Fruit flies vs drain flies vs fungus gnats (How to kill & get rid of them)

Do you know what is dangerous for your family? Fighting against a force that you don’t know how to rid of them. And did you know that the average family doesn’t know how to deal with fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats?

As tiny as they are, their speed and senses are hard to deal with. That is why any conventional method is ineffective. What’s worse is that they can reproduce quickly if you fail to get rid of them.

In fact, if you don’t know the difference between fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus, you cannot effectively kill them. Scroll down past our product recommendations if you want to see how you can tell these flying creatures apart.

If you’re simply trying to get rid of these little pests, there are some tried and tested products below that we love. After buying a house that’s surrounded by many pools of water, I struggled with flies (& especially mosquitoes), and the GTOCS has been an absolute game changer making sure I don’t end up with 200 mosquito bites after spending an evening outside.

At roughly $40, the bug zapper is THE thing you’re missing at home, if you don’t have one already, and I would have frankly paid $100 for it, easily. It’s also oddly satisfying to hear when it does zap bugs, knowing they won’t be stealing my blood anymore.

Best life-saving option
GTOCS Bug Zapper
Best for drain flies
Drain Treatment
Best for gnats
Garsum Sticky Houseplant Traps
Bug Zapper, Electric Mosquito Zapper Outdoor, Insect Trap Indoor, Electronic Insect Killer for Garden Patio
Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain Flies Treatment | Fruit Flies Treatment | Drain Fly & Fruit Fly Eliminator (1 Gallon)
Garsum Sticky Houseplant Traps Gnat Yellow Insect Trap Indoor Fruit Fly Stakes Trap(21 Traps)
What we love
Great against flies, mosquitoes, gnats & more. Game changer for outdoor setting!
Incredibly useful for getting rid of drain flies.
Great to put in your plants and catch gnats.
Best life-saving option
GTOCS Bug Zapper
Bug Zapper, Electric Mosquito Zapper Outdoor, Insect Trap Indoor, Electronic Insect Killer for Garden Patio
What we love
Great against flies, mosquitoes, gnats & more. Game changer for outdoor setting!
Best for drain flies
Drain Treatment
Green Gobbler Fruit Fly Goodbye Gel Drain Treatment | Drain Fly Killer | Fruit Fly Killer | Drain Flies Treatment | Fruit Flies Treatment | Drain Fly & Fruit Fly Eliminator (1 Gallon)
What we love
Incredibly useful for getting rid of drain flies.
Best for gnats
Garsum Sticky Houseplant Traps
Garsum Sticky Houseplant Traps Gnat Yellow Insect Trap Indoor Fruit Fly Stakes Trap(21 Traps)
What we love
Great to put in your plants and catch gnats.

Here’s the bug zapper on my countertop. There are many models out there charging you $80-100 for practically the same product. There’s no need to get any of those, as this is sure to vastly take care of your mosquito and fly problem.

bug zapper

Today, we will get to know the characteristics of these dirty creatures. And learn how to kill and get rid of them.

If the following picture looks familiar, keep reading.

woman chasing mosquitoes

Understanding Fruit flies vs drain flies vs fungus gnats

Fruit flies

A fruit fly is the most common insect that spoils fresh fruit. It belongs to the Drosophilidae family, and its larvae feed on ripening fruits. Fruit flies with the scientific name Drosophila melanogaster have been the mainstay in genetics and biology laboratories ever since.

Where do they come from?

Even though these little buggers appeared to trail humans worldwide, their precise origin story remains unclear.

Humans have reportedly been dealing with infestations for about 10,000 years, according to history. It was said to have first interacted with humans when they flew into the built caves of ancient South Africans.

They have been found to like marula fruit, which has long been the favorite fruit in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.

This delicious yellow fruit was abundant in the African veld at the time. So the alluring scent of stored marula fruit collected and preserved by ancient cave-dwellers must have been attracting flies.

For more than a century, biology and laboratory science relied on the fly for genetic studies; fruit flies as the most studied creature.

Researchers recently gathered and analyzed the genomes of flies from all over Africa. They discovered that Zambia and Zimbabwe have the highest genetic diversity. Ergo, their population originated in the continent’s south-central region.

As a reason, scientists believe that they are from South Africa.

How do you identify fruit flies?

They are popular in the house, kitchen, restaurants, and other places where food is left to spoil and ferment. They are especially attracted to ripe fruits and vegetables.

