Tropical Fruit Fly Drosophila Diptera Parasite Insect Pest on Ripe Fruit Vegetable Macro

Can Houseplants Attract Fruit Flies: Fixing the Gnat Problem

Can Houseplants Attract Fruit Flies? 

There's nothing more irritating than unwanted flies hovering around your indoor oasis of greenery! Trying to work out exactly what causes the problem of pesky flies buzzing around your houseplants can be tricky. So it’s not surprising that many of us plant lovers wonder whether can houseplants attract fruit flies?
Let’s get a definitive answer before we dive in.

"Although houseplants don’t actively attract fruit flies, you may see these pests flying around your potted plants. This could be because they have been attracted by other things in your home like rotting fruit, sugary drinks, unclean drains, and any dirty surfaces. Fungus gnats, however, are attracted by houseplants."

Ok so with a brief answer in mind, let's understand a little more easily if house plants attract fruit flies. Let’s start by investigating a little more about what exactly fruit flies are.

What Is A Fruit Fly?

A fruit fly’s Latin name is Drosophila Melanogaster and is a species of fly in the family Drosophilidae.

We commonly refer to them as the fruit fly or lesser fruit fly. Although its more accurate name is the vinegar fly.

As they breed extremely quickly it can sometimes seem as if fruit flies literally appear from nowhere to infest your home. The truth is they are usually already in egg form on the fruit surface, waiting to hatch when the time is right.

They love human food and usually lay their eggs directly on rotting fruits and vegetables and sometimes in drains that aren’t kept clean.

Fruit Fly Life Cycle

These fruit-loving pests can produce up to 500 offspring during any mating season, and it only takes about a week to go through their whole life cycle.

So it’s not surprising that fruit fly infestation can get out of hand fairly quickly and you might see them around your houseplants or other places in your home.

Take Action Immediately

As we’ve found out, we now know that fruit flies aren’t particularly attracted to houseplants, but even so, it's important to take action as soon as you see the very first fruit fly.

As soon as they’ve hatched, the fruit fly larva will feast on anything near them which provides their needs, such as an overripe banana or a ubiquitous single rotting apple left in your fruit bowl!

As we’ve seen, their life cycle is super quick and they are capable of mating just two days after they become adults. So it’s important to take action to stop any kind of infestation.

"As soon as they've hatched, the fruit fly larva will feast on anything near them."

Where Do Fruit Flies Live?

So although it might seem as if the fruit fly is attracted to your houseplants, it's more likely they just happen to have made a home in a room where you keep your houseplants.

Houseplants especially those which like warm environments such as kitchens and bathrooms may seem as if they are harboring fruit flies and you may notice them buzzing around.

You might see them not only around your houseplants but near any kind of fermenting matter such as in drains, mops, and trash bins.

It might even be they’ve got into your home through garden plants or from your veggie patch.

"Houseplants especially those which like warm environments like kitchens and bathrooms may seem as if they are harboring fruit flies."

Summer and Fall

As the smell of ripening fruit and decomposing produce attracts fruit flies, you might find them in your home and around areas where you might keep houseplants mainly in summer and fall.

A few fallen apples that have become rotten from an outdoor tree may attract them into your house where you might spot them near your greenery display, especially if they are situated near your kitchen.

However, fruit flies can also be a problem year-round.

Ok, so how do you get rid of these bacteria-spreading flying pests? Read on to discover more.

How Do I Remove Fruit Flies?

Although a swat from a dishcloth might be a short-term solution, if you want to completely remove fruit flies you will need a better plan.

  • Remove any old decomposing produce
  • Clean drains regularly
  • Wipe up drink spills
  • Use a chemical spray formulated for flies
  • Try this all-natural remedy
Home remedy for catching fruit flies and small insects with glass bowl of cider vinegar and drop of detergent

So now that we’ve discovered that fruit flies aren’t directly attracted to your houseplants, but most likely that forgotten banana in a fruit bowl, you might be wondering what types of pests are attracted to my houseplants?  

Read on to find out more.

What Are Fungus Gnats?

So you might have seen much smaller flying bugs buzzing around your houseplants and may have confused them with common or garden fruit flies, but the likelihood is they are not fruit flies, but fungus gnats.


fungus gnats shown on yellow sticky trap sitting inside potted houseplant

These tiny flying bugs are also called soil gnats. They live and breed in the potting soil of indoor plants.

So, if you see little black gnats flying around your houseplants, or crawling around in the soil, then you are most probably seeing a fungus gnat.

Fungus Gnats Are Part Of A Family Of Insects That Include:

  • Bolitophilidae
  • Ditomyiidae
  • Keroplatidae
  • Diptera
  • Diadocidiidae

Naturally, they are found in damp forest areas and typically feed on mushrooms and decaying plant matter.

Small Pests

Fungus gnats are quite small, certainly not as big as fruit flies. In fact, they only grow to around a quarter of an inch in length.

So you may mistakenly believe they’re too small to cause much damage at all, but unfortunately, their larvae can and will damage your houseplants.

Fungus gnats larvae look like teeny miniature white worms.

Fungus Gnats Like Warm Moist Soil

One of the main reasons fungus gnats are attracted to houseplants is that lay their eggs in moist soil.

Once the eggs have hatched they will dine out on roots, algae fungi’s, and other organic material such as potting soil.

While adult fungus gnats are fairly harmless, the larvae can cause damage to your houseplants.

As we saw earlier, it’s the larvae that do the most damage as they may feed on plant roots within the soil too, which can lead to root damage and stunted growth.

It’s best to get rid of fungus gnats as soon as you notice them.

"If you see little black gnats flying around your houseplants, or crawling around in the soil, then you are most likely seeing a fungus gnat."

What Attracts Fungus Gnats?

So unlike fruit flies, fungus gnats will be attracted by your houseplants.

You are likely to find them around your indoor greenery for a number of reasons:

  • They love waterlogged soil, another reason to make sure you aren't overwatering your houseplants.
  • They enjoy bright light near a window, a common place for indoor plants
  • They are attracted to mold and mildew
  • Fungus gnats thrive in warm and/ or wet environments

How Do I Remove Fungus Gnats From Houseplants?

So if you notice fungus gnats around your houseplants there are a few different approaches you can choose.

The best thing you can do to avoid fungus gnats altogether is to make sure you are not overwatering your houseplants and that they have adequate drainage.

For more information on houseplant drainage check out our helpful article: Why Is My Houseplant Drooping. Here we talk a lot about the importance of drainage for your houseplants.  

Other Ways To Treat Fungus Gnats On Your Houseplants

  • Spray your houseplants with a hydrogen peroxide and water solution. 1 part hydrogen to four parts of water.
  • Repot your infested houseplant
  • Use fly trap sticky cards
  • Apply a chemical insecticide, here's our favorite. It works like a charm!

To avoid fungus gnats altogether, make sure you are not overwatering your houseplants and there is adequate drainage.

And To End On…

So hopefully we’ve given you the real answer as to whether house plants attract fruit flies!

Although we’ve discovered they don’t specifically attract them, it could be they might be buzzing around your indoor oasis because something else is attracting them.

Whatever the case, act fast to stop them from becoming a nuisance, so you can continue to enjoy your pretty indoor plants.

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