Fruit Flies, Fungus Gnats, and Drain Flies

There are NOT three types of little bugs that fly around multiplying in the house when there are ideal conditions to raise little maggots to maturity. There are literally dozens. And recently, a few people, out of a desire to make you think they know what they are talking about, have decided to try to persuade you that they are identifiable, and that somehow, one version is more aggressive or harder to eradicate than another, or that one kind needs different treatment than another (though they do tell you that the fruit flies eat fungus and that the fungus gnats eat fruit so you can't TELL by behaviors!).

Ok... so what is the truth here?

1. There are more than three species involved - more than a dozen. You can't tell by looking at them which is which, they are too small to really differentiate with the naked eye. Even if you think it LOOKS like one of the "three" you have seen pictures of, it probably isn't. There are many that look too similar to differentiate, and some that don't look like the ones listed that are behaviorally identical.

2. All of the species do the same things, respond to the same traps, eat the same things, and are just as hard to get rid of if you can't find where they are living.

3. There is NO "common name" for the individual species that is not COMMONLY applied to ALL of the other species. Common names are more of a REGIONAL and cultural thing, than anything having to do with the species of the bugs. There are a few companies, and a couple of bloggers, who have a monetary interest in trying to persuade you otherwise, but, for the most part, fruit flies, fungus gnats, and drain flies are all names applied to all of them (except maybe drain flies - I think they made that one up just to make it sound more complicated than it is, because I've never heard anyone refer to fruit flies as drain flies anywhere other than one source, and the people who quote it - common names are trackable in literature).

4. "Fruit flies" are attracted to fruit, lay eggs in fungus, congregate in drains, lay eggs in moist potting mix, and any other damp area that has some gook to feed the larvae (little tiny maggots). "Fungus gnats" lay eggs fungus, are attracted to fruit, and congregate in drains, lay eggs in moist potting mix, and any other damp area that has some gook to feed the larvae. "Drain flies" congregate in drains, are attracted to fruit, lay eggs in fungus, or moist potting mix, and any other damp area that has some gook to feed the larvae (little tiny maggots). And those who claim there is a reason to identify by their classification freely admit that there is no difference in what they are attracted to or where they lay their eggs! (Except they don't seem to realize that there are more places than they acknowledge for them all.)

5. Fruit juice or vinegar traps work for them all. If there were a difference in any of the species that warranted giving them a different common name and insisting that people tell the difference, the same kind of trap would not work with all of them. If the same traps work with all of them, there is no advantage to identifying to species anyway!

6. None can be eradicated unless you find the thing in your house that is letting them continue to breed - this means the site(s) where they are laying their eggs. No difference in that - and they ALL can be found in the SAME kinds of sites. Look for flies hovering around the area, and look for movement of maggots in the food source.

So don't bother trying to determine what kind you have, they are all the same anyway, and you just need to eliminate the breeding sites, as well as trap the adults, no matter which species you have.

We have found that a mixture of dried and granulated herbs can hinder the adults from laying eggs initially, but it won't get rid of them once established (the maggots grow up sort of immune to the deterrent herbs, and lay their eggs around it anyway). We are still working with that, and have a few more ingredients to test, so we may eventually come up with a deterrent that will drive them out completely.

That's it! It is that simple. Anyone saying otherwise either has a motive for trying to persuade you that they have some secret to getting rid of them, OR, they have simply never paid attention to what they actually are DOING. They have ONLY studied what other people SAID, they have never actually watched the bugs to know that trying to differentiate is a waste of time. Get on with the business of trapping and eliminating them.