Common Household Pests: Gnats vs. Flies

gnats vs. flies

Flies and gnats are both two-winged insects, unlike most other species of insect that have four wings. These are common nuisance insects for homeowners. In fact, these insects cause so many of the same issues that people easily misidentify them. Therefore, we will discuss the differences between gnats vs. flies.

Gnats vs. Flies

Gnats are flying pests. They generally choose to stay close to where they lay their eggs. These pests are in the fly family, but not all flies are gnats. We will discuss the common types of gnats and flies in the Bryan/College Station area.


Phorid Fly

The phorid fly is a common type of gnat in the Bryan/College Station area. They are generally about 1/8 of an inch in size. Phorid flies are often mistaken for fruit flies or drain flies. However, they don’t have the hairy appearance that drain flies have, or the bright red eyes that fruit flies have. This fly moves erratically and quickly in a jerking fashion, but also like to walk or run along counters, walls and other surfaces.

Phorid flies are attracted to decaying plants and animals. Unlike the common fruit fly, these insects are more likely to spread throughout a home rather than staying near their food source. Since this insect likes to feed on rotting food, they spread bacteria and disease. They often breed and develop deep within plumbing, which can make them difficult to remove from a home without help.

Fruit Fly

The fruit fly is another common fly in the Bryan/College Station area. Adults are 3 to 4 millimeters long. They may have red or dark eye colors with a tan thorax.

Fruit flies are known to infest homes with ripe, rotting or decayed fruit and produce. These insects also enjoy fermented items such as beer, liquor and wine. The fruit fly may breed and develop in drains, garbage disposal, trash cans and mop buckets. Females are able to lay about 500 eggs, which typically hatch in as little as 24-30 hours. This can make the pests difficult to control.

Fungus Gnats

The most common species of black gnat is the fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in size. Adults are grayish-black in color and have long see-through or gray wings with visible veins. These tiny insects have very long legs. Fungus gnats eat the fungi and roots of plants.


House Fly

House flies are the most common type of fly found in and around homes. Not only are they nuisance pests buzzing around homes, they are potential disease carriers. While they have short lifespans, they can quickly reproduce in large numbers.

These flies are generally gray in appearance and display four black stripes on their thorax. Adult house flies are about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long. A house fly has a slight hairy body, a single pair of wings and compound red eyes.

Stable Fly

Stable flies are also known as “biting flies”, as they can deliver a painful bite. These flies will bite people, livestock, pets and other animals. A stable fly bite feels like a needle stab and generally occurs around the ankles and lower parts of the legs. When searching for a blood meal, these flies can be very persistent. They are about 1/4 of an inch long.

The stable fly breeds in soggy hay, grasses or feed; piles of moist, fermenting weed or grass cuttings; spilled green chop; peanut litter; seaweed deposits along beaches; soiled straw bedding; and sometimes in hay ring feeding sites when the temperatures warm in the spring.


These are just the common types of gnats vs. flies in the Bryan/College Station area. If you believe you might have a gnat or fly infestation in your home, contact our specialists City Pest Control with the link below!

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