Our Gnat Identification Chart for 2023

Today, we’ll show you how to tell adult gnats apart in this gnat identification chart for 2023. No matter where you are the gnats in Florida 2023 are the same in other states.

When is gnat season over? Are the gnats infesting your house refusing to go away? The reason may be simpler than you think; maybe you’re treating them as the wrong type.

Contrary to common belief, gnats aren’t all black and tiny flies. There are plenty of gnat types, and each type has a distinctive shape.

flying gnats

The Gnat Life Cycle

Gnat life cycle begins with the female laying eggs near sources of moisture, such as soil or plant material. When these eggs hatch, larvae come out and have a tiny head and very long legs. They feed on decaying organic matter until they mature into adults.

As adults, gnats are small flies that resemble mosquitoes in appearance but have hairy legs and tiny hairs on their bodies. They can be a huge nuisance, as they fly around in large swarms, attracted by light. Females lay eggs again and the cycle continues.

fungus gnats

Signs of Gnat Infestation

Gnat infestation can be identified in outdoor potted plants by noticing signs of root rot, an infection caused by overwatering or poor drainage.

Additionally, these pests are also common in compost piles where decaying animals and overripe fruit have been left to sit for an extended period of time. If you experience root rot and small insects in your potted plants, then it is likely you have a gnat infestation.

To prevent this from happening again, keep your outdoor plants away from direct water and make sure to regularly water them in moderation.

How to Identify Different Types of Gnat Species

In order to get rid of gnats properly, you’ll need to know their type. That way, you’ll know what they eat, so you’ll be able to reduce their presence.

Here are all the gnat types you need to know.

Fruit Gnats

Fruit flies are the most common type found in houses. If you have a gnat infestation in your home, there’s a high chance it’s fruit flies.


Fruit gnats have a dull brown color that’s sometimes yellowish. They have bright red eyes, which is the most prominent feature that’ll help you identify them. They have antennae and feathery wings. Furthermore, their bodies are around ⅛ inch long.


Fruit gnats’ attraction is pretty apparent from their name. But they’re not only attracted to overripe fruits and veggies; you’ll also find them around poorly-capped vinegar bottles.

They become most active during harvest seasons. Additionally, they feed on decaying plants and fruits. So, it would be best if you regularly got rid of dead leaves and overripe fruits to prevent their presence.


Fruit flies live from 40 to 50 days maximum, and they’re among the gnats that live for long.

How to Get Rid of Them

You can get rid of fruit flies by throwing their food out, and if they find no fruits around to feed on, they won’t stick around for long. You can also lay a vinegar trap to kill them off. Simply leave an uncapped vinegar bottle around the fruit plate, and they’ll fall into it.

Gnat Identification Chart – Eye Gnats

Eye gnats are scientifically known as Chloropidae. The family includes grass flies and fruit flies, which are the most common types you’ll find in your house.


Eye gnats are very tiny; you won’t be able to see their body details with the naked eye, but their shiny yellow color will appear clearly. Their bodies are empty of hair, so that’s why they shine under close light.


Most Chloropidae larvae feed on grass, vegetables, and plants. However, some predatory species among them are attracted to eyes, hence the naming. Their goal is the body fluids of living organisms, such as lacrimal secretions.


Eye gnats are among the longest living species of gnats, because they live up to 4 weeks.

How to Get Rid of Them

To get rid of eye gnats, you can lay a trap for them. They get attracted to the fluid in eggs, so you can mix some eggs with a bottle of water and lay the solution out for them. If you put it in a bottle, cover its opening with plastic wrap and poke holes through it. This will attract gnats, and they will fall through the holes, and you’ll be able to kill them for good.

Fungus Gnats or Winter Gnats

The scientific name of fungus gnats is Scaridae. Otherwise, they’re mostly called dark-winged fungus gnats. Their small size is the reason they’re one of the least studied gnats, and it’s the reason they’re hard to identify.


Fungus gnats are too small for their own good. Their bodies won’t exceed 1/16 of an inch. They have thin erect wings, and their legs look like those of a housefly.

Female fungus gnats rarely have wings, but they have legs and antennae.


Fungus gnats’ most common attraction is moist areas, along with mushroom farms. In your house, you’ll likely find them in any plant pot. Overwatering your plants is an open invitation for fungus gnats to lay eggs, and that’s when the real problems begin.

Fungus Gnat’s Larvae

Fungus gnats are small flies with larvae that feed on fungi and organic matter found in damp soil. The larvae are white, legless maggots that tend to move in a looping pattern as they search for food. These pests can cause damage to young plants and seedlings, leading to wilting or death of the plant.


From the day fungus gnat larvae are laid, adult fungus gnats live for 2-3 weeks.

