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Fungus Gnats, Fruit Flies, and Drain Flies: What Is the Difference?

Fungus Gnats, Fruit Flies and Drain Flies are often similar in size and can overtake your house. But which one do you have? Here are a few tips for identifying and stopping these three pesky flies.


Fungus Gnats – are small flies that erratically bounce through the air. Odds are 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 your pest. These little guys breed in soil and the potting soil of 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 and treating the soil with an insecticide.

Fruit Flies – are small, brownish/black flies. 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 (read rotting) 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 or garbage disposals.. yuck! 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. 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 bathrooms. 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.

And as always Preferred Pest Termite & Turf can get rid of these three invaders and they even offer safe options for your family and pets. So don’t delay! Call Preferred Pest, Termite & Turf today! (865) 234-4008

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