First, how long do gnats live?
The answer to ‘how long do gnats live” will vary, according to the gnat species, their capacity for reproduction, and the suitability and caliber of their preferred habitat. The quality, quantity, and accessibility of food sources, as well as the availability of available moisture and protection within their habitat, are all examples of habitat favorability.
For instance, large ornamental plantings in shopping malls and office building lobbies, as well as potted plants in private homes, frequently develop fungus gnat infestations. Fungus gnats typically live longer and lay more eggs when these locations are overwatered as opposed to when the soil is only kept moist enough to support healthy plants.
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Table of Contents
How Long Do Gnats Live?
Gnats have a lifespan of about a week. Temperature has a direct impact on gnats’ lifespan because warmer weather makes them live a little bit longer. However, most insects of this size can only survive for a total of two weeks.
A gnat lives for about a month, from egg to adult. However, they only spend about a week or so as fully grown gnats, with the remainder of that time being devoted to the rest of their life cycle.
In both indoor and outdoor environments, gnats typically lay their eggs in soil. While they cannot tolerate extremely high temperatures, they do prefer the warmer environment of your home. Since they can’t fly very well, most gnats prefer to stay close to the plants where they were born.
Let’s examine the typical gnat life cycle while we’re talking about gnats that lay eggs. All animal life cycles are fascinating, regardless of size!
Gnat Life Cycle
In warm, moist soil a few inches below the surface, female fungus gnats lay their eggs. Due to the pests’ preference for hot climates, heated homes, greenhouses, and garden centers are common places where infestations occur. Usually within six days, gnat eggs hatch.
Gnats can lay up to 200 eggs in a week, which is about how long they live as adults. The pests can complete their entire life cycle in as little as 28 days. So, if you’re wondering how quickly or frequently gnats reproduce, the short answer is: A LOT.
Gnat larvae have shiny black heads, white or clear bodies, and no legs. Following emergence, they consume decaying matter and plant roots for food. You might see slime trails left by gnat larvae on leaves or in planters if a gnat problem is bad. Warm temperatures speed up the insect’s growth during the two-week-long larval stage.
At the conclusion of their larval stage, gnats begin to pupate. This process, which mainly takes place in the soil, lasts three to six days. A gnat’s life cycle typically ends at this stage. The pests pupate, then emerge as winged adults and start reproducing.
In general, adult gnats won’t harm your plants and don’t bite. Gnats have a short lifespan, but when they’re in large numbers, they can be quite bothersome. They can annoy visitors at hotels and outdoor dining establishments in addition to houses and greenhouses. Gnat infestations can also be a problem for florists.
Factors That Affect The Gnat Lifespan
The gnat’s life cycle is described above assuming ideal conditions for growth and reproduction. However, outside variables may have an impact on this process.
Gnats are more prevalent during warmer weather spells, which are typically from early spring to late summer and are frequently observed from May to August. Geographical location is important; residents of the Western and Southern states will “enjoy” a longer gnat season.
The duration of a gnat’s life can also be impacted by cold weather. Contrary to popular belief, it can lengthen something as well as shorten it.
According to science, gnats have antifreeze proteins that shield them from icy conditions that would otherwise kill them. The ability to reproduce and lay eggs is still present in gnat adults.
Where they can lay them is where the issue arises, though. Depending on the species, the eggs may never hatch if there is insufficient access to unfrozen soil or water.
They can live longer if the ova can be fertilized and develop into larva. They can persist in this wriggling state for a longer time without changing into a pupa, which would otherwise perish in the cold.
The seasonality of gnats is being impacted by climate change, according to recent studies from the Pirbright Institute. The primary reproductive period of some species has grown by 40 days. This implies that as the years go by, you’ll probably see more of these creatures.
Access To Food And Water
Sex and food are the two things that gnats are most concerned with.
Sex usually doesn’t pose a problem as long as they hang out together. It feels like you’re constantly inside a nightclub.
But there is a problem with nutrition. They will perish or find new homes if they don’t have enough access to food or water.
Gnats may eat plants, other insects, or decomposing organic matter, depending on the species. Removing these flying pests’ food and water sources can frequently be an efficient way to lower their population and lifespan if they are a problem in your house or garden.
It’s alarming to read the findings of research from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. It explains that gnat populations have decreased by 72% in some parts of Europe while falling by 40% in the USA.
The overuse of pesticides, the prevalence of monocultures, and habitat destruction are cited as the causes of this decline by scientists.
Yes, gnats can be a pain. They are also very good pollinators, which are crucial for our food crops.
