If you’re seeing small black flying bugs in the house that are not fruit flies, then chances are they’re fungus gnats.
Like fruit flies, fungus gnats hover on overripe fruits, veggies, and on the kitchen trash bin and sink.
However, I’ve also found that fruit flies and fungus gnats are not the only two tiny black flies in the house.
In this guide, I’ll share 8 of those household flies that are not fruit flies, yet they’re pesky nuisances in many homes.
Let’s dive in.
Tiny Black Flies In The House That Are Not Fruit Flies
There are eight common small black flies in the house. These flies are not tan or yellowish like fruit flies.
But their tiny size and behavior trick many homeowners into thinking that they’re fruit flies.
|Tiny Black Flies||Size (in Inches)||Infestation source||Harmful|
|No-see-ums||1/8||Dense grasses in dam areas||Yes|
|Drain flies||1/8||Inside drains and decaying wastes||Yes|
|Fungus gnats||1/16 – 1/8||Soil beds and decaying wastes||No|
|House flies||1/4||Damp rotting wastes||Yes|
|Phorid flies||1/8 – 1/4||Decaying organic wastes||No|
|Mosquitoes||1/4 – 1/2||Standing water and wet wastes||Yes|
Let’s get into each of these flies to find out what they look like, how they enter homes, and the risks they bring.
No-see-ums, which are also known as punkies or biting midges, are tiny black flies that deliver a big bite.
These flies are hard to detect and that’s why they got their names as no-see-ums.
Growing only up to 1/8 inches in size, no-see-ums breed in the shaded areas near water bodies such as lakes and streams.
But they can also be active on your property, especially when there’s a swimming pool or pond and dense vegetation.
No-see-ums are gray, with dark patterns on their transparent wings. These biting flies have sharp mouth parts that they use to rip open the skin to feed on blood.
Intense itching and rashes develop on the bitten area. And they generally bite during dawn and dusk.
These midges are active during the warmer days of the year. If they’re thriving in your yard, then they can enter homes through open windows.
Once inside, they’ll bite the inhabitants in the house for their bloodmeals.
It’s the female no-see-ums that bite and feed on human and animal blood. They need blood meals to develop eggs.
Male no-see-ums don’t bite. They primarily feed on flower’s nectar. No-see-ums are more common in the coastal states like Florida.
Drain flies, also known as moth flies or sewer flies, are little gray or brown flies that breed in the decaying organic matter blocking the drains.
They also lay their eggs in the wet wastes outdoors, sewer wastes, and in the food wastes in garbage cans.
Drain flies are 1/8 inches in size. They’ve a pair of wings that rests in a V-shape on their back while they’re stationary.
Hairy bristles cover their wings giving them a fuzzy appearance.
Drain flies in the house come out of the sinks drains or shower drains.
That’s the reason you might see them on the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bathtub, and on the countertops.
These flies multiply very fast. A single drain fly can lay hundreds of eggs in the drains leading to a sudden spike in their numbers.
These flies can also spillover from your kitchen and bathroom to areas like bedroom where there’s no food wastes or moisture.
Drain flies don’t bite. But they can carry pathogens on their bodies because of their association with decaying wastes.
Like most household flies, drain flies too can sit on human food and contaminate the food causing diseases such as food poisoning.
Fungus gnats are tiny mosquito-like black flies in the house. Fungus gnats are 1/16 – 1/8 inches in size with long slender bodies.
They’ve long legs and a pair of long antennae that distinguish them from mosquitoes.
Fungus gnats don’t have fly in a straight line like mosquitoes. Their flight path is short and when they fly, they appear more as jumping bugs than flies.
Fungus gnats have transparent wings. But some species of fungus can also have dark wings and appear completely black. These gnats are known as black gnats.
Fungus flock near the windows to make their ways inside the house. They’re attracted to light, decaying food wastes, and houseplants soil.