Characteristics and behavior:

  • Adults are about ⅛ inch long or approximately 2.5 to 4 millimeters.
  • They usually have bright red eyes.
  • The front body is a tan yellow to light brown, and the rear is black.
  • They lay their eggs close to the surface of fermenting foods or near wet organic materials.
  • When the larvae emerge, they continue to feed near the fermenting mass.
  • They will lay about 500 eggs—an enormous reproductive potential.
  • Their life cycle (from egg to adult) takes about a week to complete.
  • Drains, garbage disposals, waste bins, empty bottles and cans, mops, and other areas with wet and fermenting material are their preferred breeding grounds.
  • It has a higher infestation rate on over-ripe fruits and vegetables that have already been infested and taken into the house.
  • They can contaminate food with bacterial and other disease-causing organisms.

Indications of infestations:

The presence of a large number of adults is a typical indicator of an infestation. They typically congregate in areas with appropriate food supplies. And they are swarming around fruits and vegetables left out in kitchens or compost bins and other food disposal containers. Fruit flies gather in groups and prey on dead materials until there is no longer any food source.

How to eradicate and control them:

The best way to avoid them is by eliminating the source of attractions. And use attractive traps and pest control methods to eradicate them.

fly trap

To control:
  1. Reduce the presence of ripe fruits and vegetables. Ripe fruits should be eaten or refrigerated, or kept in sealed paper bags.
  2. Discard cracked and damaged fruit to prevent eggs and larvae from growing in the open section.
  3. Recycling bottles, cans, and containers with a lid must be well-sealed. They will lay eggs under the cap and hatch in the container if the containers are not tightly closed.
  4. Check the environment for potential breeding areas and clean it all out, leaving no moisture and specks of dirt: washcloths, dirty sponges, broken tiles, stuck-up drains, and stagnant waters are the most common habitat that they love.
  5. Clean vegetables and food cans thoroughly before disposing. Don’t give them the chance to be around.
  6. Windows and doors must be equipped with fine mesh wires to prevent them from coming indoors.
  7. Rinse and dry out mop heads after using.
To eradicate:
  1. Destroy the source of attractions. Locate the breeding areas and destroy them.
  2. Use pyrethrum-based aerosol pesticides.
  3. Traps also are a great help, so using an insecticide is not necessary.
  4. The best solution is a DIY trap. Place a paper funnel into a jar with cider vinegar and leave it close where they are usually seen. It will soon trap adult flies that are released outdoors.

Frequently asked question (FAQ): Are phorid, and fruit flies the same?

The answer is they are two different insects. Phorid, specifically, have a humpback body shape. They are commonly seen in the drain or damaged sewers.

Biorhythm and Life cycle:

  • Has a rapid reproduction and short lifespan consisting of an average of 40-50 days.
  • Life cycle stages are composed of egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
  • In less than two weeks, larvae will develop as a full adult fly. Most of their life is spent as an adult.
  • Under ideal conditions, a female will lay about 500 eggs, hatch in around a day.

Summary table

Appearance Where to find in particular Attracted to How to get rid
⅛ inch long, small light brown with bright red eyes kitchen Ripe, over-ripe and rotten fruits and vegetables Remove rotten fruits and veggies in the kitchen and close the compost lid tightly

fruit fly

Drain flies

How to identify them:

Drain flies are another kind of bug found in dark, damp, and swampy areas such as sewers and sinks. They are known as moth flies. They like to lay their eggs in clogged and greasy drain pipes. It could be in the kitchen, bathroom, septic tanks, and most compost piles.

Characteristics and behavior:

  • Measures about 2 to 5 millimeters long.
  • They are dark-winged and covered with scales. Its hairy character gives them a furry moth-like appearance.
  • They grow in stock water in containers. They will survive almost for a week in stored water. This type is a transient nuisance for the average homeowner. They disappear as soon as the household routine returns and water begins to flow again into toilets and drain traps.
  • They are non-biting and harmless bugs. But they still carry bacterias and could leave them in your home water.
  • They are not capable of flying long distances; instead, they jump nearby a wet area.
  • They can also be found on walls or ceilings and can make a short hop if disrupted.
  • They deposit around 30-100 eggs.
  • The eggs have a maximum development period of 7 to 28 days. Untreated infestations can lead to thousands of possible flying monsters in a couple days.
  • They lay their eggs in wet organic matter such as build-ups from the sewage, compost files, damp manure, and thick sink pads.

