Gnats are tiny, small-legged insects with two little wings. These pesky little flying bugs that buzz around your face may look like baby flies, but gnats are actually adult flying insects belonging to the order Diptera, which includes mosquitos, black flies, and midges. These insects are extremely common, but because of the plethora of species of gnats, there is a mystery surrounding them. The appearance and characteristics of gnats are specific to their species. The main gnats we encounter as homeowners are fruit flies, fungus gnats, and drain flies. Depending on the species, gnats can be either biting or non-biting. The majority of gnats do not present hazards, but female black gnats and black flies feed on blood and can spread diseases to humans and livestock.
Types of Gnats:
Fruit Flies— As the most common flying insect within your home, fruit flies are attracted to fruit that is fresh, overripe or fermenting. The most two common fruit flies are Red Eyed Fruit Fly and the Dark-Eyed Fruit Fly, both having striped abdomens. Fruit fly females lay their eggs on the decaying, organic fruit and the larvae eat the fruit when they hatch.
Fungus Gnats— Fungus gnats are mosquito-like flies that are attracted to moist soil. Additionally, they can cause severe damage to your plants.
Drain Flies— As their name suggests, drain flies are attracted to dark, damp environments such as your floor or sink drains. They do not bite, but these hairy flies can exasperate asthma in some individuals.
Though they seem like a less serious pest and more of a nuisance, gnats reproduce very quickly, which leads to an overpopulation of gnats in swarms and create problems for homeowners and residents.
Gnat Prevention & Treatment:
The first sign of a gnat infestation is usually spotting the population of tiny flying pests. However, with thousands of species, gnats are not easily identifiable. It is best to contact your pest control specialist to positively identify the insects and properly treat the entire gnat infestation, including the larvae.