Outdoors fungus gnats lay their eggs in rotting organic matter and wet soil beds. Uncovered compost bins, garbage cans, and garden soil are their primary places to lay eggs outdoors.
However, indoors they can lay eggs in the gunk and slime blocking the drains.
Fungus gnats can also get inside the dishwasher to lay their eggs on the wet food wastes stuck inside.
The potting soil of the indoor plants or the damp soil beds of greenhouses are their go-to places to lay eggs.
When the eggs hatch, fungus gnat larvae come out. These larvae are 1/4 – 1/2 inches in size and feed on the plants’ roots or on the molds that form on the wastes.
Moisture plays a big role in drawing gnats and flies in the house. A home with humidity and water leakages will always be a magnet for gnats such as fungus gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies.
Fungus gnats don’t bite, and they are harmless to humans. However, fungus gnats soon turn into a nuisance under room temperature and humidity.
House flies are perhaps the most common black flies in the house. These aren’t as small as fungus gnats or fruit flies.
House flies grow up to 1/4 inches in size, dark gray, and with a pair of wings that have veins on them.
House flies lay their eggs in most types of decaying organic wastes, including feces.
They enter homes from the open doors and windows. The presence of house flies in the house is a clear sign of waste problem on the property.
House flies don’t bite. But they are disease carriers.
These flies regurgitate and defecate whenever they’re at rest. So, they can easily pass on the pathogens they’re carrying to your food.
House flies are infamous for causing more than 65 diseases to humans. Some of these are cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.
Phorid flies, which are also known as humpback flies, are tiny black or tan flies that grow up to 1/4 inches in size.
Their size is exactly equal to fruit flies. So, it’s quit obvious that you can confuse phorid flies with fruit flies.
However, there are some differences between the two.
The first difference is that phorid flies have a hunched thorax. That gives them a humpback appearance.
Second, phorid flies don’t have bright red eyes like the fruit flies have. Their eyes are like house flies.
The third difference lies in their flight pattern. Phorid flies don’t have a straight flight path like the fruit flies.
In fact, phorid flies have a zig-zag flight pattern like the fungus gnats.
Also, if you disturb them, phorid flies tend to run a bit before taking off.
Outdoors, these flies lay eggs animal feces, carcasses, sewage, rotting foods, and wet rotting wastes.
Phorid flies can also lay eggs in the gunk and slime choking the drains inside the house.
So, the source of phorid fly infestation can be both indoors and outdoors.
Like the house flies, phorid flies are also filthy. And they can transfer pathogens stuck on their bodies to your food.
Phorid flies do carry bacteria that causes salmonella and conjunctivitis.
Mosquitoes need no introduction. Mosquitoes are the worst small black flies that you can have in your house.
Mosquitoes feed on human blood and can cause many harmful diseases.
Stagnant water and damp decaying organic wastes are the primary sources of mosquito infestation in the house.
Water bodies in the outdoors like swimming pools, ponds, and fountains can also become breeding ground of mosquitoes if you don’t maintain them well.
Mosquitoes deposit their eggs on the thin waste film that form on stagnant water.
The mosquito larvae, which appear as tiny worm that wiggles on the water’s surface, matures quickly to become adult mosquitoes.
The lush green vegetation in the outdoors also aids the spread of mosquitoes.
Like most flies, mosquitoes enter homes from the outdoors through open doors and windows.
They can also breed inside the house in places like basement if there’s standing water.
There are no mosquito-borne diseases in the US. However, appearance of Asian Tiger mosquitoes in the US has raised the alarm bells of CDC.
Flying ants are the reproductives that belong to alates life cycle stage in ants.
These winged ants leave their current colonies to find a new home or structure to start their new colonies.
Flying ants are reddish-brown, 1/2 an inch in size, and they’ve got two pair of wings. The hind wings are smaller than the frontal wings.
Flying ants swarm during the summer. It’s during the warmer days of the year they fly into homes in swarms to cause an infestation.
