What are these annoying flies that are populating my kitchen? Where are they coming from? How come they never seem to quit hanging around? These are questions that we are asked every year during the summer months. Here are some tips for diagnosing which pest you have and for treating them effectively.
Fungus Gnats – are tiny (1-2 mm) small flies that sort of “bounce” through the air. Their erratic behavior is annoying and makes them tough to catch. Fungus gnats have very little structure. Their bodies are thin and their wings make up most of their size. If you have live plants in a room they are noticed in, or an adjacent room, then you can pretty much figure that fungus gnats are the nuisance! They breed in soil and the potting soil of our houseplants are often the perfect bedding. These plants are watered frequently and offer a nice moisture layer for the larvae to grow into mature adult gnats. If you have fungus gnats, we would recommend cutting back on the watering of the houseplants, using sticky stakes where they are noticed and treating the soil with an insecticide (optional).
Fruit Flies – are small, brownish/black flies, only 1-3 mm long. They have a thicker body than fungus gnats and fly a smoother path to their destination. As their name suggests, fruit flies love ripe fruit and vegetables because those areas are seen as the perfect breeding ground for laying eggs. Any fermenting food or area of moist organic material will be attractive to fruit flies, which includes our garbage cans, compost bins, and even the residues that coat our sink drains. Fruit fly traps work great in this case because the lure draws them into the traps and the perfectly-sized holes prevent them from escaping.
Drain Flies – are again another tiny fly, measuring only about 1-2 mm long. They have a hairy body with large wings. As you would guess, they breed in the slime that coats so many of our drains in our house. Typically we find them coming from drains in the basement or garage that are rarely used, but they can come up through drains used more frequently in our kitchen or the bathroom. To find out if it is drain flies that are invading your living space, you will want to place a piece of tape over the drains in question and wait a couple of days to see if any flies are stuck to the tape. If so, an enzyme drain cleaner will be necessary to effectively clean all of the walls on the drain. By completely cleaning the drains, the attractiveness of the drains is eliminated, and the fly should vanish as a result.
Take a look at the pictures below, and you will see just how similar looking these 3 nuisance pest can appear!
Thanks for reading,