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These tiny flies can be a nuisance — especially if you have houseplants. They can also affect seedlings. The flies resemble tiny mosquitoes or fruit flies but do not sting. Their small white larvae feed in the soil on organic matter, fungi, and plant roots. If numerous, the larvae can cause stunting and dieback of plants and make the roots vulnerable to disease.
Fungus gnats are attracted to wet soils that are high in organic matter; they lay their eggs on the soil surface. They are weak fliers and usually stay close to plants. There can be multiple generations each year and they occur throughout North America.
Last updated: 11/4/19
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