The arrival of warm weather brings blooming flowers, longer days, open windows, and swimming pools. Unfortunately, it can also bring household pests, as well.
While your yard may fill with mosquitoes, honey bees, or even wasps, your space inside the home may also prove vulnerable to infestation. Tiny, annoying, flying insects swarm your fruit bowl and hover over your household plants.
The culprit? Gnats. Or are they fruit flies?
How can you tell whether you have gnats or fruit flies? Is there a difference?
Do I have Gnats or Fruit Flies?
Both gnats and fruit flies can present a challenge inside the home, and they seem to arrive in full force once the weather turns warm. But while they may look similar, gnats and fruit flies are two different insects, both within the fly family, but with different characteristics.
If you notice tiny bugs swarming around your fruit bowl, your child’s juice box, your trash can, or even in your kitchen sink drain, you’re probably facing a fruit fly infestation.
Fruit flies resemble regular house flies, but they’re a fraction of the size. They may have red eyes and their bodies can appear black or brown, while their eyes can be red. Their bodies appear rounded.
But it’s perhaps their behavior that defines them most. Fruit flies are attracted to fruit, particularly over-ripened fruit, like those bananas sitting in your fruit bowl that you keep meaning to throw away or move to the fridge. They also can appear in other places where sticky food residue remains, including sink drains, trash cans, or recycling containers, which may have some liquid remaining in them from discarded beverage containers.
Do Fruit Flies and Gnats Cause Harm?
Fruit flies will lay their eggs on banana peels or inside fruit bowls or trash bins, causing their presence to quickly balloon inside your home. While fruit flies pose no harm to humans, they’re annoying and difficult to contain.
Gnats, on the other hand, prove just as annoying as fruit flies, but they manifest in other areas of the home. Fungus gnats, specifically, may appear hovering around your household plants. They search for moist soil in which to lay their eggs, which they can easily find in a well-watered house plant.
While fungus gnats pose no threat to humans either, they can actually damage your house plants, as they bury their eggs deep inside the soil, close to the roots of your plants. They’re also attracted to fungus, hence their name, which can grow on your house plants.
Fungus gnats are similar in size to fruit flies, but have more of a black color.
Food and Plants Attract Pests
If you’re facing a fungus gnat or fruit fly infestation in your home, you can take a few steps to get rid of them.
If you have fungus gnats populating your house plants, you may want to water your plants less. Because the gnats seek out moist soil, they may leave as your soil dries or their eggs may not hatch. You will also want to inspect any new house plants before you bring them into you home, checking the soil for the clear larvae associated specifically with fungus gnats.
If you can move your plants outside, rather than keeping them inside, you can help get rid of the gnat problem inside your home, though you will unlikely provide your plants with the same relief.
If you have fruit flies, start by removing all affected fruit from your home or moving it into the refrigerator. Clean your fruit bowl, trash bin, and recycling container thoroughly. If you must discard of any fruit or organic trash, take it directly outside or empty your garbage immediately. You may find fruit flies persist inside your drain. Clean your drain thoroughly and try pouring drain cleaner down it to clean out any organic matter accumulating in the pipes.
If your gnat or fruit fly problem persists despite your best efforts to eradicate them, contact a pest control provider.
How to Prevent Gnats and Fruit Flies in Your Home
The best way to address a fungus gnat or fruit fly problem is to prevent it. To prevent fruit flies, store all fruit in the refrigerator, especially during warm weather months. Dispose of banana peels and other organic waste outside. Do not leave it sitting in the trash can for days. Wash out all juice bottles or soda cans thoroughly before placing them in the recycling bin and run your garbage disposal in your sink frequently to clear out organic matter.
To prevent fungus gnats, check all house plants before you purchase them, looking for signs of infestation. Take care not to over-water any plants you store in the home, and store plants outside when possible.
If you’re looking for a pest control solution in the Omaha, Nebraska area, contact Miller Pest and Termite Omaha to discuss the best option for your home.