What Do Gnats Eat That Makes Them So Annoying?

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Though they may seem insignificant, gnats ( the members of the Mycetophilidae family) can be a real nuisance. Especially as they are attracted to a variety of food materials and annoying swarm around your home.

So, if you’re looking to get rid of them, it’s important to understand-What do gnats eat that makes them so annoying!

What do gnats eat that makes them so annoying?

Gnats are small insects that can be located all over the planet. They are predominately herbivores, but some species are classified as omnivores and will eat both plants and animals.

What do gnats eat

One of the things that make these flying critters so annoying is their voracious appetite; they will eat anything they come across, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even people and animals!

What’s more, did you know gnats love to lay their eggs inside fruits and vegetables? This is why they’re so pesky; the eggs hatch into larvae that can damage the produce.

To avoid this, I would emphatically recommend keeping the food covered and clean, especially when cooking outside.

What Do Different Types of Gnats Eat?

fungus gnat photo

Gnats come in a variety of species, each with a unique diet. For instance, there are gnats that bite and gnats that don’t. In fact, there are three different mouth kinds for adult gnats, modified for their eating habits.

Nevertheless, rather than analyzing the scientific facets of the anatomy, let us explore different types of gnats and their diet.

The different types of gnats include:

Let’s get to know what do gnats feed on in detail.

Eye Gnat (Liohippelates)

Eye Gnat Larvae Diet

Eye gnat larvae live in freshly disturbed soil and eat a variety of things, including bacteria, fungi, and other organic matter. They also feed on hay and grass, making them a common sight near livestock barns and in pastures.

This makes them annoying for humans because they can be found near places where people are commonly present, such as near homes and gardens.

Adult Eye Gnat Diet

Adult Eye gnats are attracted to a variety of different things, but they mainly feed on bodily fluids; this includes mucus, saliva, blood, and sweat.

Eye gnats can also spread diseases such as conjunctivitis in humans and mastitis in animals. In addition, these pesky creatures are very annoying due to their habit of flying around people’s heads.

Fungus Gnat (Sciaridae)

Fungus Gnat Larvae Diet

Fungus gnat larvae are the immature stage of fungus gnats. They feed on fungi that grow in the top inch of soil.

In addition, fungus gnat larvae love to eat a variety of things, making them a particular danger to potatoes, tulips, and begonias. They also feed on the roots of other plants, including grasses and vegetables.

This can cause significant damage to gardens and crops, making them a nuisance to homeowners and gardeners.

Adult Fungus Gnat Diet

Adult fungus gnats are attracted to flower nectar and get their sustenance from the plant’s sap as well as other organic matter. In return, they spread pollen to help with the plant’s reproduction.

This means that adult fungus gnats are important for the health of plants and should not be eradicated unless they are causing serious damage.

Buffalo Gnat (Simuliidae)

Buffalo Gnat Larvae Diet

The Buffalo Gnat Larvae are a special kind of larva that can eat just about anything. They live in areas where food is scarce, so they have to be ingenious in order to survive. Not only do they eat decaying organic matter, but they also eat other insects and even fish.

Adult Buffalo Gnat Diet

Adult buffalo gnats are pesky creatures that feed on nectar but also consume blood to produce eggs. They bite humans, which causes itching, swelling, and inflammation. The gnats also cause problems for livestock by biting them and spreading diseases.

Adult buffalo gnats can be found near standing water and lay their eggs in moist soil.

Sewer Gnats (Psychodidae)

Sewer Gnat Larvae Diet

Sewer gnats are small, moth-like flies that can be found in a variety of places, but most commonly in drains and sinks. They get their name from the fact that they often live in sewer systems, where they feed on the larvae of other insects.

In the absence of drains, sewer gnats may lay their eggs in moist soil. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on organic matter such as decaying plant debris and bacteria.

When these larvae mature into adults, they fly away to look for a place to live—and that’s when they become the nightmare of any homeowner.

