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Fruit Flies vs. Gnats

The Difference Between Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies

Both fruit flies and fungus gnats are common nuisance insects. In fact, they cause so many of the same issues that homeowners easily misidentify them. Although the flying pests have similar habits and look somewhat similar, fruit flies and gnats are quite different.

Fruit Fly vs. Gnat Appearance

Fruit Fly
Gnat Illustration For Identification

These tiny pests both measure about one eighth of an inch long, making it tough for residents to spot some differences in the way fruit flies and gnats look. However, a few features make them easier to distinguish:

  • Color: Fruit flies range from tan to black. Fungus gnats are dark gray or black.

  • Shape: Thinking about fruit flies or gnats in comparison to other pests can help identify them. Fruit flies have a rounded silhouette like a smaller version of the common house fly. On the other hand, fungus gnats feature dangling legs and long bodies that make them appear similar to a small mosquito.

  • Eyes: Fruit flies are easy to recognize by their big, red eyes, but fungus gnat eyes are so small they are hard to see.

Fruit Fly vs. Gnat Habitat

Another difference between fruit fly and gnat infestations is where the pests gather. Fungus gnats nest in the soil of gardens or indoor potted plants to feed on organic matter. Fruit fly adults eat overripe fruits or rotting food in trashcans and fruit fly larvae feed on the slime found in dirty drains.

Controlling Fruit Flies vs. Gnats

These two pests reproduce rapidly, making quick removal a priority. Besides annoying homeowners with their large numbers, fungus gnats also damage plant roots, while fruit flies may spread diseases through contaminated food.

Because each insect poses its own issues, control of these pests requires different methods. Residents struggling with fruit fly or gnat problems can turn to the experts at Orkin for assistance.


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