Where Do Gnats Come From? – 13 Most Common Examples!

If you’ve got gnats buzzing around your home and you feel like you’re constantly fighting off a swarm of these irritating little bugs, you might be wondering where they come from and how come they always show up in your house.

There are all sorts of potential places that a gnat could feasibly come from, and if you look around your home, you might not know where to start with eliminating the pests and their place of origin

So we’re going to look at 13 of the most common places that gnats might come from to help you find and deal with the root of the problem.

Do Gnats Come From Plants?

Gnats don’t come directly from plants, but yes, plants can be a source of gnats – because the soil in the plant’s pot is a perfect breeding ground for them, especially if it is kept moist.

Gnats generally lay their eggs in damp soil, so if you’ve got plants that have recently been watered, they will offer gnats a perfect haven.

Most gnats like to live in or near saturated soil, partly so that they can find mates and have the perfect environment for laying their eggs in.

They may breed outside the house and come in looking for food, especially if you have plants around the doorway. If you get large numbers of gnats outside, you’re more likely to see them in the house too.

It can be hard to stop outdoor plants from getting saturated, since they’re dependent on the weather, but bear in mind that wet soil is a major gnat attraction, and consider shifting plants/soil areas away from the doors of your house.

Plants that have a lot of decaying matter in the soil are more likely to have fungus growing there too, breaking down the organic material and – perhaps unsurprisingly – this sort of environment is particularly attractive to fungus gnats. Their larvae depend on fungi for food when they are young.

Do Gnats Come From Drains?

Gnats do sometimes inhabit drains too, and you may notice them around your outdoor drains, especially if there is a lot of organic matter around for them to eat.

They can easily get into the house if they are clustered around an outdoor drain, so keep an eye out for this.

Gnats around your outdoor drains may not bother you too much, though they can look a bit unsightly if there are a lot of them.

However, if they get close to the house, this can prove quite annoying, and you’ll want to take action to get rid of them.

If you’ve got gnats in your outdoor drains, you will need to spend some time cleaning the drains and removing any decaying organic matter, such as old leaves, to get rid of the gnats’ food source and discourage them.

Checkout our article on: Where Do Gnats Come from in my Bathroom – Key Facts To Know for more information on gnats and drains.

Do Gnats Come From Maggots?

You might be wondering what “baby gnats” are like, and the answer is that yes, they are sometimes described as maggots, while other people describe them as larvae.

Their looks will vary somewhat depending on the species of gnat, but many are tiny.

Often, they will be semi-transparent and light-colored, and a lot are almost invisible to the naked eye.

You are unlikely to see the maggots on the whole, unless you disrupt the food source where the parents have laid the eggs.

If you see lots of adult gnats flying around, the chances that they have laid eggs are high – and there may also be larvae or maggots present if so.

Check inside plant pots and any other food sources if you want to try and find the maggots.

Do Gnats Come From Fruit?

It depends slightly on your definition of a gnat; some people define gnats and fruit flies as different, because fruit flies tend to have larger bodies than many gnats, and they are brown, rather than black.

However, some people count fruit flies as gnats.

If you’re being plagued by fruit flies, you might be wondering whether they hatch from the fruit itself – it often seems that way, as they appear to come from nowhere. However, they don’t; fruit flies don’t originate in the fruit.

Fruit flies are attracted to the scent of rotting fruit and will travel considerable distances to get to it.

They are so small that they can easily get through windows and door frames, and once they have access to rotting fruit, they will lay lots of eggs.

These will hatch from the fruit, meaning that some gnats do come from fruit (in a way!).

Getting rid of them is sometimes as simple as getting rid of the rotting fruit, but sometimes they will find other food sources.

You need to put away all the food, wipe down your surfaces, and remove other homely environments (anywhere damp, such as mops, sponges, etc.) where the flies may try to settle.

Do Gnats Come From Bananas?

No, the gnats come from outside, rather than from the bananas themselves.

They have no way to spawn in the fruit originally, although they will lay eggs in bananas where possible, and will certainly enjoy eating the fruit.

If you notice bananas are particularly popular with fruit flies, it may just be that these are riper than your other fruits, as bananas tend to ripen fast.

Try to keep your bananas separate from other fruits, preferably in a cool place, to extend their lifespan. Do not keep them in the fridge, as they will quickly turn black.

Do Gnats Come From Flies?

The term “gnat” is vague and often applied in different ways, but if you’re wondering whether gnats are the babies of larger flies such as house flies, the answer is no.

Gnats – in their many forms – are unique species and do not come from flies.

However, the term fly often applies to gnats – for example, fruit flies, as mentioned, are often classed as gnats, but have “fly” in their name.

