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. And did you know that the average family doesn’t know how to deal with fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats?

product to get rid of gnats

Their speed and senses are hard to deal with, as tiny as they are. 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.

Maybe you don’t know the difference between fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus. If so, 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 trying to get rid of these little pests, there are some tried and tested products below that we love. After buying a house surrounded by many pools of water, I struggled with them. I was especially affected by mosquitoes. The GTOCS from the table below has been an absolute game-changer. It makes 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. I would have frankly paid $100 for it easily. It’s also oddly satisfying to hear when it zaps bugs, knowing they won’t steal my blood anymore.

Best life-saving option
GTOCS Bug Zapper
Best for drain flies
Drain Treatment
Best for gnats
Garsum Sticky Houseplant Traps
GTOCS 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, and gnats. 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
GTOCS Bug Zapper, Electric Mosquito Zapper Outdoor, Insect Trap Indoor, Electronic Insect Killer for Garden Patio
What we love
Great against flies, mosquitoes, and gnats. 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. Many models charge 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 versus 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. Drosophila melanogaster’s scientific name has 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.

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

They have liked marula fruit, which has long been the favorite fruit in South Africa and Namibia.

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 attracted flies.

Biology and laboratory science relied on the fly for genetic studies for more than a century. Fruit flies are 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 kitchen and other places where food is spoiled and fermented. 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.
  • Usually have bright red eyes.
  • The front body is a tan yellow to light brown, and the rear is black.
  • 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.
  • Will lay about 500 eggs—an enormous reproductive potential.
  • Their life cycle (from egg to adult) takes about a week to complete.
  • Drains and garbage disposals are their preferred breeding grounds. Waste bins and other areas with wet and fermenting material are commonplace to find them as well.
  • It has a higher infestation rate on over-ripe fruits and vegetables that have already been infested and taken into the house.
  • Can contaminate food with bacterial and other disease-causing organisms.

Indications of infestations:

The presence of many 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. They gather in groups and prey on dead materials until there is no 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 and containers with a lid must be well-sealed. They will lay eggs under the cap and hatch in the container if they are not tightly closed.
  4. Check the environment for potential breeding areas and clean it all out. Leave no moisture and specks of dirt. Washcloths and dirty sponges are the most common habitat that they love. Address any stuck-up drains and stagnant waters.
  5. Clean vegetables and food cans thoroughly before disposing of them. 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 are also a great help, so using an insecticide is unnecessary.
  4. The best solution is a DIY trap. Place a paper funnel into a jar with cider vinegar and leave it close to where they are usually seen. It will soon trap adult flies that are released outdoors.
flying insect trap

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

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

Biorhythm and Life cycle:

  • They have 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 full adult flies. Most of their life is spent as an adult.
  • Under ideal conditions, a female will lay about 500 eggs. They hatch in around a day.

Summary table

AppearanceWhere to find in particularAttracted toHow to get rid
⅛ inch long, small light brown with bright red eyeskitchenRipe, over-ripe, and rotten fruits and vegetablesRemove 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 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 easily be in the kitchen and compost piles.

fly stick against drain flies

Characteristics and behavior:

  • They measure about 2 to 5 millimeters long.
  • Dark-winged and covered with scales. Its hairy character gives them a furry moth-like appearance.
  • Grow in stock water in containers. They will survive almost 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.
  • Non-biting and harmless bugs. But they still carry bacteria and could leave 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 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 of days.
  • They lay their eggs in wet organic matter such as build-ups from the sewage or compost files.

Make sure also to read our guide on 15,000 BTU air conditioners and mini metal lathes.

How to control and prevent drain flies from 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 and floor drain after use. Keep it dry – always.
  4. Repair broken sinks 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 keep the place dry as often as possible.

Female ones 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:

AppearanceWhere to find in particularAttracted toHow to get rid
2-5 mm, dark wings covered with scales, moth-like appearanceDrains and sinksOrganic debris, rotten vegetationDestroy the breeding ground, declutter waterways and sinks

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are another species of insect from the Diptera order. It’s a short-lived and tiny pest that is dark in color. They’re 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.

Check out our wire guide and the second part as well—our guide on gasless MIG welders and adding a shower.

How to identify fungus gnats:

  • Frequently confused with mosquitos.
  • This delicate insect has a grey to black color with tender legs and segmented antennae longer than their heads.
  • Grow up to 3 to 4 millimeters long.
  • 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, 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. 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. 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. They seep 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 and stems. Other debris from the soil should also be removed.
  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 10 days. They lay their eggs on moist plant-soil near food sources. Every year, they congregate. It happens during warmer seasons. Their life cycle lasts between 21 and 40 days.

Summary table

AppearanceWhere to find them in particularAttracted toHow to get rid
Small and black, with tender legs and segmented antennae. They’re 3-4 mm long.Around indoor plant beds and potsDecaying leaves and moldsRemove 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.

How do I know if I have gnats or fruit flies?

  1. Distinguish the pests by closely looking at their color.

    Fruit flies tend to have a brownish to dark appearance, giving them a lighter color. In contrast, gnats are darker and ashier in appearance. They are typically grey or black.   

  2. Differentiate between the two by comparing their shapes.

    Fruit flies have a rounded appearance, closely resembling the form of a housefly. However, gnats have longer legs and bodies. As a result, their silhouette looks similar to mosquitos.

  3. Sneak a peek at their eyes and compare the sizes.

    A fruit fly has big, and round eyes colored a bright red. But a gnat has small and beady eyes that can be hard to look for.

  4. Determine their gathering spot.

    Gnats tend to crowd around the organic matter. They are typically found outdoors in the garden or near the soils of your indoor plants. In contrast, fruit flies rally around rotten food. They can be seen circling overripe fruit or dirty sinks and drains.


Do gnats or fruit flies bite?

Even though it’s pretty unlikely, certain species of gnats bite humans. Gnat-bites look similar in appearance to a mosquito bite. It causes red bumps. It can be itchy and irritating, even painful at times. In contrast, fruit flies never bite humans. So you may develop a rash or irritation from fruit flies, but it is never a result of a bite.

How long do gnats live?

Adult gnats only live for 10 days. Their complete life cycle lasts anywhere from 21 to 40 days.

What causes gnats to be in your house?

Gnats are pests attracted mainly to moisture and rotting food. If your house has a faulty sewage system that faces leakage, you’ll likely be welcomed by these pests. They are also drawn toward organic waste or decaying fruits and vegetables.

Where do gnats come from?

Gnats are found anywhere with moist organic material. They tend to lay their eggs in moist soil, typically near food sources. Gnats may even lay eggs on decaying fruit or rotting vegetables. Apart from organic matter, they are likely to build a home in moist and humid conditions.   

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