What You Should Know About Fungus Gnats

Spring is the time for fungus gnats in California, and you may soon find the annoying tiny insects around your home and garden. Fungus gnats are very common, both indoors and outdoors, and they can be really annoying pests.

Here is more information about fungus gnats, where they live, their life cycle, and things you can try before you call a pest control company.

Fungus Gnats

One fungus gnat species that commonly plague people are the darkwing fungus gnats. These gnats are very small and don’t fly that well. You might bring them into your home with a plant or already infected soil. Adult gnats are harmless, though they can fly into your mouth and eyes, or land in your food and water. Fortunately, they are not known to carry diseases that are harmful to humans.


Adult gnats are commonly seen around the moist soil, and that is where they prefer to lay their eggs. They prefer soil that stays moist for long periods. Persistently moist soil often has some type of fungus or plant rot which is the preferred food of their larvae.

If your plant is sick or weak, then the larvae could kill it. Certain species, such as African violets, are particularly vulnerable to being killed by fungus gnat larvae.

Fungus Gnat Problems

Except for the damage that their larvae can do, fungus gnats are generally not harmful in small numbers. However, the adult fungus gnats spread certain types of diseases and fungus spores between plants. In large numbers, they gnats are extremely annoying, can make life unbearable, and render your outdoor space unusable.

Fungus Gnat Versus Fruit Flies

Fungus gnats and fruit flies look very similar, but most fungus gnats are dark in color. Fruit flies come in a variety of shades. Fruit flies are also slimmer with a longer body. You will almost always see fruit flies around fruit, particularly if that fruit is decayed.

Fungus gnats are more attracted to damp, moist soil, particularly soil fungus, so they are less likely to be around fruit or in the kitchen at all.

Home Remedies

If your infestation is small, then you may be able to use sticky fly traps to control their numbers. You can also use a solution of dish soap in your plant water or sprayed into the soil. You can also buy special insecticidal soap at your local garden center. Some people also have success by leaving a dish of soapy water near the plants as well.

You can also use special gnat soil guards over your regular soil. However, if you have a potted plant, the gnats can find their way through the holes in the bottom. Garden experts have mixed feelings about using sand as a cover. Some gardeners claim that sand is helpful and effective while others advise against it.

Prevention Tips

You can keep fungus gnats away, or at least down to a low level, is when you are strict with your watering schedule. Sometimes, fungus is already present when you buy the soil and keeping it moist only makes it grow more. When you keep your plants on the dry side, then the fungus will likely be minimal. Just make sure you don’t under water your plants.

Most home remedies won’t eradicate an exceptionally bad problem. Plus, these home remedies sometimes take time to work. If you don’t have the time, or you just can’t seem to get rid of these bugs, we offer other options.

Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control can take a look at your gnat problems and offer solutions to eradicate these pests from your home. Call or email us for a service appointment.