Sometimes, you might confuse tiny black flying bugs in your house with flies like fruit flies and houseflies. But those small bugs with wings are neither.
In this guide, you’ll find out the small black flying bugs in the house that are not fruit flies.
You’ll get a clear picture on what these tiny flies look like, how to distinguish them from other flies, why the enter your home, and how to eliminate them.
Plus, there’s also a short description on common flies that enter homes.
Fungus Gnats – Small Black Flying Bugs In House That Are Not Fruit Flies
These small black bugs flying inside your home that are not fruit flies, or mosquitoes, are fungus gnats. Fungus gnats also look like tiny mosquitoes.
Fungus gnats live outdoors and breed on damp soil beds, compost piles, decaying organic waste like foliage, rotting wood pieces, and mulch beds.
They can also target children’s sandboxes kept in the yard if the sand is stale and moist.
When they enter homes, fungus gnats will look for damp areas of your home.
So, places like the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and basement are their primary places to hide.
The soil beds of indoor house plants are also a fertile ground for the fungus gnats to lay their eggs.
Damp soil beds of the houseplants develop algae, fungi, and molds, food for the fungus gnat larvae.
Fungus Gnats Identification
Despite being tiny, it’s pretty easy to single out or identify fungus gnats from other flying bugs in the house like phorid flies, fruit flies, drain flies or sewer flies, and house flies.
Fungus gnats are black. They’ve visible slender legs with two antennae over their head, and they’re only 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long.
That size makes them pretty tiny.
When stationary, you’d also observe Y-shaped veined wings on their back.
If you look at them casually, fungus gnats look like mosquitoes. However, there are some significant differences.
First, they don’t have a snout or beak-like mosquitoes. Second, their flight pattern is the most critical part of fungus gnat behavior.
Fungus gnats are weak fliers. They can only fly for short distances, and that too in a zig-zag fashion.
This erratic flight pattern gained them the name of blind mosquitoes.
As fungus gnats are moisture bugs, they tend to fly (or flock) towards water sources or damp areas.
That’s the reason it’s quite common to see fungus gnats near water taps, and sink drains, damp places like the bathroom, basement, and laundry room.
You’ll also notice fungus gnats in kitchen appliances.
It’s because the food stains on these places and the presence of moisture draw the fungus gnats.
What Causes Fungus Gnat Infestation?
Many factors are responsible for fungus gnats infestation in homes. The three most significant ones are high moisture content and rotting organic material in your yard.
Fungus gnats live and breed in damp organic wastes in your yard like mulch beds, rotting wood blocks, compost piles, and rotting leaves.
Another source of fungus gnat infestation that many homeowners ignore is the damp soil bed.
As you know, damp soil beds develop molds, and fungi are food for the fungus gnats’ larvae.
Poor garbage disposal, leaking pipes, overwatering your yard or garden, and stagnant water are all responsible for a fungus gnat infestation.
Failure to remove these sources causes their numbers to skyrocket in a few weeks. That makes them look for new food sources.
And that’s when they try to sneak inside their homes.
The light from your home brings the fungus gnats inside. Yes, fungus gnats are attracted to light.
They’ll fly inside your home through the open doors, windows, and vents. During the fungus gnat season, you’ll see fungus gnats as tiny bugs near the windows.
They all try to make their way inside, especially when the lights are on.
Some of the fungus gnats can also crawl through the gaps and cracks on the window sills, walls, and doors.
Inside your home, fungus gnats will inhabit the damp areas like the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and laundry room.
But being phototaxis bugs, fungus gnats will also flock at the light bulbs in places where there are no food and water sources.
That makes the fungus gnats get in the bedroom and living room.
It’s the strong attraction toward the light that draws the fungus gnats.
Light from your home attracts fungus gnats and flying bugs like moths, beetles, flying termites, and flying ants.
How To Permanently Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats?
