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Fruit Flies vs. Gnats and How to Treat Them

Anytime a pest invades your home, it’s important to correctly identify them. Fruit flies and fungus gnats can make this tricky. Though they share some characteristics, there are ways to spot the difference between these small flies. We’ve gathered information about fruit flies and fungus gnats to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.

Do Fruit Flies & Fungus Gnats Look Different?

Fruit flies

Though fruit flies and fungus gnats are often mistaken for one another, there are difference in their appearance. Fruit flies are tan or black with a two-toned abdomen, while fungus gnats are dark gray or black. Fruit flies are rounded and similar in shape to other flies. Fungus gnats have long legs and resemble a mosquito. Fruit flies have two large, red or dark eyes that are easy to spot. Fungus gnats have small, dark eyes that aren’t as visible. These pests are similar in size, growing to about 1/8".

What Causes Fruit Flies?

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies sneak into homes looking for food and a place to breed. They are attracted to overripe or decaying produce as well as fermented drinks and food. Because of this, they’re often found in kitchens. You’re likely to spot these flies hanging out near fruit bowls and trash bins. These flies will breed on produce and in trash cans, drains, and garbage disposals.

What Causes Fungus Gnats?

Fungus gnat on flower

Fungus gnats are attracted to moisture and damp soil. They lay eggs on the surface of wet soil. Their larvae feed on fungi and organic matter in the soil as well as the roots of plants. These pests are typically found in gardens and potted plants. They end up in homes when infested plants are brought indoors. Fungus gnats can also be seen near windows and lights.

How to Prevent Fruit Flies & Fungus Gnats

Open window

To keep fruit flies and fungus gnats out of your home, you’ll want to take the time to remove potential attractants. We’ve made a list of tips to help prevent these pests.

  • Minimize Moisture: Fruit flies and fungus gnats are both attracted to moisture. Repair or replace leaky pipes and faucets. Make sure your drains aren’t clogged and keep them clean. Avoid overwatering your plants to make them less attractive to fungus gnats.
  • Store & Clean Up Food: Don’t leave your fruit and vegetables out on the counter. Instead, store them in your refrigerator to avoid attracting fruit flies. Clean up crumbs and spills, and remove your trash regularly.
  • Seal Entry Points: You don’t want to let these pests sneak into your home. Seal any cracks, gaps, or holes on the exterior of your house. Check your door and window screens for tears and repair any you find.
  • Check Your Produce & Plants: Before bringing home fruit and vegetables from the store, check for fruit flies. You’ll also want to check your plants for fungus gnats before bringing them inside. If you notice pests near your produce or plants, it’s best to leave them at the store.

How to Treat for Fruit Flies & Fungus Gnats

Drain & Fruit Fly Killer

If fruit flies or fungus gnats have invaded your home, there are things you can do to get rid of them. Check out how to kick these pests out of your house.  

  • Use a Plant-Based Insecticide Spray: Our Flying Insect Killer can help to keep flies away. It kills flies and gnats on contact and provides residual repellency. You can spot treat the flies you see buzzing around your home.
  • Treat Your Drains: If you notice fruit flies near your drains, our Drain & Fruit Fly Killer can help. To kill adult flies, larvae, and eggs, apply 1-2 oz of the product to the drain.
  • Treat Your Plants: Treating your plants with our Vegetable Garden Insect & Disease Control spray or our 3-in-1 Garden Spray can help to control fungus gnats. To kill fungus gnats, you’ll need to directly spray them.
  • Use Fruit Fly Traps: Our Fruit Fly Traps can also help to control fruit flies. They are designed to attract and kill these pests. Place them near fruit bowls, trash bins, sinks, and other areas where fruit flies have been seen.

It isn’t any fun dealing with fruit flies and fungus gnats. Though these pests like to trick you, there are ways to tell them apart. If you can identify the problem, you’ll be able to eliminate an infestation. If pests are bugging you, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.

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