Fungus gnats and even fruit flies can seemingly appear just out of nowhere. One minute – they’re not there, the next, they’ve infested your home! If you’re wondering how gnats are born, the answer is simple: nature.
There’s no such thing as magic. When your home or business is insect-free one minute and suddenly dozens of tiny fruit flies and gnats appear out of nowhere, it may seem like magic.
To avoid gnat infestations, learn how to identify the insects, where they came from, why they come indoors, and how to get rid of these pesky insects.
What are Fungus Gnats? Are They Different from Fruit Flies?
Many people use the term “gnat” to describe a range of little flying insects they come across. Flying insects come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making identification challenging. People would generally refer to all of them as “gnats.”
They would often make an offhand comment, “Oh, those are just gnats!” Some people even mistakenly believe that these small insects are baby flies, which is rarely the case.
Gnats are black or brown in color, and they have a long or thin bodies. These insects typically resemble tiny flies when they are fully grown. They belong to the families of Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae. These insects are weak fliers.
Gnats can be of two types: non-biting or biting. However, those that you would typically find in your home do not bite. These insects include fungus gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies.
The fungus gnat is a little insect with a single pair of wings and antennae that is brown or black in color. People confuse them for mosquitoes because of their long, slender legs.
How Do Gnats Appear Out of Nowhere?
If you have gnats buzzing around your house and feel like you’re continuously fighting a swarm of these annoyances, you might be wondering where they come from and why they keep showing up in your home. It’s the same with all kinds of insects including drain flies or fruit flies.
There are numerous areas in your home where a gnat might come from, and if you check around your home, you could identify these spots, and you’d know where to begin eradicating the bugs and their source.
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How Do Gnats Get In the House?
Gnats are little flying insects that look like mosquitoes. However, it only takes a small opening surrounding your residence for them to gain access. Gaps around windows and doors, cracks in window screens, and openings near utility wires all allow easy access for these pesky pests.
Gnats may be found on grocery products. Because they are so tiny, these gnats, like fruit flies, can survive on fruits and veggies without being noticed, and it’s easy to get fruit that already has gnats in it.
If you wash your produce before putting it away, you’ll have a better chance of detecting and dealing with any unwanted hitchhikers attempting to gain access to your fruit bowl. Outside, gnats will breed in whatever food appeals to them, but they don’t appear inside the house; they must be imported from the outside in some manner.
Once inside, gnats look for food, water, and a safe place to rest. Most species survive and reproduce in moist, shady decaying organic debris. Other species are drawn to overripe fruits and vegetables, as well as garbage cans that haven’t been adequately covered.
But where do gnats breed? Gnats can be found living and breeding in the soil of outdoor or indoor plants with excessive wetness. The majority of gnats are drawn to light. They’re likely to be found buzzing around light fixtures and lamps.
Do Fungus Gnats Come from Moist Soil?
Gnats deposit their eggs in damp soil, so plant pots with moist soil are often always ideal breeding grounds for these insects. Most gnats prefer to reside on or near wet soil.
These pests are small, dark-colored flies that are attracted to damp or wet conditions. They typically lay their eggs in or near areas where there is mold or mildew, such as in potted plants, houseplants, or other damp areas inside your home.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed on the mold and mildew, which is where they get their name from. The female gnat can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime. The entire life cycle from egg to adult can be as quick as two weeks!
This is why it seems like they appear out of nowhere; they’ve been there the whole time, you just didn’t notice them until they reached adulthood and started flying around your home.
What Attract Gnats?
While gnats are not dangerous to humans, they can be a nuisance as they fly around your home in large numbers. They can also cause damage to your plants if the larval stage of their life cycle is allowed to continue unchecked.
But what attracts gnats?
Moist organic material, like rotting fruit, attracts gnats, which is why you’ll see more of them in the summer. They usually come into the house looking for food and a place to reproduce.
They prefer decaying organic material, such as rotten fruit or decomposing leaves, as well as moist environments inside the house, such as clogged sinks. These are just few of the things that attract gnats. Fungus gnats are most commonly found near sources of moisture, such as:
A damp basement, a leaky pipe under the sink, and condensation on the window or vent are all gnat breeding grounds. Spills in your kitchen or outside your home, garbage cans, puddles in the bathroom or other moist spots, overflowing trash bins, soggy potting soil, overwatered grass or plants, sewage drains into gutters, and drains downspouts from clogged toilets are all potential breeding places for gnats.
Leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables
Fruit flies are attracted to fragrant apples and rotting greens or veggies that have been left out in the open. They’ll also be drawn to fruit falling from your trees in your garden.
Decaying organic matter
These gnats are attracted to decaying vegetation and flowers. Fungus, mold, moss, and compost are some of the foods they consume. They like to reside in potting soil where they can eat root rot or decomposing leaves.
Bathrooms and laundry rooms
Bathroom sinks, unlike kitchens, are seldom used. Even though there is less food for gnats to eat in bathroom sinks, they will still use them on occasion. They prefer the moisture, and it’s a fantastic breeding ground since the sink isn’t utilized very often.
