fruit flies on banana

Gnats vs. fruit flies: what’s the difference?

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You may have seen little flying insects at some point around your home or business. They sure can be annoying, and their presence may also give visitors the impression that your property is unsanitary. These pests may be fruit flies or gnats, but since they’re both small, how do you tell the difference between the two? Here, find out some distinctions between fruit flies and gnats.

Ehrlich is your local expert in fruit fly and gnat control, and we realize flies around your premises can create a great deal of frustration. Our specialists can distinguish between fruit flies and gnats and know how to get rid of each pest. If you notice bugs that appear to be fruit flies or gnats at your property, call us at 888-984-0186 or contact us online. We will schedule a time to visit your premises to check out the problem and discuss how the infestation can be eliminated.

What do gnats and fruit flies look like?

To the naked eye, fruit flies and gnats may seem hard to tell apart, but upon closer examination, they do not look the same. Fruit fly adults are around ⅛ inch in length and are tan, brown-yellow or brown-black in color. Their eyes are usually red, and their antennae are shorter than gnat antennae.

fruit fly

Gnats are typically brown, black or yellow but they can also appear bright in color. They can have longer legs than fruit flies.

Life cycle: Gnat vs. fruit fly

Fruit fly eggs are laid on fermenting fruits and vegetables or in containers of rotting fruits and vegetables that are not sealed well. They can also lay eggs in a garbage disposal. Larvae hatch from the eggs and undergo molts. They develop into adults during a pupa stage and soon after they finish that stage, they mate.

The fungus gnat is one type of gnat you may encounter. Once these gnats lay their eggs, they hatch and then undergo larvae, pupae and adult stages. When it is warmer, they mature more quickly.

Where do gnats and fruit flies come from?

It’s certainly unpleasant to see small flying pests when you’re trying to relax at home or carrying out business at your commercial property. Flying insects may also come as a surprise if you haven’t taken precautions to prevent them. Where do fruit flies and gnats come from, anyway?

Fruit flies can be located in houses, restaurants, bars and other spots containing fruits and vegetables. They can also infest beer tap spigots or soda drains, so those restaurant operators should monitor for them. Fruit fly larvae feed on fungi that are in items they infest.

Gnats are mainly found outdoors, but they can be found in dirty drains or a drip pain beneath a refrigeration unit. Gnat larvae can also feed on fungi in soil.

Fruit such as apples, pears and bananas can be a source of fruit flies. Don’t give these flies a chance to go through their life cycle. They can also breed in a potato bag in your pantry, or in a mop. When you pick fruits or vegetables from your garden, be sure to inspect them before carrying inside. Bringing a couple in with you holds the potential for a fruit fly problem.

Gnats can enter a structure from a potted plant, or they may simply enter when you open a door. They are attracted to light, so they’re eager to get inside to the source.

gnats

How to prevent fruit flies and gnats

Although fruit flies and gnats are a nuisance, you can help prevent these little critters. To help keep gnats away, ensure your windows have screens without holes and swap out your white porch light for a yellow light (so they may be less attracted to it).

To help avoid a fruit fly problem, take rotten fruit outside and dispose of it. If you put vegetables or fruit in cans, check that the cans have proper seals. Have you spilled beverages such as fruit juice or wine? Get rid of the mess as soon as possible.

How to get rid of gnats and fruit flies

If you have seen fruit flies, gnats, or other flies at your home or business, reach out to a pest control professional as soon as possible. If you have an infestation, you’ll want to avoid it becoming worse and an expert can offer the right solution.

Ehrlich understands how to tell fruit flies and gnats apart and we recognize that both pests do not belong inside a structure. We will work with you to eradicate them. Get in touch with us today to begin getting rid of these flying insects!

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Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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