fungus gnat on plant

What are fungus gnats?

Fungus gnats are small flies that infest moist soil and potting mix. The larvae, after it hatches from the eggs, feed on fungi that live in damp soil. These insects have a mosquito-like appearance with small bodies and long legs. Adults grow to be about ⅛” in length. Their bodies are black or grayish in color and they have a unique Y-shaped pattern on their smokey wings. The fungus gnat’s larvae are worm-like in appearance, the body of the larvae is translucent and they have black head capsules.

fungus gnat on leaf

Why do I have a problem with fungus gnats?

Problems with fungus gnats develop because they have discovered moist soil that is nutrient-rich in or around your home. Moist soil is where the females lay their eggs. Once the larvae hatch, they feed on plant roots and fungus in the soil. They are also common around water-damaged pieces of wood. Listed below are some common areas in Washington where fungus gnats live in large populations:

  • Wet mulch

  • Wet, old piles of firewood

  • Potted plants

  • Overwatered gardens

  • Damp woodwork or dry wood

  • Leaky roofs

Are fungus gnats dangerous?

Fungus gnats pose no direct threats to people. They do however have the potential to be dangerous to plants and can become a real threat inside nurseries, greenhouses, and properties with large gardens. They are problematic and annoying in homes with lots of potted plants. As the larvae feed on the roots of plants, they cause damage which could result in root rot or wilting, unhealthy plants.

Do fungus gnats bite?

Fungus gnats do not bite people or animals. The main threat of fungus gnats is the damage they cause to plants.

How do I get rid of fungus gnats?

Fungus gnats are problematic inside homes and businesses. If they have found their way into your home, the professionals at Prosite Pest Control can help! We will accurately identify the infestation and work with you to put into place a plan of action to eliminate fungus gnats--and stop them from returning. Contact us today to learn more about our fly-control solutions for residential or commercial properties or to schedule your inspection!

How do I prevent problems with fungus gnats?

At Prosite, we recommend the following fungus gnat prevention tips:

  • Allow the soil in potted plants to dry out completely between waterings.

  • Do not overwater garden areas.

  • Do not overplant landscaping plants. Leave ample spaces between plants to allow the sun to hit the soil and dry it out.

  • Make sure gutters and downspouts are in good working order to direct water away from the outside of your home.

  • Make sure your lawn and garden areas have good drainage.

  • If wood or drywall ever becomes water damaged in your home, immediately replace it.


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