FAQ’s on Household Flies & Gnats
The difference between a fly and a gnat may be subtle, but no one like to have these buzzing little beasts hovering around their homes, especially around food. And, knowing which one you’re having the problem with is critical to determining the best possible treatment. Check out the common questions regarding flies and gnats inside the home.
Q: How can I tell if I have Flies or Gnats?
A: The most common type of house-invading fly is the fruit fly, but they are often confused with the equally common fungus gnat. Fruit flies are typically very small and brown in color with red eyes. Fungus gnats, however, are small and black with long wings and long spindly legs too. Fruit flies are usually carried into the home with via fruits and veggies, but will typically build a nest in places with exposed food – like the trash can – once inside. The fungus gnats are plant eaters and prefer to nest in damp soil that is found in potted indoor plants. The slightly bigger black flies with flat wings that are more common during fall and winter are likely to be Cluster Flies. They like to make themselves at home during the colder months in the warmth and safety of your walls.
Q: How do you get rid of Fruit Flies once you have them?
A: The first step is to change out your trash – not just in the kitchen, but all over the house. This will ensure the nests are discarded, but it is also a good idea to inspect any fruits or veggies in that aesthetically pleasing fruit bowl that’s left out on the counter. If they seem suspect, it is best to get rid of them too. To get any remaining floater flies out there, you can build a simple trap using a glass and some plastic wrap. Put a small amount of vinegar, fruit syrup – or plain fruit in a bit of water works too – in the bottom of the glass and cover it with the plastic wrap. Make sure it is pulled tight over the opening and secured with a rubber band. Poke a tiny hole – no larger than a quarter inch – in the top and leave it out for a few days. The flies will be able to get in, but not out – and will eventually drown in the liquid. To prevent future infestations, be sure to wash your fruits and veggies once you bring them inside.
Q: What about Fungus Gnats? How do you get rid of those?
A: Anyone who likes to keep plants in their house should be aware of fungus gnats. The way to treat them is essentially the same way to prevent them and involves making sure you’re taking proper care of your plants. The first step is to allow the top layer of soil to dry out – about two to three inches down. Make sure overflow trays and saucers are clean and dry, along with the underside of the plant pot. Do some research and see if you aren’t over watering your plants either – the gnats are most drawn to places that retain moisture. Plants that are being brought in from outside should always be carefully inspected, and potting soil should always be stored in a closed and preferably airtight container.