Fungus Gnats are often the type of gnats that cause problems in and around your homes here in Wisconsin. These insects are small, only around an eighth of an inch in size, and structurally are somewhat reminiscent of a mosquito, with a small body and long, thin legs. They feed on algae, fungi and decaying organic matter found in soil. While basically harmless, especially toward humans, they are still considered a pest.
Females lay their eggs on the top of damp soil. Upon hatching the larvae take around three weeks to develop into fully-grown fungus gnats. This leads to several generations of fungus gnats throughout the year.
Gnats are typically an outdoor pest, found predominantly around areas of water or constantly-damp soil. Here in Wisconsin, many of the worst areas for gnats are near Lake Michigan. They are typically noticed most around dusk when the male gnats swarm in a mating display.
Because of their preference for damp soil, gnats can also become an indoor pest if houseplants are present. In any of these cases, the gnats and their larvae can actually cause serious damage to plants. They have been known to tunnel into plant roots, which in turn can cause serious diseases, like root rot.
One of the easiest ways to eliminate an indoor gnat problem is to allow potted plant soil to fully dry out before watering. However, when it comes to outdoor solutions, it is not that simple. Even though they are harmless, they are often a source of annoyance to many homeowners, especially during their dusk swarming.
Did You Know?
The swarms seen at dusk of mating male gnats are actually called ghosts!