How to Eliminate fungus gnats

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In order to eliminate fungus gnats, the first thing you should do is to remove their breeding sites. Whether it’s moist soil, food spillage, or rotten fruits, get rid of them immediately. Then, you can use apple cider vinegar to catch the stubborn ones.

Simply leave an uncapped bottle of apple cider vinegar in your kitchen. They’ll fall through the opening, and they’ll be gone for good.

Are Fungus Gnats Dangerous?

Fungus gnats can be a nuisance in homes and gardens, but don’t bite humans or damage plants. However, their larvae can starve the roots of oxygen and cause root rot and wilting leaves.

To control them, remove any organic material that may attract them. You can also use sticky traps to reduce population levels. Consider introducing beneficial nematodes to devour larvae in the soil. Prevention is better than cure!

adult gnats

Gnat Identification Chart – Phorid Fly

Phorid gnats are rarely found inside houses because their points of interest are mostly outdoor. However, you may encounter them if you have a garden or if you live somewhere near rodents.


Phorid gnats have dark brown bodies, and are easy to see. People usually mistake them for fruit flies, but there’s a very evident difference: the red-eye. Phorid gnats don’t have red eyes as drain flies and fruit gnats do.

Their bodies are a bit humped, and they fly in an erratic pattern that’s easy to identify.


Phorid gnats have some weird attractions, but we’re not judging!

They get attracted to the bodies of dead rodents and animals. Additionally, you can find them in underground sewer lines. If some leak occurs in your house, expect to meet some of the tiny flies.

How to Get Rid of Them

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First, you should solve the problem that’s bringing you phorid flies. You’ll want to check for any breaks or leakages in the sewer system. Once that’s done, you can use bug light zappers to get rid of them. They’ll get attracted to the light easily, and you’re only concern will be cleaning it out afterwards.

fungus gnats in houseplants

Gnat Identification Chart – Sand Gnats or Sand Flies

Sand gnats got that name from their preferred place of living. They mostly stay around sandy areas, and they’re among the blood-sucking gnats.


Sand gnats look a bit like worms, except that they have tiny wings. Their wings take the shape of a V letter when they’re not flying. They have grayish-brown colors, and they have some hair on their bodies. Moreover, their bodies are approximately ⅛ of an inch long.


Sand gnats mostly feed on plant nectar and honeydew, and that’s why they’re mostly present around flower beds. However, their females also feed on human blood. That’s how they develop eggs.

Their bites hurt a bit, so you should try and get rid of them before it gets too far.


The human blood sand gnats feed on helps them live longer than similar creatures, and they have a lifespan of 1-3 months.

How to Get Rid of Them

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The smell of essential oil drives sand gnats away, and they are safe. You can use lavender or aloe vera oil sprays. Alternatively, you can light scented candles. They’ll have the same effects.

If you don’t have essential oils lying around your house, you can use orange peel. Keep it at doors, balconies, windows, and anywhere sand gnats can use to get in.

houseplant gnats


Gnats vs Fruit Flies: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between gnats and fruit flies is their size. Gnats are much smaller than fruit flies, measuring in at around 1/16 inch long. They have slender bodies and typically a grey or black coloration. Fruit flies, on the other hand, measure in at around 1/8 inch long and they have red eyes and yellowish-brown bodies.

Gnats vs House Flies

Female house flies lay up to 500 eggs in a single batch, whereas gnats typically lay fewer than 100.

Are Yellow Dung Flies a Type of Gnat? –

Yes, yellow dung flies (also known as Sphaerocerid flies) are a type of gnat.

What is a Lesser Dung Fly?

A Lesser Dung Fly (Eutropha masicum) is a species of fly found in the family Ephydridae. It is commonly found near dung, decaying organic matter, and other moist habitats throughout much of the world. This fly has an unusually large head that gives it a distinctive appearance among other flies.

fungus gnats

What are Gall Gnats?

Gall Gnats are small biting flies in the family Cecidomyiidae. They feed on plant sap, and can cause galls or other plant tissue growths by laying eggs inside leaves, stems, or buds. They are common pests of many crops and ornamental plants.

Are Blow Flies a Type of Gnat?

No, blow flies are not a type of gnat. Blow flies are species of the family Calliphoridae, while gnats belong to several different families, such as Anisopodidae and Ceratopogonidae. These two types of insects have very different features and habits.

Is a Hessian Fly a Type of Gnat?

No, the Hessian fly is not a type of gnat. It is actually a species of fly that belongs to the family Cecidomyiidae.

Gnat Identification Chart – Closing Thoughts

Identifying gnats seems challenging, seeing as they’re too tiny. However, it’s not as hard as you think. Most types have distinctive features, such as the red-eye of fruit and drain gnats. Therefore, you’ll be able to know which type is in your house easily enough.

What’s important is to know how to get rid of them and how to prevent their presence. Once you get a grasp of that, you’ll be just fine!

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