Size: Adult fungus gnats are tiny. Their size ranges from about 1/16 to ⅛ of an inch in length (1.5 to 3mm), which is about the same size as a fruit fly. Fungus gnat larvae may be up to ⅛ of an inch in length.
Cider-vinegar traps: Simple and effective, cider-vinegar traps consist of a shallow container with a small amount of apple cider vinegar, water, and liquid dish soap.
Getting rid of fungus gnats is all about consistency. Catching the adults is fairly easy, but because the adult population comes in cycles, you need to make sure that your traps are refreshed regularly. For the best results, use a combination of the traps listed here as well as the additional preventative methods listed in the subsequent section.
Use these prevention techniques in tandem with the traps listed above for the best results.
Activity: Fungus gnats tend to spend most of their time on the soil surface of potted plants, but they may be seen flying around the outer edge of the pot or near drainage holes as well. They are not strong fliers, so they have a tendency to walk along the soil and fly only in short bursts. Their flight is erratic and they are much slower than fruit flies, acting more like mosquitoes while flying.
Annoyingly, fungus gnats have a tendency to fly into people’s faces and drinks, though they are completely harmless and a few well-placed swats will show them what’s what.
Fungus gnats are completely harmless to humans, since they can’t bite and don’t spread diseases. They can be a problem for houseplants, however, when their population explodes and their larvae starts to feed on plants’ roots. Fungus gnats may also spread Pythium, a group of plant pathogens that causes “damping off” in seedlings.
Keep soil dry: Fungus gnats seek out moist soil, so allowing your houseplants to dry out a bit between waterings can slow down or stop an infestation. Let the top inch or two of soil dry out before watering again, and try to go as long as possible between waterings. Gnats may be deterred from laying their eggs if the soil is dry on the surface.
Appearance: Adult fungus gnats are a grayish-black color and have gray or see-through wings. Their long legs and long antennae give them a mosquito-like appearance, though they are much, much smaller in size. Compared to a fruit fly, fungus gnats have a thinner body with longer legs and antennae.
Larvae have a small, black head and a thin, white or see-through body.
Once you have a fungus gnat infestation, using consistent management and prevention techniques is key to ending it. Further down on this page, we’ve listed a few of the best ways to both get rid of adult gnats and prevent new gnats from emerging.
Identify, control, and get rid of fungus gnats in your plants with these tips from The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Here is another innovative idea. Use a Bounce® sheet on your soil, or in other areas where gnats are congregating. In 2010, Kansas State University published a report that backed up the idea that Bounce® sheets do indeed repel gnats.
You can also use neem oil as a spray on the plants.
Place jars of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar works better) at least halfway filled into a container with a wide opening. Cover with plastic wrap and hold it in place with a rubber band. Using a toothpick to poke holes in the top. The smell from the vinegar attracts the gnats but once they get inside they’re trapped. Place these jars around your house plants, garbage, fruit bowls, and any other areas infested with gnats.
Some people recommend purchasing Houseplant Sticky Stakes for gnats and whiteflies.
Gnats is a term people use for the small, winged insects they find in their homes. These “gnats” are usually fruit flies or fungus gnats, and they seem to come from nowhere. Check out the places in your home where gnats might be lurking:
Sometimes when you purchase potted plants-especially from the grocery store-they bring gnats with them. Gnats will lay eggs in the soil so when they hatch two to three weeks later and feed on the fungi, algae, and decaying plant matter found in the soil. To prevent bringing gnats into the home, re-pot your plants into some new soil. Remove as much of the old soil as possible, brush it all out, and then wash the pot in hot, soapy water. Dump the new soil in and re-pot the plant.
Here are some tips on how to get rid of gnats in the house.
Sometimes people keep a small compost bucket inside the house before they take it out to the pile outside. Try to avoid this practice. Even though it means more frequent trips outside to the compost pile.
After you’ve thrown out all of your rotting fruit, be sure to take out the garbage as well. This keeps your house smelling fresh and rotting to a minimum.
Use Diatomaceous Earth, the natural pesticide, to combat gnats invading your home. Learn how to combat them from the Most Trusted Diatomaceous Earth Brand.