Now that you know the small flying bugs inside your home that are not fruit flies are fungus gnats, their sources, and what causes fungus infestation, it’s time to find out how to eliminate them.
Thankfully, eliminating fungus gnats is easy without hiring professional pest control.
All you’ve to do is neutralize their sources and take certain easy steps to ensure that none of them are in your home and property.
Here’s how you to get rid of fungus gnats in your home in 5 steps –
Remove Organic Wastes From Your Yard
Organic wastes are breeding grounds for fungus gnats and many other bugs, pests, and insects.
So, the first thing that you need to do is clean up your outdoors.
Remove foliage and rotting wood pieces. If there’s a mulch bed that has decayed, replace it too with fresh mulch.
Dispose of the waste in the garbage cans. The decaying wastes in the trash bins are also egg laying and breeding for all types of flies.
Fix The Dampness In Your Yard And Home
Fungus gnats are moisture bugs. And dampness attracts them.
Organic wastes mixed with high dampness levels are a magnet for fungus gnats. And two things cause high dampness on your property – leaky pipes and overwatering.
So, fix any leaking pipes in your yard and inside your home.
Check the drains underneath kitchen sinks, bathtub, bathroom sink, basement, and laundry room.
These are the places that are mostly wet and attract bugs. If you notice any leakages, fix them.
Refrain from overwatering your yard. Excessively watering the yard and garden leads to water stagnation, which in turn causes a spike in dampness.
Not to mention that stagnant water is the cause of mosquitoes in homes.
Also, the dampness will lead to molds, algae, and fungi forming. These are all foods for the fungus gnats.
After doing all these fixes, you can also scatter Epsom salt in your yard and soil beds. They’re highly effective in removing fungus gnat larvae and their eggs.
Diatomaceous earth also works great. It’ll kill fungus gnats, their larvae, and other bugs like ants and roaches.
Make A DIY Trap To Catch The Fungus Gnats
The first two steps will drastically reduce the fungus gnat sources in your yard.
But these tiny bugs are inside your home too. Kitchen, bathroom, and other places where there is water usage are homes to fungus gnats.
The best way to eliminate fungus gnats inside your home is by making a DIY homemade trap.
You’ll need three things for it – a bowl, apple cider vinegar, and dish soap.
Pour apple cider vinegar into the bowl and make it half full. And then add 3-5 drops of dish soap.
Stir the mixture well. Put a plastic wrap on the bowl and poke holes onto it.
And keep it in places where you’ve noticed fungus gnats.
Some places where you’d like to keep this trap are the kitchen, bedroom, basement, and bathroom.
Fungus gnats have a habit of flocking to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators.
You may want to create different traps to keep one near each appliance if the infestation is heavy.
The fruity smell of apple cider vinegar attracts these flies. When they land on the bowl, fungus gnats will sneak inside through the holes on the plastic wrap.
And the sticky dish soap traps the fungus gnats when they land in the bowl.
Keep the traps early in the morning and let them remain there for 24 hours. Then dispose of the liquid in the bowl with fungus gnats in them the following morning.
Keep Sticky Traps On Houseplants’ Soil
Yellow sticky bug traps are like pieces of paper. They’re handy in removing flies, especially fungus gnats.
Keep these traps on the indoor plants’ soil beds. Fungus gnats lay eggs on the soil, so by keeping these traps there, you’re targeting their source inside your home.
Also, ensure that you use yellow sticky traps because the yellow color attracts fungus gnats.
Lay these sticky traps with the side up on the soil, preferably sticking them with a toothpick and burrowing the toothpick in the soil.
Leave it for 24 hours.
All the adult fungus gnats will stick with the trap. Then dispose of the sticky traps with fungus gnats stuck on them.
To eliminate the larvae and the eggs, scatter diatomaceous earth on the soil bed.
How To Keep Fungus Gnats From Coming Back?
Getting rid of fungus gnats is easy. But the trick lies in taking steps to ensure they don’t come back.
