In metro Atlanta we have gotten many calls throughout the summer regarding the “gnats” that seem to be a constant problem.  There are a number of types of “gnats” that may be responsible for these sightings, we’ll discuss a few here.

  • Fruit flies – the red eyed wonder, can become a large problem if not taken care of.  They are often called vinegar flies because of their attraction to fermenting sugars that are found in fruit.  Although the adults are relatively short lived, they produce hundreds of eggs and can become a problem overnight. Their easily identifiable red eyes range from the brighter variety to a maroon color.
  • Phorid flies– the coffin dancers or humpbacked flies. These species of flies can become a nuisance around proteins that are breaking down, typically animal proteins. They are known as the coffin fly because of their attraction to decaying bodies such as road kill. They are not as numerous as the fruit fly, however their source of infestation can be much more repugnant.
  • Fungus gnats – can become a problem in office buildings especially when one individual takes care of the plants.  When that person is out on vacation or leaves, everyone forgets to water the plants, so everyone waters them at the same time creating a perfect environment for fungal growth. Another cause is the doubling of pots, one decorative and one functional, which hides the fact that the plant is actually root bound. The roots will produce a fungus which can attract the flies also.
  • Drain or Moth flies – generally found in organic debris that is very wet. A favorite hiding place is the wet mop following the cleaning of a floor. This species will actually lay their eggs in the moisture area of a drain and the larvae move to the gelatinous material in the “j” part bend of the pipe. There they hang onto the debris using a small hook that keeps them from being washed away.

That’s quite a diverse and interesting group of flies.  These are just the most common but nowhere near the only ones that may inhabit a structure.  If you are seeing flies around your home call Northwest Exterminating to locate the source.

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