Fungus Gnats: 3 Simple Ways to Get Rid of These Pesky Pests

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: May 23, 2023
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How something so small can be so pesky is surprising. But if you’ve seen fungus gnats uninvitedly making their way into your house plants, you’ve got a problem to solve. Discover three simple ways to get rid of fungus gnats without using insecticide!

What Are Fungus Gnats?

Fungus gnats are tiny flies that love hanging around your indoor plants. They’re into the potting mix you use and infest your soil if you don’t get rid of them. These small flies have dark wings, and they have a delicacy to them. They don’t have stout bodies but are rather slender, similar to a mosquito. Their antennae are like bristles and as adults, their legs grow long. Fungus gnats are drawn toward light but they’re kind of weak fliers, so you won’t always spot them hanging out by your windows. You’re more likely to spot them getting cozy in your house plant’s soil. But you have to look closely — they’re that small!

Dark-winged fungus gnat, Sciaridae on a green leaf, these insects are often found inside homes

Fungus gnats have dark wings and long legs.

©Tomasz Klejdysz/

3 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats

1. Stop Overwatering

Overwatering is usually the issue when it comes to fungus gnats. If you get a bit overzealous with watering, you could be inadvertently creating the perfect conditions for these tiny flies to thrive. Obviously, you need to keep your plants hydrated but pay close attention to the topsoil. Let it dry about two inches down before watering. You may even try bottom watering.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar works wonders in getting rid of fungus gnats. Just pour some into a small bowl with water and mix in a bit of dish soap. Use one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and for the dish soap, all you need is about five drops. Fungus gnats will fly their way over because of the vinegar but the dish soap is there to kill them. After you see several floating, clear the apple cider vinegar trap and make a new one until your problem is gone.

3. Sticky Trap

Sticky traps are easy to use. These store-bought remedies look kind of like the traditional Post-its you set up at your desk with important reminders. Except these are sticky all over. They have a glue coating that nabs fungus gnats mid-flight and doesn’t let them go. Although kind of unsightly, they are effective. You also have the option to pick up a sticky trap that blends in better with the surroundings. It’s in stake form and kind of looks like a tiny tree. Once you’ve set up either version, shake your plants slightly and the fungus gnats will get caught.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Klejdsz

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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