less of those little suckers is a victory.