If you don’t take steps to prevent them from returning, you’ll notice fungus gnats’ sudden appearance in your yard and home.
Below are the five steps that ensure you don’t see fungus gnats on your property.
Don’t Overwater Your Yard Or Garden.
Excessively watering your lawn, yard, and garden keeps the soil beds wet. That wet soil becomes the breeding site for fungus gnats.
So, refrain from overwatering your outdoors, especially during the wet weather.
Check Plants For Fungus Gnats Before Purchasing Or Before Bringing Them Home
Before bringing any potted plants home, check for fungus gnats’ larvae on the soil beds.
The fungus gnat larva looks like a tiny, whitish worm crawling on the soil bed.
If you see any, then spray a bit of white vinegar on them. It’ll eliminate the larvae.
Use Meshed Window Screens During The Fungus Gnat Season
In the US, the fungus gnats are active starting from the summer. And they remain active till the arrival of the fall months.
During that period, many tiny black bugs and flying bugs try to invade homes. The best way to deal stop them is to install meshed window screens.
Bugs and flies won’t be able to penetrate the window screen. And the meshes in the window screen won’t stop the airflow too.
Install Bug Repelling Light Bulbs In Your Outdoor Area
Fungus gnats, flying moths, and flies are attracted to light. And it makes sense to install bug-repelling light bulbs in places like the porch, doorways, and near windows and vents.
Flies and bugs enter homes through these places. And you must have light sources in these areas to repel flying bugs.
Fungus gnats are also a problem near swimming pools and ponds. So, installing bug-repelling light bulbs in these areas keeps nuisance flies away.
For a double whammy, install bug zappers in your outdoor area.
The light from the bug zapper bulb attracts the flying bugs, but the bugs get electrocuted when they try to reach the bulb.
Maintain Cleanliness In Your Yard And Home
Do not let organic wastes accumulate. Ensure proper upkeep of your outdoor areas.
Dispose of the waste in the trash bins regularly.
Fix water leakages and keep the drains inside your home unclogged. The gunk clogging the drains is also a breeding site for flies like fungus gnats and drain flies.
Do not keep overly ripe fruits and vegetables in the open. The fruity smell attracts fungus gnats inside the home and, the worst, wasps.
Are Fungus Gnats Harmful For Plants?
Adult fungus gnats don’t kill or damage plants.
But the larvae of fungus gnats do.
Female fungus gnats lay eggs in the damp potting soil around the plants or the organic debris.
The fungus gnats’ larvae look like a whitish worm with a tiny shiny blackhead. They don’t have any legs.
After the eggs hatch, the larvae from the eggs feed on the roots of the plants.
That causes severe damage to plants, especially to the seedlings.
Apart from the roots, the larvae also eat mulch, foliage, fungi on soil, and organic debris.
On top of that, the larvae of fungus gnats can attract ants to the soil.
What Do Adult Fungus Gnats Eat?
Adult fungus gnats can eat dead insects. But their main food source is the mold and fungi that develop on damp surfaces.
That’s why damp places draw these little flying bugs. Wet and moist surfaces develop molds that attract bugs like mold mites.
It’s common to see these bugs feeding on the molds that develop in the grouts and floors of the bathroom and basement.
Food wastes in the trash cans, stale vegetables and fruits, and the scum present around the leaky pipes and drains are also food for them.
Can Fungus Gnats Bite Humans?
No, fungus gnats don’t bite humans or pets. They don’t carry any diseases either.
The only problem with fungus gnats is that they’re a nuisance, especially when they’re inside your home in large numbers.
However, there are other species of gnats that bite. These are known as no-see-ums or biting midges.
No-see-ums are tiny, can be hard to spot, and are active in peak summers. When they sit on your skin, no-see-ums look like a speck of dirt on the skin.
They feed primarily on mammal blood, including human blood. No-see-ums bites produce a burning sensation on the skin and cause itchy red welts.
