Gnats

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Diptera

Several Families and Species

Appearance

What do they look like?
gnat illustration for identification

Gnats typically are small and long-legged insects. They often are weak fliers.

How Did I Get Gnats?

Moisture and organic material attract gnats. Some species prefer the soil of houseplants, while others seek out decomposing food debris in garbage disposals or on damaged and over-ripe fruit. Any wetness in the home or unsanitary habits could draw them indoors and once inside, gnats are able to take advantage of conditions that are favorable for continuous development and reproduction.

How Serious Are Gnats?

Gnats are a nuisance since they do not cause major damage to homes. However, gnats may threaten human health should they transport pathogens from their unsanitary development sites. Since fruit flies might contaminate food, and fungus gnats can harm potted plants, residents must eliminate potential breeding and developmental sites, since gnats will multiply and create an unclean environment.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

What Orkin Does
The most effective control methods require positive identification of insects, which is best conducted with the assistance of a pest control professional.

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage gnats and flies. Since every home is different, the Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping gnats or flies out of your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps—Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep gnats in their place…out of your home.


Signs of a Gnat Infestation

The main sign of gnats are the sightings of the adults as they fly about in the air.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Gnat is the common name for many small, winged insects in the fly grouping. Contrary to popular belief, these tiny flying insects are not “babies,” they are adults. The tiny flying insects that many people call “gnats” could really be fruit flies or fungus gnats. There are many differences between fruit flies vs gnats.

Do they bite?
Depending on species, gnats can be biting or nonbiting and will feed on plants, other insects or blood.

Females of some species, such as the black gnat or black fly, feed on blood. These gnats have been known to carry parasites and spread diseases to humans and livestock. Due to the spread of river blindness and other health concerns, numerous programs have been established throughout the world to control gnat populations.

Prevention Tips

Wet soil
The best control for fungus gnats is to identify any plants that have wet soil and let that soil dry completely before the next watering. This will kill the larval stages in the soil. The adult gnats can be removed with a vacuum cleaner from windows and from around the plants.

Watering plants only when they need water will help prevent fungus gnat infestations.

Fruit
For most gnat populations, their food source must be located and corrected if possible. Fruit should not be exposed to open air. Keeping fruit in the refrigerator protects it from gnats and also prolongs the fruit’s period of ripeness.

Traps
Electric fly exploders that electrocute individual gnats may help to control their populations outside but also kill many beneficial insects. Inside, insect traps that are plugged into electrical outlets work by emitting ultraviolet light sources. Flying insects are attracted to this light and are caught by the sticky surface of the trap when they approach.

Most of these methods address only individual, adult specimens. In order to properly treat an entire gnat infestation, including larvae, it is best to consult a pest control professional.

More Information

Are Gnats Attracted to Light?

Black Gnats

Common Gnat Problems

Do Gnats Bite?

Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnat Larvae

Gnat Eggs

Gnat Infestation

Gnat Traps

Gnat Life Cycle

Gnats in Kitchen

Gnats in Plants

Gnats in Sinks

Gnats in the Soil

How Long Do Gnats Live?

How to Get Rid of Gnats Outside

Soil Gnats

What Are Gnats Attracted To?

What Causes Gnats?

What Do Gnats Eat?

What Do Gnats Look Like?

Where Do Gnats Breed?

Why Do Gnats Fly in Your Face?