Why should you care about fungus gnats vs fruit flies? Because you need to understand the difference in order to effectively get rid of them, and keep them from coming back. So in this post, I will show you exactly how to tell which one you have, and give you tips for eliminating them.
Well, my first answer to this question is… those are not fruit flies, they are fungus gnats! Many, many people confuse these two common indoor pests.
Well, I’m here to tell you that they are not the same. But it is super important to understand their differences in order to eliminate them for good!
So below I will clear up the confusion, and show you exactly how to tell the difference between fungus gnats vs fruit flies. Here is what you’ll find in this detailed guide…
- Are Fungus Gnats The Same As Fruit Flies?
- How Do I Know Which One I Have?
- Where Did They Come From?
- How To Get Rid Of Them
Are Fungus Gnats The Same As Fruit Flies?
Though they look similar (and are equally annoying), fruit flies and fungus gnats are not the same type of bug. Heck, they’re not even related!
Each one has its own unique lifecycle, and completely separate feeding habits. Which means that you will need to use totally different treatment methods in order to kill them.
Fungus Gnats vs Fruit Flies
Right now, you may be thinking “Who cares what these annoying gnats are, I just want them gone!!”. But it is important to understand the difference between them in order to fight an infestation.
So first let’s talk about how to identify which one you have…
Fungus Gnat Identification
These tiny flying bugs (also called soil gnats) live and breed in the potting soil of indoor plants. So, if you see little black gnats flying around your houseplants, or crawling around in the soil, then those are fungus gnats.
Fungus gnats lay their eggs in moist soil where the larvae (minute white worms) will hatch and feed on roots, fungus and other organic material. They have no interest in fruit.
Fruit Fly Identification
If you see little flying bugs in your kitchen, around a bowl of fruit, or in the garbage, then you can be sure that those are fruit flies.
Fruit flies are attracted to ripening, rotting, or fermenting fruits and liquids, and are usually found in the kitchen. They feed on and lay their eggs in ripe or rotting fruit, and have no interest in houseplants.
How Do I Know If I Have Fruit Flies Or Fungus Gnats?
Now that you know the difference between fungus gnats and fruit flies, you may already know which one you have. But, if you’re still unsure, here are a few easy ways to make a positive ID…
- If there are small gnats in a house or kitchen with no indoor plants, then they are most likely fruit flies.
- If you have houseplants, and see small black bugs flying around them, then those are fungus gnats.
Learn more about how to identify different types of houseplant bugs here.
Where Did They Come From?
The first thing you should do when you find either of these pesky bugs in your house is to figure out where they are coming from in the first place.
Since they are both so small, they can easily get into the house through window screens or open doors. However, there are a few other very common ways they can get inside…
- Fungus gnats – Most of the time they get into the house either in the soil of a new houseplant, from ones that spent the summer outside, or from a contaminated bag of potting soil.
- Fruit flies – Usually get into your house from either the produce you purchase at the grocery store, or on fresh crops you bring in from the garden.
Related Post: Where Do Houseplant Pests Come From?
How To Get Rid Of Fruit Flies And Fungus Gnats
Since fungus gnats and fruit flies are two very different bugs, there’s not one magical way to get rid of them both at the same time.
So below I will give you tips for exterminating each of them separately.
Getting Rid Of Fruit Flies
The first thing to do is figure out where the fruit flies are coming from, and eliminate their food source(s). Be sure to check the garbage, disposal, pantry, or any other place where there may be food for them.
Once you remove their main sources of food, the best way to get rid of fruit flies is to trap them. I recommend using my DIY fruit fly trap to capture and kill them quickly (it really works!).
In the future, try putting your fruit in the fridge rather than on the counter. Also, be sure to empty your garbage often to help prevent them from coming back.
Eliminating Fungus Gnats
Since fungus gnats come from houseplants, be sure to figure out which one has them so you can treat the individual plant(s).
They live and breed in wet soil. So, if you have fungus gnats, then you’re likely overwatering your houseplants. So always be sure to allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
You can use yellow stick traps to capture the adults. Replacing the top inch of dirt with gnat barrier top dressing, which is an all-natural soil cover, works great to keep them away. Learn all about how to get rid of fungus gnats here.
Below I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about fungus gnats vs fruit flies. If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, then ask it in the comments section below. I’ll be happy to answer it as soon as I can.
Do fruit flies come from houseplants?
Nope, those are fungus gnats.
Why do I have fungus gnats or fruit flies in my house?
These small bugs can come from anywhere. Fruit flies commonly come in on produce from the grocery store or your garden. Fungus gnats usually come in bags of potting soil, or infested houseplants.
However, both of them are little enough to fly through screens of open doors and windows, so they really could come from anywhere. See the “Where Did They Come From?” section above for more details.
Do houseplants attract fruit flies?
No, fruit flies could care less about your houseplants. But indoor plants DO attract fungus gnats.
Do fruit flies eat indoor plants?
No. Fruit flies do not eat houseplants (fungus don’t either by the way). In fact, fruit flies have no interest in indoor plants at all.
Knowing the difference between fungus gnats vs fruit flies is half the battle. Now that you’re an expert, you should have no problem getting both of them out of your house, and keep them from coming back in the future!
If you’re tired of battling bugs on indoor plants, then you need a copy of my Houseplant Pest Control eBook. It will teach you everything you need to know in order to debug your houseplants, and keep them that way! Download your copy here!
More Posts About Houseplant Pests
- How To Get Rid Of Bugs On Houseplants
- Natural Houseplant Pest Control Remedies
- How To Get Rid Of Thrips On Houseplants
- How To Identify Common Types Of Houseplant Bugs
Share your thoughts or tips on fruit flies vs fungus gnats in the comments section below.