They prefer stagnant water, so if you’re still seeing them after using the sink, look for additional sources of standing water, such as a dripping pipe or a leaking toilet that’s creating a tiny quantity of water to pool on the floor.
If a shower curtain is left wet for an extended amount of time, drain flies and gnats can breed in it. You’ll want to take your curtain down and wash it, then find a means to improve the ventilation in the area to keep gnats out in the future.
To cope with sluggish water or organic buildup in the pipes, mend any drips and clean your drains. This should help efficiently deter and eliminate the gnats.
Gnats don’t come from sink drains, but they’ll gladly live in one, especially if there’s plenty of organic debris to eat. They also breed down there.
They’re also known as drain gnats because they live their entire lives in the drain. You may find them hovering around the sink or burrowed in dishes that have been soaking for a long time.
The presence of infestations can sometimes be signaled by gnats flying about when you wave your hand over a drain. They enjoy stagnant water in sinks because they are not disturbed.
Sink gnats may be more apparent if you have waste disposal in your sink and regularly dispose of food waste, as there will be enough organic debris in the pipes for them to consume. Because they are so tenacious, it might be tough to eliminate them.
Air Ducts and Vents
You should take action if you detect gnats in or around your air ducts. The gnats don’t come from the air ducts specifically, but if they’ve chosen to reproduce in your air conditioner, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible.
Gnats that breed in the air conditioner will spread throughout the house whenever you use it – and may infest other living spaces as well, eating plants and organic trash.
They will seek out any spot where they can survive and reproduce, so if the air conditioner is turned on while the house is full of gnats, you may have major difficulties on your hands.
Gnats should not breed in a functioning air conditioner, so if it appears to be spreading gnats around the house, you should have it examined. Find out what’s wrong – it’ll almost always be related to wetness – and solve it right away to avoid more problems.
These insects are also attracted to light, which is why you often see them flying near windows or doors. If you have a fungus gnat infestation, you may notice them congregating around your porch lights at night.
Gnats are attracted to perspiration, body heat, nasal mucus, tears, and carbon dioxide. They also gravitate toward fragrant lotions, odors, perfumes, hairsprays, and cleaners; therefore if you have a gnat infestation, you might want to avoid these fruit or sweet-smelling scents altogether.
“How Do I Get Rid of Gnats?”
Now that you know where these insects are coming from, you might be wondering how to get rid of them for good. There are a few things you can do to eliminate gnats and keep them from returning.
The first step is to figure out where they’re breeding and stop the moisture that’s attracting them. If your houseplants are infested, you can try to remove the bugs with a vacuum. If you have potted plants, make sure to let the top layer of soil dry out before watering again. You can also add sand or grit to the potting mix to improve drainage.
You can also use traps to get rid of gnats. Sticky traps are available at most hardware stores and can be placed near infested plants. Be sure to check the traps regularly and dispose of them when they’re full. There are also many different chemicals you can use to kill gnats, but these should be used as a last resort. Chemical insecticides can be harmful to your plants and animals if not used correctly.
How to Get Rid of Gnats…for Good?
You can prevent the reoccurrence of gnat infestation by following these three steps, or doing them simultaneously:
Get Rid of the Source of the Gnat Infestation
You need need to get rid of the source, replace the potting soil, clean the kitchen and seal the drains. You can stop the moisture by drying out organic materials, using humidifiers, and fixing your drainage. You can also keep them out by fixing cracks in doors and window screens.
Kill the Larvae and the Adult Gnats
To end the cycle of reproduction, one must find the gnats’ breeding grounds and destroy the larvae. You should also consider ways to trap gnats, and prevent them from breeding or infesting your home.
The best method to kill larvae is a combination of steel wool and Trappify’s Gnat Traps. These traps work for both outdoor and indoor plants, and they are great for preventing gnat infestations. These things can efficiently trap flying pests.
Be sure to cover the topsoil with steel wool to prevent the baby gnats from flying out and the adult gnats from embedding into the soil to breed. This combination is quite effective in killing these pesky gnats.
You can also use an apple cider vinegar trap to kill the gnats. It is also quite simple to do.
First, you need to fill a jar or cup halfway with apple cider vinegar. Add a pinch of dish soap, and stir well. The apple cider vinegar smell drives the insects crazy while the soap keeps them from flying away.
Make sure to cover the cup with plastic wrap. Poke holes in it to allow the gnats to crawl inside the cup through these openings. Leave the apple cider vinegar mixture alone for a couple of days, and then dump the water and start over.
Pour a Hydrogen Peroxide Solution Into the Plant
To destroy the fungus gnat larvae, irrigate the plant with a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution) and 4 parts water. After you’ve put the liquid into the dirt, you should see some bubbling, which means it’s working.
Fungus Gnats normally require moisture to reproduce and organic stuff to eat, and they will live happily ever after in your home. These gnats can deposit a huge number of eggs at once, allowing them to reproduce and multiply swiftly.
Although gnats are harmless, you should examine what is causing them and learn how to deal with them to avoid being overrun by these tiny pests!