Fungus gnats are tiny flies that are often associated with indoor plants. If you're finding dark-colored flies lying dead near your plants, it is likely that you're looking at fungus gnats. If fungus gnats are flying around inside your home, it is hard to tell them apart from fruit flies or some other type of gnat, but they give themselves away when you find them on a table surface. These little flies aren't good fliers, and they tend to run across surfaces when you approach. Fruit flies will take to the air quickly.

You can also tell the difference between fungus gnats and fruit flies by their eyes. Fruit flies have bright red eyes. The eyes of a fungus gnat are black and hidden in the black coloration of its head. You might also confuse drain flies for fungus gnats. Drain flies, which are often called moth flies because they have a moth-like appearance, are common flies in kitchen areas and can appear in large numbers, like fungus gnats. If you look at a fungus fly on your wall, it will have a pill shape. Drain flies will be a heart shape.

fungus gnat on tree
fungus gnat on moss

The World Is Full Of Flies

There are a lot of flies in the world. Fortunately, they don't all get into our homes and reproduce into a cloud of tiny, frustrating pests. While there are many species, the types of flies that might get into your home and create large numbers can be counted on one hand. Large flies, like the cluster fly, which look like big house flies, can easily be distinguished from fungus gnats.

Small flies, like fruit flies and drain flies, which we mentioned above, can be a little more difficult. But you should have no trouble if you look for these simple characteristics:

  • Fungus gnats have dark wings and blackheads.

  • Fungus gnats are thin.

  • Fungus gnats are between 1/32 and 1/2 inches in length.

  • Fungus gnats run across surfaces.

  • Fungus gnats hang out around plants and locations that have organic matter.

Why Is It Important To Tell What Tiny Flies You Have?

If you try to get rid of fungus gnats with a method that works for another type of fly, you're not going to get the results you're looking for. The converse is true as well. What works to deal with fungus gnats will not be effective for other tiny flies.

Selecting The Right Control Method

When fungus gnats get into your home, they can be very annoying. But their ability to annoy you can be increased or decreased by how you respond to them. There is a common method for eliminating fruit flies that has little impact on fungus flies. It is called an apple cider vinegar trap. While fungus gnats are attracted to the smell of vinegar, they aren't as likely to climb into a hole to get to that vinegar as a fruit fly is.

You can, however, eliminate some fungus gnats by putting out an open bowl of vinegar. Some internet how-to videos claim that this will help you get control of gnats. But what these online experts fail to realize is that you're only killing a small number of gnats, while feeding the rest. This allows the gnats to reproduce like crazy. This is definitely not the way to deal with fungus gnats.

What Can You Do About Fungus Gnats?

  • Check your indoor plant pots to see if they are overwatered. If they are, let the soil dry. Fungus gnats reproduce in the first few inches of dirt.

  • Take a look outside and see if you have damp areas that get constant shade. Fungus flies may be reproducing outside and coming in when you enter the house.

  • Use a vacuum to suck up all the gnats in your home and dispose of the bag outside.

How Aiken Pest Control Can Help

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out where fungus gnats are breeding. If you keep seeing these gnats in your home, it is best to let one of our licensed pest professionals take a look at your fungus gnat problem and offer a home pest control solution that will get you the results you're looking for. Contact us anytime for immediate assistance with your pest problem.


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