Consider your options carefully the next time you consider eliminating your gnat problem.
How Long Can Gnats Survive Without Food Or Water?
Food and water are essential for the survival of every species. Similar to humans, gnats require food to survive. They risk dying if they don’t get enough food and liquids. They relocate because there is less food nearby.
Because gnats are drawn to moisture, your perspiration, nasal mucus, and eye tears may be the cause of gnat infestation. Household gnats are drawn inside to lay their eggs by the carbon dioxide and body heat. Due to their inability to fly effectively in the dark, gnats may be found close to the house’s lights.
Gnats can be annoying, so you should keep them out of your home. So get rid of anything that attracts gnats, such as rotting fruit, potted plants, potting soil that has become soggy from water, dirty dishes, and decaying trash. The fruit must be placed in your refrigerator. Fruit left out can draw gnats because their smell attracts them to your kitchen in the majority of cases. Additionally, you can get rid of them by using a wine trap or bleaching agents. Spraying a solution of dish soap, water, and vinegar on gnats will also kill them. The best course of action is to speak with a pest control expert if you want to properly treat complete gnat infestations, including larvae.
Will Gnats Eventually Disappear?
Since they are primarily found in the spring, gnats are a seasonal pest. They leave once we experience a typical summer season with the hot, muggy weather. Their lifespan is extremely brief. Usually, it occurs in late June through mid-May. When living indoors, adults have a lifespan of about 7 to 10 days.
The phorid fly, one of the species of flying gnat, has an adult lifespan of between eight and fourteen days and a few days, most likely between eight and about 37 days, for the duration of its entire life cycle. Adult fungus gnats have a lifespan of one to two weeks and complete their life cycle in 18 to 30 days.
Gnats may live in hair. Gnats can only lay their eggs on moist food sources, so no, they can’t. They can be found in a variety of moist places, including drains, wet soil, and even pieces of fruit. Even though they are drawn to hair, they are unable to breed or survive there. The scalp and hair are not thought to be gnat breeding grounds.
Can gnats be gotten rid of? There are a few issues that need to be resolved in order to get gnats out of the hair. You must shampoo your hair with a shampoo that either has no scent at all or very little scent in it to get rid of them. No cleaner of any kind will be used. Even some shampoos and conditioners made specifically to ward off gnats can be used.
You should keep in mind a few things in order to get rid of gnats while fishing. When boating and fishing, your boat should be pointed toward the wind. You can prevent them from getting close to your face in this manner. Always keep in mind to wear a hat and to completely cover your body so that no area is exposed to them. The evening is when gnats frequently swarm. So it is advised to go fishing in the morning because there is a much lower chance that you will be bothered by gnats then. Spraying yourself with a mixture of some essential oils and water from a bottle is beneficial. According to some, scattering spices like cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne around your boat will also deter them.
How To Get Rid Of Gnats?
Locate & Eliminate Breeding Sources
- Potted Plants or Outside Soil: Locate the breeding source by performing a thorough inspection and removing the soil or drying the soil if you have gnats coming from any potted plants.
- Drains: Check the drains to see if there are drain flies or gnats coming out. Apply some clear tape over the top of the drain with some holes cut out for airflow as a convenient way to check to see if they are coming from drains. You can identify the presence of gnats or drain flies if they become stuck to the tape as they emerge from the drain.
- Fruits, Vegetable or Food Spillage: Get rid of fruit and vegetable matter that has gone bad. Additionally, look inside the condensation pan found under refrigerators.
Apply Traps, Enzyme Drain Products Or Bti Products
You can use a fruit fly trap or create your own homemade traps if you have gnats or other small flies that are coming from organic sources.
- Old Fashion Vinegar Trap: Put some dish soap, a teaspoon of sugar, and a little (one to two tablespoons) apple cider vinegar in a jar. The soap will keep them imprisoned and unable to escape, while the cider vinegar will act as an attractant.
- Ripened Fruits: Keep that ripe apple or banana. Ripe fruit attracts fruit flies and gnats. Place some of that fruit in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap that has been poked with tiny holes, and allow it to sit for a while. The flies will fly into the bowl but cannot get out.
- Almost Gone Red Wine: Fruit flies or gnats may be snared in the wine that is still in the bottle at the bottom if you have them. They can’t get out because they will be forced to crawl into the bottle.
Enzyme Drain Products
- Gnats in the kitchen may be coming from the drains if you cannot find the source of their breeding (food spills or garbage). To check if they are emerging from the drains, place the clear tape over the drains that have been punched out.
