iStock_000004591761_SmallA Gnat (commonly referred to as a “Fruit Fly”) is a common name for a small, two-winged pesky little insect that resembles a Mosquito. Many people think Gnats are just one type of insect, which is not true. Gnats are actually a type of fly and can be classified by several types of insects from the Diptera family (meaning two wing). Gnats usually fly in swarms and can include biting and nonbiting forms. For some species, males in search of partners assemble in large mating swarms known as a “ghost”.

Gnats in Michigan

Appearance – Gnats are very small black flying insects (about 1/8”). There are a lot of types of gnats. Many of them do not bite; in most cases they are just a bother.

Biology – They can cause serious problems in green houses and to crop growers. They are very common throughout the year, but mostly in the summer. They can be found anywhere where there is moisture, outdoors and indoors. The fungus gnat can be found flying near plants, vegetables, fruits or drains. The larvae reproduce in decaying organic material, like over-watered plant soil or vegetable parts that are decaying in drains. If there are a lot of gnats in one place, they will swarm towards light.

Prevention – To control gnats indoors, focus on five areas: fruit and vegetable storage areas that are open to air (bowls, crocks, bags on floors or in pantries), open trash containers, potted indoor plants, drains, and damp rugs, carpets and paper products in the basement or garage. Only leave out fruits and vegetables that you will consume within a day or two.

Wash containers frequently. Trashcans should be washed often if the bottom stays damp. If houseplants have fungus gnats around them, try to water them less, or at least let the soil dry between watering. If they’re in your basement, use a dehumidifier in the summer to reduce moisture.

Drains should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a month. If chemical treatment is needed, make sure you find the problem areas and call a professional for treatment. Chemical treatments for fungus gnats don’t take long, and if everything is sanitized often, the problem may go away faster. When controlling gnats outdoors, focus on areas with moisture and heavy organic material, like mulched areas, leaking water spout, trash collecting area, compost bins, etc. In general, fungus gnat problems outdoors should die down in the fall/winter.

Tips for Preventing Gnats

1. Store & Seal Fruit – Gnats are attracted by fruit, compost, and rotting food which makes kitchen sinks and garbage cans a popular meeting ground.

2. Seal Screens & Doors – Remember, Gnats can access your home through tiny cracks including small holes in window screens, make sure there are no holes in your window screens and that your windows and doors are sealed tightly.

You can, of course kill Gnats with household flying-insect spray and fly swatters. However, it may take several days or even weeks to locate the source of your Gnat infestation and kill the existing ones flying around your home or office. Call Griffin Pest Solutions for all of your Gnat pest control needs!