What Every Houston Homeowner Ought To Know About Gnats
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What Every Houston Homeowner Ought To Know About Gnats

Few pests can be as much of a nuisance as fungus gnats—under the right conditions. What are the right conditions? That depends on the species of fungus gnat, and the pest control strategy used to control them. We've heard horror stories. Perhaps the worst ever is a case where a homeowner put down shallow bowls of apple cider vinegar to eliminate a fungus fly infestation. The idea was that, with a drop of dish soap to break the surface tension, the gnats would sink into the apple cider vinegar and drown while attempting to take a drink. The homeowners found lots of dead flies in the vinegar but didn't realize that many were getting a drink from the liquid and then reproducing in the house. After about two weeks, there was a swarm of gnats in the house and dozens of these tiny black insects dotting the walls. We hope that this does not become your story. Here are a few things you should know about fungus gnats in Houston.

Fungus Gnat Identification

gnat on a leaf

You might mistake a fungus gnat for a fruit fly. They are both tiny flies that can reproduce like crazy inside your home. If you're wondering which you have, there are a few easy ways to tell them apart:

  • Fruit flies have red eyes. Fungus gnats have black eyes. You'll have a hard time seeing these black eyes because the head of a fungus fly is also black.
  • Fruit flies have a yellow body. Fungus gnats are black.
  • Fruit flies are fat. Fungus gnats are thin.
  • Fruit flies fly away when you approach. Fungus gnats are more likely to run across a surface.

Fungus Gnat Problems

When these gnats get into a home, they'll crawl on your computer or television screen. They'll spot your walls and look unsightly. They'll fly around in the air and eventually become a cloud of tiny, irritating pests. When you pass through a room full of fungus gnats, you might inhale one. But this is probably the extent of the problems they'll cause.

  • There are some gnats that can bite you. Fungus gnats don't bite.
  • Some flies can spread as many as 65 diseases. Fungus gnats are a low threat for disease transmission.
  • While fungus gnats are usually found around houseplants, they don't damage plants. If there are a lot of fungus gnats, their larvae can stunt the growth of your plants and even kill plants. But this kind of extensive damage to potted plants is more likely the result of fungi and poor soil health.

Gnat Reproduction

The greatest frustration with fungus gnats is that they can reproduce quickly. If they find a food source inside your home and temperatures that are around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, they can go from egg to adult in about 14 days. It doesn't take long for several generations of fungus gnats to start to fill up your home.

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Fungus Fly Control And Prevention

If you have fungus gnats in your home, you can use a vacuum to suck them up. Sticky traps can also help with removal. You can check your potted plants for fungus gnat larvae by placing pieces of raw potato on the soil. The larvae will come up out of the soil to feed on the raw potato.

If you don't have fungus gnats in your home, there are a few ways you can try to keep them out.

  • Your window and door screens are your frontline defense against fungus gnats. These are tiny insects, so make sure your screens don't have even the tiniest of holes.
  • Inspect the frames around your screens and make sure there are no gaps that can allow these tiny flies to get inside.
  • Rake leaves and other organic matter away from your exterior walls. These create an ideal habitat for fungus gnat reproduction.
  • Clean your gutters and make repairs to your gutter system to reduce damp conditions around your home.

Year-Round Pest Control

Remember that a quality pest control plan can help you get control of insects around your home and prevent them from getting into your home. If you live in the Houston area, reach out to White Knight Pest Control. We can guide you toward the right solutions for your home and your budget. There's no better way to keep all of Houston's pests out of your home.

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