What Are Gnats Attracted To?

Keen Sense of Smell

Small flies have a very keen sense of smell and they use odor receptor organs on their antennae and visual clues to detect and fly towards odors produced by their preferred food sources.

Not surprisingly, many of the homemade and commercially available fruit fly traps use these preferred foods and food odors as trap attractants. Small flies are attracted to moisture and the location of habitats that affords them protection from predators and environmental elements that discourage their development and survival.

image of a gnat

What Attracts Common Gnat Species

The following is a brief description of various habitats that are attractive and favorable for the development of four small fly species commonly found in homes and other buildings:

  • Drain Flies - Drain flies breed in drains, sewers, septic tanks and soil that have been contaminated with sewage.
  • Fruit Flies - Fruit flies occur around fresh fruits/vegetables, rotting fruits and vegetables, empty soda cans, wine, vinegar, drains, garbage and damp organic materials.
  • Phorid Flies - Phorid flies are likely to be attracted to sewage-contaminated soil, garbage, drains, rotting vegetables and fruit.
  • Fungus Gnats - Fungus gnats are attracted to decaying organic matter in the soil that is moist. In the home, fungus gnats are usually found in potted plants that are overwatered.