When we get called to deal with swarms of tiny flies, we expect to find one of two fly species: fruit flies or fungus gnats. These are the most common "tiny fly" pests we have in our Eastern Tennessee service area. But while they're both tiny and prone to creating large numbers inside a home, they are quite different. This can lead to a lot of confusion. For instance, we may have someone tell us that they've been putting apple cider vinegar traps out to catch the flies in their home but that they haven't had any success. This is because fruit flies and fungus gnats are quite a bit different when it comes to what they are attracted to. You're not likely to catch many fungus gnats with a fruit fly trap. Here are a few more facts about fungus gnats that you might not know, and how they can help you tell which flies you're dealing with.
1. Fungus Gnats Are Not The Same As Fruit Flies
You may not know that fungus gnats are not tiny, tan flies with red eyes. This may lead you to mistake fungus gnats for fruit flies. Fruit flies have that tan coloration and those bright red eyes that can be clearly seen when you examine them up close. Fungus gnats are black with dark eyes.
2. Fungus Gnats Prefer to Run
When you approach a fungus gnat, it is more likely to run from you than fly away. These insects aren't strong fliers. This also causes them to land on your skin and run across. Fruit flies don't do this. They usually stay in a stationary location and fly away when approached.
3. Fungus Gnats Are Attracted to Light
If you have a fungus gnat infestation, you're going to notice these gnats near lamps, crawling on computer screens, hanging out near your windows and clinging to light-colored walls. They are attracted to light. This is quite a contrast to fruit flies, which aren't all that attracted to light. Fruit flies are going to be near fruit, fermented drinks, recyclables, etc. They're not going to be crawling on your computer screen or television, as a general rule.
4. Fungus Gnats Like Soil
Fungus gnats like to lay their eggs in the soil of potted plants. A single gnat can lay as many as 300 eggs. This can cause a heavy infestation inside your home. One way you can resist fungus gnats is to refrain from overwatering your plants. If you have an infestation in your home already, you can temporarily put potted plants outside to help stop the infestation. Adult fungus gnats only live about a week. If you vacuum most of the gnats up, the ones you miss will be dead in a week. Without a location to lay eggs, the remaining gnats will die off without being able to extend the infestation.
5. Fungus Gnats Can Contaminate Food
If you have an infestation of fungus gnats, there is a low risk for food contamination. These gnats can crawl on rotting organic matter in your trash, droppings or urine spots in your cat's litter box and other dirty things. If they zip over and crawl on the food you're eating, it can make you sick. A fungus gnat infestation should be corrected as quickly as possible
While fungus gnat infestations are often something homeowners can take care of on their own, sometimes the breeding sites and food sources fungus gnats are using to reproduce can be mysterious. If you have an infestation that won't go away, remember that the service team here at Russell's Pest Control is always available to assist you with your pest control needs. Reach out to us anytime. We're here to help.