Adult Sewer Gnat Diet

Adult sewer gnats are attracted to moist, organic matter. This could be anything from garbage bins to rotting fruits and vegetables in the trash.

They can also find sustenance from under sliding door runners and lifting tiles, so it is important to keep these areas clean and free of debris.

In the absence of a regular food supply, adult sewer gnats may turn to other things for sustenance. This means that they may fly into your home in search of something to eat, contaminating food and spreading diseases in the process.

Unfortunately, this can lead to them being very annoying and hard to get rid of.

Biting Gnats — Ceratopogonidae

Biting Gnats Larvae Diet

The larvae of biting gnats consume a variety of things, but their main diet consists of fungi, algae, soil detritus, and rotting plants. This means that they can be found in a variety of different places, including moist environments like swamps and marshes.

Adult Biting Gnats Diet

Adult Biting gnats, which include mosquitoes, and blackflies, are tiny creatures that feed on the blood of mammals, including people.

In fact, the Female biting gnats require a blood meal in order to reproduce. They swarm around people’s heads and, feast on their blood, tend to feed at dawn and dusk.

Female biting gnats are attracted to moisture and sweat, so they’ll often invade areas where there’s a lot of human activity.

Interestingly, male gnats are vegetarian and consume nectar throughout their adult lives. They do not require blood as the female gnats do in order to reproduce.

What do gnats eat? Food that can attract them to Your Home

Food Materials

Do you know why are gnats so annoying? Gnats are attracted to a variety of different food sources. They eat the majority of the foods that humans consume on a daily basis.

Interestingly, vegetables seem to be a common choice for them, but they also eat fruits and other sugary items. This means that they can be quite annoying as they fly around your head while you’re trying to enjoy a nice meal.

House plants

Gnats are attracted to moist environments and can damage your house plants by sucking out their sap.

They live around the bases of plants in the top inch of soil and can be difficult to get rid of.

Garbage, including fecal material and dead skin

Gnats are attracted to a number of things, but one of the main things they eat is fecal material. This includes both human and animal feces.

These pesky critters will also eat dead skin, so if you have any open wounds, they may be more likely to swarm around you.

Additionally, decaying plants and food also add up to the list.


If you find insects swarming around your home, be prepared for the guests they bring along-the Gnats!

Basically, Gnats are attracted to movement and will swarm around anything that is moving. This includes other insects, which they will attack and bite.

Gnats are also known to bite spiders, ants, and other small insects.


Yes, you got that right!

Gnats are attracted to body heat, which is why they tend to swarm around people.

Confused still? Well, this brings me to the next section.

Why are gnats attracted to humans?

harmful lacewings gnat feeding

The simple answer is scent, heat, and moisture.

Most gnats and flies are drawn to particular odors, notably fruity and sweet ones. The majority of people utilize a range of personal hygiene items.

As a result, the soap, perfume, lotion, or hair spray you use may be the cause of gnat attraction. Many of these items have a fruity or floral scent that attracts these bugs to you.

Additionally, gnats are naturally drawn to areas where there is an abundance of body heat and moisture. This is why they are often found around humans, as we tend to produce a lot of both.

Furthermore, gnats are particularly attracted to perspiration, so areas, where people sweat the most (like the forehead or underarms), become prime feeding grounds for these pests.

How Destructive Can Gnats Be?

gardner gnat icon

Gnat clouds can be a major nuisance and can cause a lot of destruction.

Gnats are tiny insects on their own, but because they like to fly in clouds, they could inflict serious damage to plants and crops. In terms of how much they can consume, a gnat alone might not cause much harm, but a swarm can quickly turn harmful.

Your fruit trees may easily lose all of their fruit, and gnat clouds can be terrible for orchards. Feeding larvae have the potential to seriously harm plants and stunt their growth.


Gnats are small, flying insects that can be quite annoying, especially when it comes to food. They are attracted to decaying materials, plants, sweat, microbes, and human blood. Once they have found a food source, they will continue to feed until they are satisfied.

As a result, it is not hard to say what specifically makes them so annoying.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.