These winged ants mate and lose their wings. After that they drill inside wooden structures or walls to lay their eggs.
So, if you’re seeing broken unequal wings on the floor of your house, then chances are your home has been invaded by winged ants.
Winged ants don’t bite. But they can use their mandibles to pinch if they get pressed against the skin.
Like the flying ants, flying termites are also reproductives that leave their colonies to start a new one.
They’ll also invade homes by flying in through the windows. And they’ll follow the same mating pattern like the flying ants.
All species of termites swarm, including the worst termite species of all, the subterranean termites.
Flying termites are 3/8 inches in size, dark beige or tan, and they’ve two pair of wings that are of same sizes.
Termites swarm during the summer, especially from March to August.
Flying termites, after mating, will drill themselves into the wood to trigger a termite infestation.
Signs of termites swarms are dead male termites and broken wings in the house.
Termites in the house will cause significant damages. So, hire a pest controller if you’re noticing any signs of termites in the house.
How To Get Rid Of Small Black Flying Bugs In The House
Getting rid of these small black flying bugs in the house that look like fruit flies is a daunting but doable task.
You’ll have to do repeated treatments to ensure that these flies are eliminated from their source.
Here are the steps that you need to follow to eliminate these tiny flies from their source.
Remove Organic Wastes
Maintaining cleanliness in the home and outdoors is paramount for preventing flies.
Remove organic debris from your yard.
Ensure that you follow proper garbage disposal practices, like disposing of the trash everyday and cleaning the trash bins with dish soap.
Organic wastes, such as dead leaves and rotting wood pieces, are egg-laying grounds for many flies, such as fungus gnats and phorid flies, in the list.
Remove Excessive Dampness In Your Home And Yard
Excessive watering of the yard soil, water leakages, and stagnant water increase the dampness levels of the soil.
That makes the soil an attractive place for flies like fungus gnats to lay their eggs.
So, refrain from overwatering the soil.
And ensure there’s proper drainage system that helps in removing the waste waters from your property.
Scatter Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth kills the larvae of the flies and even the adult flies.
As many fly species lay their eggs on damp soil beds, so it’s essential that you scatter diatomaceous earth on them.
Also scatter diatomaceous earth on the soil beds of indoor houseplants and compost piles.
Keep the compost piles, trash bins, and recycle bins covered so that flies can’t lay their eggs in these places.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got a fungus gnat problem, then scattering Epsom Salt on their breeding grounds kills their larvae.
Treat The Sink Drains
The sludge and slime the chokes the sink drains are breeding grounds for flies drain flies, fungus gnats, and phorid flies in the house.
Use a drain cleaner to unclog the sink drains of the sinks of your bathroom, kitchen, and basement.
You can also pour mixture of white vinegar and baking soda in the drain and let it sit overnight. Close the drain with a drain cover.
The mixture eliminates any fly eggs and their larvae inside the drain.
Don’t pour bleach inside the drains. It’s because bleach is corrosive and will damage the drains from the inside.
Also, bleach kills the essential microbes in the drains that helps in breaking down wastes.
Clean The Kitchen Appliances
The food wastes inside kitchen appliances like dishwashers, refrigerator, coffeemakers, and mixer grinders attract the flies.
Many small black flies in the house will hover around these appliances looking for a way to get inside.
Clean these appliances so that they don’t attract flies. Some flies, like the fungus gnats and drain flies, can also lay their eggs in the slime that develop on these appliances.
Keep Yellow Sticky Traps
Yellow sticky traps are handy when it comes to lure flies like fungus gnats and phorid flies.
They’re attracted to bright colors. And when you keep these yellow sticky traps on the soil beds of your plants, both indoors and outdoors, these flies will sit on them and get stuck.
Dispose of the sticky traps after keeping them on the soil beds for 24 hours.
You can also keep the sticky traps at the places in your home where you’ve noticed flies.