- Pour into the drains an enzyme drain product like Invade Bio Drain. For coating drain sides, the thick formulation of Invade Bio Drain Treatment contains microbes and pure citrus oil. The Invade Bio Drain Treatment will consume the buildup and scum in drains, getting rid of it and drain odors. Invade Bio Drain Treatment’s oil has a pleasant orange scent.
- Unfortunately, bleach won’t completely remove the debris that has accumulated in the drains.
Bti Products (bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis)
- Mosquito Bits not only will control mosquito populations, but will control Gnats
- BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), which is present in mosquito bits, kills Fungus Gnat larvae. You only need a small amount of granules; check the label for details. The fungi gnat larvae will be killed when it is released into the soil by water.
Use Insecticides Or Fly Lights
- Gnats Outside: After reducing the soil’s excessive moisture levels to eliminate the breeding sources, apply a residual treatment, such as Bifen IT residual insecticide.
- For quick knockdown, Pyrethrin Aerosol space sprays like Stryker 54 Contact Aerosol can be used.
- Using a fly trap like Gardner WS 85 Wall Sconce or Gardner GT-200 Fly Light would help control many types of flies, including the Fungus Gnats
- Spray a residual treatment, such as Bifen IT residual insecticide, on any outdoor areas that may still retain moisture after removing the breeding sources in the soil. Keep children and pets away from sprayed surfaces while you repeat as necessary.
How To Prevent Gnats?
- Don’t Over Water Plants : Overwatering plants results in increased moisture, which creates ideal breeding conditions for fungus gnats.
- Allow Enough Time Between Watering Outside : Fungi can grow if landscaped areas are not given enough time to dry out in between watering cycles.
- Landscaped areas may retain moisture even when not overwatered for a long enough period of time to allow the fungus to grow and create an environment conducive to fungus gnat breeding.
- Raking the soil or mulch will kill any fungi already present because they will be exposed to air and light.
- Repair Water Leaks : Increased fungal growth will be brought on by moisture issues from water leaks, which will promote the growth of fungus gnats.
- Proper Ventilation : Proper ventilation can prevent the growth of fungi.
How Quickly Do Gnats Reproduce?
Gnats have a lifespan of seven to ten days. They lay their eggs in any moist area, including the wet soil floor and even soil crevices. In batches of 2 to 30, female gnats can lay up to 100–300 eggs in any available decaying organic matter. The gnat larvae are fed for almost two weeks after hatching from the eggs, which take only four to six days. The gnat larvae are hardly noticeable. It appears to be an oval, either white or translucent, that is smooth and shiny.
There are numerous species of gnats. There is no risk to humans from any of them. A few gnats, however, can be harmful and put human health and welfare as well as that of livestock and humans at risk. Black gnats come in more than 1,000 different species. The most prevalent of them is the fungus gnat. They can reproduce in warm houses and have a life expectancy of about 30 days.
How Long Will They Live Compared To Flies?
Gnats are small, annoying insects, but house flies are their larger, more bothersome counterparts. Even though gnats and flies are two different species of insects, we frequently find both of them to be equally annoying. But what other similarities do flies and gnats share? Let’s find out!
House flies do live longer than gnats because of their larger size. Some of them can live up to two months, but most only live for two to three weeks on average. Their ability to obtain food, particularly protein and sugar, has a direct impact on how long they live.
The life cycle of house flies is similar to that of gnats; they emerge from eggs as larvae and pupate into adulthood. Given their size, female house flies do tend to lay a lot more eggs than the typical female gnat.
Temperature has a direct impact on both house flies and gnats. Extreme heat and cold will shorten their lifespans, and particularly cold temperatures will have an impact on both of their eggs.
It’s possible that the average gnat’s size is preferable to the typical house fly’s size. Gnats tend to keep to themselves, while house flies tend to attract more attention and annoyance from humans who have to listen to them buzz around all day.
Apart from predators, gnats and house flies have remarkably similar lifespans. Both of them run the risk of being swatted and being exposed to extremely high temperatures. Both of these insects have short lifespans, even in ideal conditions. When you consider having these pests inside your house, I guess it’s for the best!
A gnat has a lifespan of about 40 days, but as an adult, they don’t have much more than ten days to enjoy eating and reproducing.
Next time one buzzes around your head and you consider swatting it, wait a moment. Take into account this creature’s incredible journey thus far and the fact that its time on this planet is much shorter than yours.
Thank you for reading.