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How to control and prevent drain flies invading:

Pouring hot water or putting pesticides down the drain and sinks may only provide short-term control. Drain fly larvae are difficult to drown because they can be trapped in air bubbles and remain submerged for a few days. The best control method is deep cleaning.

  1. Start by destroying the breeding sites.
  2. Remove accumulated slimes from pipes and traps.
  3. Clean toilets, showers, floor drains after use. Keep it dry always.
  4. Repair broken sinks, tubs, floor tiles, and clogged drains immediately.
  5. Move away dumpsters and stored wastes. Don’t let it sit for an extended period in a bin.
  6. Fix leaks and pits.
  7. Install ventilation or use a dehumidifier to always keep the place dry as often as possible.

Female drain flies breed outside during the season, and adults enter homes by windows and doors. They flourish in clogged gutters, and AC drains. Address them right away, before they have a chance to develop.

Summary table:

Appearance Where to find in particular Attracted to How to get rid
2-5 mm, dark wings covered with scales, moth-like appearance Drains and sinks Organic debris, rotten vegetations Destroy the breeding ground, declutter waterways and sinks

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are another species of insects from the Diptera order. It’s a short-lived, tiny, dark pest often found in most greenhouses or well-forested areas. They are also present in your potted plants and containers. Indoor and garden plants will be infested if not treated right away.

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How to identify fungus gnats:

  • They are frequently confused with mosquitos.
  • This delicate insect has a grey to black color with tender legs and segmented antennae longer than their heads.
  • They grow up to 3 to 4 millimeters long.
  • They have a distinct rounded Y-shaped series of veins near their wings, only visible with a magnifying glass.
  • Since they have poor flying abilities, they like to congregate near their breeding grounds.
  • They do not feed; they only tend to live, mate, and produce eggs and die.
  • Their life cycle is just 4 or 5 weeks long. They can be visible throughout the summer, but they usually vanish as the season changes.

How to kill and get rid of fungus gnats:

  1. The most successful approach to handling them is locating their breeding sites and removing them to prevent breeding conditions.
  2. If adult ones are rampant in the area, the most probable idea is to use insecticide.
  3. Alternatively, spray them with pyrethrin-laced pressurized aerosol. And since there is no permanent or residual impact, you must spray directly at the insects. After the chemical settles, they will easily reach the field again.
  4. Another way is to utilize soil treatments and trapping methods.
  5. And the safest way is to call for pest control professionals for effective treatments and long-term pest control.

Tips for killing fungus gnats indoors.

  • Use the hydrogen peroxide solution to water the plants

Combine one part hydrogen solution (approximately 3% solution) and three parts water. Mix thoroughly and use water plants. The presence of bubbles during application means that the mixture is working.

  • Apple cider vinegar solution.
  • You can mix apple cider vinegar and a little dish soap in a cup of water. The apple cider draws gnats, and the soap keeps them from flying away.
  • Cover the cup with plastic wrap and punch enough holes with a pen to allow them to crawl inside.
  • After two days, discard the solution and repeat the mixing process until the appearance of gnats is no longer visible in the cup.

Tips on how to prevent fungus gnats from coming back into your home:

Gnats get into the house through window and door openings. It seeps in, mainly if there are dumpsters nearby or rotting fruits and fermenting foods.

To keep them from coming back into your house, you should follow these simple tips:

  1. Do not overwater your plants. Provide plants with the amount of water they need for the day. Allow it to dry between waterings.
  2. In your plant beds, remove any decaying leaves, stems, or other debris from the soil.
  3. Keep your place dry at all times. Fix or insulate any leaks and cracks with reliable insulators.
  4. After using, clean and cover your dishes, don’t allow gnats to settle in your utensils.
  5. Always throw out the rubbish—they like stinky places. Take out the trash regularly.

Life cycle:

Female gnats can lay roughly 150-300 eggs, and adult ones can live for up to 10 days. They lay their eggs on moist plant-soil near food sources. Every year, they congregate, especially during warmer seasons, and complete their life cycle, which lasts between 21 and 40 days.

Summary table

Appearance Where to find in particular Attracted to How to get rid
Small and black, with tender legs and segmented antennae, 3-4 mm long Around indoor plant beds and pots Decaying leaves and molds Remove dead leaves, and replace pots if molds accumulate


Flies and fungus gnats are hazardous virus carriers since they can easily sneak inside the house. That is why learning the differences between these intruders is necessary. That way, you know when and where they gather in your house. So that you can get rid of what’s attracting them.

Invest in the right pest-killing products when needed. Money will return naturally, while health is hard to recover once infected by a virus.

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