Use Window Screens With Fine Mesh
Window screens with dense meshes are helpful in keeping off the flying bugs from entering the home.
It’ll prevent flying bugs like carpet beetles, moths, flying termites, biting midges, gnats, and winged ants from entering your home.
Also, they don’t block the air.
You can also use the screens on vents and opening in places like attic, bathroom, and basement.
Many bugs enter through these vents. And installing these window screens during the spring is a good preemptive step to keep flying insects away from your home.
Seal Cracks And Gaps
Flies get inside the house not only fly through the open doors and windows, but also crawl through the thinnest of crevices on the windows, walls, and doors.
Carpet beetles, fungus gnats, flying termites, and winged ants are also efficient crawlers.
Many homeowners ignore the cracks while treating their home to get rid of these small black flies in the house.
But you shouldn’t.
Seal the cracks on the walls, windows, and doors to close the possible entry points for these bugs.
Fix Water Leakages
Leaking pipes, both inside and outside the house, increase the dampness levels of your house.
Excessive dampness leads to the formation of molds and fungi that are not only food sources for flies but also for bugs like psocids mites and mold mites.
Check for any plumbing issues underneath kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and in places like basement and laundry room.
If you find any, fix them.
Use Fly Insecticide Sprays
Fly sprays come in handy and accelerate the process of removing these small black flies in the house.
Permethrin-based sprays are effective against flies.
You can use it in the outdoors, in the garbage bins both inside and outside the house, and on the soil beds.
But ensure that you don’t use these sprays on your food storage sections.
Make Your Own DIY Vinegar Trap
Despite taking all these measures, little flies can come back. And to prevent that from happening you can make your fruit fly traps made from vinegar and dish soap.
Take a bowl. Fill it half by pouring apple cider vinegar.
And a few drops of dish soap in the vinegar. Stir the mixture well.
Cover the opening with a plastic wrap or aluminum foil and secure it with a rubber band. Then poke holes on the wrap or foil.
Keep the bowl for 24 hours in places like your kitchen, near houseplants, bathroom, and in places where you’ve noticed flies.
The fruity smell of the apple cider vinegar attracts flies like fungus gnats, fruit flies, house flies, and phorid flies.
These flies try to access the liquid inside the bowl by sneaking through the holes.
But the sticky dish soap in the bowl traps them.
Dispose of the mixture in the bowl along with the trapped flies the following day.
Install Bug Zappers Near Windows
Bug zappers will greatly reduce the chances of flies like winged termites and ants sneaking inside the house.
They also prevent other flying bugs that are attracted to light from entering your home.
Install the bug zappers in places like near windows, porch, doorways, near swimming pools, and in your garden.
The light from the bug zappers attract the flying insects. But when the insect lands on the bug zapper they get zapped! Or electrocuted.
Remove Stagnant Water And Excessive Vegetation
Stagnant water is a breeding place for mosquitoes, biting midges, and drain flies.
Your home will have these flies if you don’t get rid of stagnant water from your home and yard.
Remove any old tires, pots and pans, and unusable garbage bins that hold water after rains.
Ensure that you treat your swimming pool, pond, and fountain often so that water bugs and mosquitoes don’t lay their eggs on them.
Shrubs and bushes intensifies the flying bugs problem, especially the mosquito and biting midges problem.
Trim or eliminate excessive vegetation in your yard or garden. And don’t over water the plant’s pot.
Small flying bugs in the house aren’t just fruit flies. There are many more of them that share the same food sources and nesting sites.
There are only two flies, flying ants and winged termites, that don’t feed on the wet organic wastes and food wastes.
But these two flies can cause the maximum damages in the house.
However, these small black flies that are not fruit flies can also pose health risks because they breed in decaying organic wastes.
They all carry pathogens on their bodies. And they can transfer those pathogens to your food.
So, now it’s your turn. Have you noticed any other tiny fly that is not a fruit fly? Mention in the comments section below and let us know.