Gnats Vs Fruit Flies: What’s the Difference?


Do you ever find yourself being bugged by tiny, annoying insects in your home? Have you ever wondered if that pesky little fly buzzing around your kitchen is a gnat or a fruit fly? It can be hard to tell them apart, as they tend to look quite similar! In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences between gnats and fruit flies so you can easily identify which one is invading your home.

Are Gnats and Fruit Flies the Same?

Gnats and fruit flies are often used interchangeably but are actually two different species. While they share some similarities, there are also notable differences between the two. Understanding the distinction between gnats and fruit flies is important to effectively eliminate them.

  • What are Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, are small, common pests found in households. They are known for their fast reproduction rate, with a female capable of laying up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.

  • What are Gnats?

Gnats are a group of small flies that belong to the Diptera order. There are several different species of gnats, each with its specific characteristics and habitats. Some species of gnats feed on plants and are harmless to humans, while others feed on blood and are considered pests.

Fruit Flies Vs Gnats

Feature Fruit Flies Gnats
Lifespan 30 Days 1-2 Months
Species Drosophila melanogaster Numerous species
Appearance Small, rounded body; red eyes Small, slender body; some species have transparent wings
Size 2-4mm 1-5mm
Color Tan/Yellow Varies (black, brown, gray)
  • What are Gnats Attracted to?

Gnats are attracted to light and moisture, including standing water and damp soil. Some species of gnats are also attracted to the sugars found in fruit, as well as the vinegar and fermented liquids commonly used as traps to eliminate fruit flies.

  • What are Fruit Flies Attracted to?

Fruit flies are attracted to sweet, moist, and fermented substances. They are often found near overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables, as well as sugary drinks, such as soda or beer. Fruit flies are also attracted to drains, where they can feed on the organic matter that has accumulated there. They can also be attracted to trash cans and compost piles, where they can find ample food sources. In addition to food, fruit flies are also attracted to light, which they use to navigate and find food.

Difference between Fruit Flies And Gnats

Fruit flies and gnats are two of the most common insects found in households, but they are often mistaken for each other. Although both are small and annoying, there are significant differences between the two insects. Understanding these differences can help you effectively deal with each of these pests. In this section, we will explore the key differences between fruit flies and gnats:

  1. Appearance: What do fruit flies and gnats look like

  • Fruit Fly

The fruit fly is a small insect, with a maximum length of about 2 to 4 millimeters. It has distinctive features that make it easy to recognize, including black wings, a brown head, and red eyes. Its skinny and long legs are also noticeable when it is flying. Additionally, you can find spikes of hair, called bristles, on the thorax and head, which further help in identifying the fruit fly.

  • Gnats

On the other hand, gnats are tiny insects, typically measuring one or two millimeters in length. They have a small, black body and distinctive pointed abdomen. Their eyes are also black. Despite their small size, gnats have large wings in proportion to their bodies, which allows them to fly quickly. They are also known for their skinny legs, which enable them to jump and fly at impressive speeds.

  1. How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies and Gnats?

  • Removing Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are a common problem in kitchens and eliminating them can be a problem once they have invaded. To effectively get rid of fruit flies in the house, it is important to locate the source of the infestation and clean it up.

This may include removing overripe fruits or vegetables, cleaning up spills and crumbs, and washing out garbage cans and recycling bins. In addition, you can use a variety of methods to trap and kill adult flies, such as using a fruit fly trap or a DIY trap made from vinegar and dish soap. 

  • Removing Gnats

Gnats are attracted to moist environments and can often be found around houseplants, drains, and other sources of standing water. To get rid of gnats, it is important to eliminate the moist conditions that are attracting them. This may include reducing watering frequency for houseplants, fixing leaky pipes, and removing standing water from the sink and shower. In addition, you can use sticky traps or natural insecticides to kill the adult gnats and break the breeding cycle.

  1. Where Do Fruit Flies and Gnats Come From?

  • Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are known to be a common problem in places that have an abundance of fruits and vegetables, including houses, restaurants, bars, and other similar locations. They are attracted to fermented substances like beer and soda, and as a result, restaurant operators should be vigilant about checking for infestations of these insects in the beer taps and soda drains. The larvae of fruit flies feed on the fungi that grow on the items they infest, making it essential to keep an eye out for them in order to prevent their spread.

  • Gnats

Gnats are primarily an outdoor species, however, they can also be found in unsanitary drains or in areas where there is a leakage in a refrigeration unit. The larvae of gnats feed on fungi present in soil. They can gain access to indoor spaces by coming along with potted plants or simply fly in through an open door. These insects are drawn towards light, which makes it easier for them to get inside the house and find their way to the light source.

  1. How to Prevent Fruit Flies and Gnats

  • Fruit Flies

To prevent a fruit fly infestation, it’s important to properly dispose of any rotting fruit by taking it outside. To ensure that flies don’t enter your food storage, inspect the seals on your cans that contain vegetables or fruit. If there are any spills of fruit juice or wine, it’s important to clean them up immediately to avoid attracting fruit flies.

  • Gnats

To prevent gnats from entering your home, it is important to have screens on your windows without any tears or holes. Additionally, replacing your bright white porch light with a yellow one can also help as gnats are less drawn to the yellow light compared to the white one.

Drain Flies Vs Fruit Flies Vs Gnats

Gnats and fruit flies are both small flying insects that can be a nuisance in homes and gardens. Here’s a table comparing drain flies, fruit flies, and gnats:

Feature Drain Flies Fruit Flies Gnats
Appearance Moth-like with fuzzy body and wings. Usually gray or black. Small, reddish-brown flies with distinctive black stripes. Small, flying insects that can be black or tan in color.
Habitat Usually found near drains, septic systems, and other moist areas. Commonly found near rotting fruit and vegetables, garbage disposals, and drains. Can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and wetlands.
Life Cycle The larvae develop in moist organic matter and produce a slime layer that helps protect them. Pupation occurs in the same habitat. Adult females lay their eggs near a food source. Larvae develop in the food and pupate in a cocoon. The life cycle varies depending on the species, but many gnats lay their eggs in soil or water and the larvae feed on organic matter.
Diet The larvae feed on organic matter found in moist environments. Adult fruit flies feed on sugary substances and the larvae feed on rotting fruit and vegetables. The diet varies depending on the species, but many gnats feed on nectar, sap, or other sugary substances.

If you are struggling with a gnat or fruit fly infestation in Tracy, CA, consider taking advantage of Take Care Termite’s Pest Control services to help solve the problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.