Small Black Bugs With Wings In The House
There are some house flies that are neither tiny fruit flies nor black and small fungus gnats.
And you can confuse these flies with both fungus gnats and fruit flies.
These flying bugs are phorid flies, houseflies, drain flies, flying termites, flying ants, and cluster flies.
Phorid flies aren’t black. They’re tan, brown, or yellowish. However, at the first look, they look black.
And they’re bigger than both fruit flies and fungus gnats.
The average size of phorid flies is 3mm. They’re thicker than fungus gnats and have short wings. When phorid flies are at rest, their wing pads don’t cover their entire abdomen.
Phorid flies also breed and lay eggs on the damp wastes. And they enter homes through open doors and windows.
Many people use the term phorid flies and fruit flies interchangeably, but there are significant differences between phorid flies and fruit flies.
Phorid flies, like most other flies in the list, are a complete nuisance in homes.
And it’s essential to get rid of their source outdoors and prevent their entry into your home by installing window meshes.
The housefly, which is the most common fly in homes, is black or gray. They’re 1/4 inches in sizes, thicker than fungus gnats, and they lay their eggs in the damp trash in garbage cans and feces.
That makes the houseflies a carrier of pathogens that they can transfer into your food.
Presence of houseflies in your home signifies that there is a waste disposal problem in your locale, or there there’s a breakage in sewer lines.
Houseflies enter homes from the open doors and windows.
And maintaining cleanliness, disposing wastes often, and ensuring that there’s no pet feces in your yard are essential to stop them from breeding in your property.
Another common small flying bugs in the homes are drain flies. Drain flies are tiny, gray or black, and have got a fuzzy appearance.
They grow only up to 1/8 inches in size and have a moth-like appearance. They’ve got v-shaped wings and look like a small black dot when they’re stationary.
The source of drain flies is damp wastes in your yard. Also, sewer lines and garbage piles are the places where they breed.
However, like the fungus gnats, drain flies can also lay eggs in the sludge and slime that block the kitchen and bathroom sink drains.
The thin film that develop on the drain’s interior is also an egg-laying ground for drain flies.
The larvae of the drain flies will feed on the film, and on the wastes choking the drains.
To eliminate them, it’s essential that you unclog the drains, eliminate wastes in your property, and control the moisture levels in your home and yard.
Drain flies are also known as sink flies and sewer flies.
Flying Termites And Flying Ants
Flying termites and flying ants invade homes to build their colonies. They’re not your regular flies.
Both the flies are reproductives of termites and ants. These reproductives develop wings and they leave their present colonies to search for a new home or property to invade.
Swarms of both flying termites and flying ants occur in the summer and after rains.
They’ll fly inside your homes through open doors and windows. Light from your home attracts them and that can also make them to move inside your home.
Presence of both of these tiny flying bugs should ring your alarm bells because these flies are a precursor to home-wide damaging infestation.
Cluster flies are bigger than your average housefly. They’re even bigger than fungus gnats, phorid flies, and fruit flies.
Cluster flies have a distinguished hump back. That has gained them the name hump backed flies. They’re 1/3 inches in size and thick.
Their body color is dark gray.
Cluster flies enter homes during the winter months to hibernate. And they become suddenly active during the sunny days of winter and fall months.
The small flies in your home with a zig-zag flying pattern are fungus gnats. They are not fruit flies.
At a casual look, the flies look like mosquitoes.
The source of these fungus gnats is outside your home, where they breed in damp soil beds and wet organic wastes.
But slowly, when their numbers increase and the light from your home attracts them, fungus gnats get inside houses.
This guide revealed the flies that you shouldn’t confuse them with fruit flies.
It also has steps to get rid of fungus gnats from their source without using pesticides.
We are Mark and Jim. We dabbled with bugs and pests for most of our lives. And we provide information and hacks that work in making your home pest free.