Gnats do not come from large flies, but do come from their own species, so if you would class gnats as flies, then yes, gnats come from flies.

However, you don’t need to worry about a single large fly creating swarms of these tiny pests in your home.

Do Gnats Come From Indoor Plants?

Just as they can come from outdoor plants, gnats can take to your indoor plants once they have got inside.

The adults will hang around the damp soil, making the most of the moisture.

They will mate, and then lay eggs in the soil. Often, fungus gnats are most attracted to plants and soil.

The larvae of some gnats (including fungus gnats) may eat your plant roots, damaging the plants, while others will eat decaying matter in the soil.

Fungus gnat larvae tend to be white or semi-transparent, with black heads, and if you poke around in the soil, you may spot them.

Once they are ready, the gnat larvae will pupate and turn into flying adults – perpetuating the cycle and making your gnat problem worse!

It’s very frustrating if you end up with gnats in your indoor plants’ soil, because they can be a challenge to get rid of.

Even if you manage to trap or kill the adults, more will keep hatching from the soil.

Getting rid of gnats is tricky, but there are a few things you can try. Keeping the soil as dry as possible without killing the plant is a good way to make it inhospitable to gnats.

You can use vinegar traps to cut down the number of adults, too – these are easy to make at home, and you’ll find plenty of online instructions.

If you’re really having problems and you don’t dare let your plant dry out, you can repot it using fresh soil.

This will get rid of the gnat larvae, and if you relocate the plant for a while, the adults may not find it.

Do not over-water your plant in the future, as it’s usually this that attracts the gnats initially.

Do Gnats Come From Outside?

Yes, gnats come from outside the home, and usually come in because something has attracted them.

Once they are inside, they will happily breed and keep reproducing within the house, but the initial invasion always comes from outside.

Gnats are all very tiny, so it is easy for them to get into houses without being noticed. They can get through small cracks and crevices, or simply fly in without being spotted.

Even if you haven’t had the doors or windows open all day, gnats will still find ways in if something appeals to them.

Sometimes, gnats will arrive with your groceries. Because they are so small, they are sometimes living on produce without being detected, and it’s easy to buy fruit that has fruit flies already inhabiting it.

Washing your produce before you put it away may help you notice and deal with any unwanted hitchhikers trying to reach your fruit bowl.

Outside the house, gnats breed in whatever food suits their particular species, and will keep doing so, but they do not spontaneously appear in a house; they have to come from outdoors in some way.

Do Gnats Come From Sink Drains?

Gnats don’t originally come from sink drains, but they will happily live in a drain such as your kitchen sink – especially if there is lots of organic matter for them to eat there. They will breed down there too.

Some are even known as sink gnats or drain flies, and will complete their whole life cycle in the drain.

You may spot them hovering around the sink, or find them accidentally drowned on dishes left to soak, etc.

Sometimes, waving your hand above the drain will encourage them to fly up, letting you know if you have an infestation.

They prefer sinks that are rarely used, so the water is stagnant and they are undisturbed.

If you have a waste disposal in your sink and regularly tip out food waste, you may be more likely to notice sink gnats, as there will be lots of organic matter in the pipes for them to eat.

Getting rid of them can be a challenge, because you will have to get rid of their food source – and that involves cleaning the pipes.

Do Gnats Come From Fruit Flies?

Fruit flies are often referred to as gnats, and gnats as fruit flies – so in a way, yes. However, there are many kinds of gnats, and most have more varied diets than just fruit.

They will eat all sorts of other organic matter, and inhabit various parts of the home.

Fruit flies breed other fruit flies when they have a suitable environment, but “gnats” is a general term used to refer to all sorts of small flying insects – often the kinds that do not bite.

Do Gnats Come From Bathroom Sinks?

There may be slightly less for gnats to eat in bathroom sinks, but they will still inhabit them sometimes.

They like the moisture, and it provides an excellent breeding space for them, especially if the sink is rarely used.

They like stagnant water, so if you do use the sink but you’re still seeing them, check if you have other areas of standing water around, perhaps due to a dripping pipe or leaking toilet that may be causing a small amount of water to pool on the floor.

Gnats can sometimes even breed in a shower curtain if it stays wet for long periods of time.

You will want to take your curtain down and wash it, and then find a way to better ventilate the room in order to make it inhospitable to gnats in the future.

Get any drips fixed, and clean your drains to deal with stagnant water or organic buildup in the pipes.

This should help to discourage and get rid of the gnats quickly and effectively.

Do Gnats Come From Air Ducts?

If you’ve seen gnats in or around your air ducts, you should take action. The gnats don’t specifically come from the air ducts, but if they have chosen to breed in your air conditioner, you really want to know about it sooner rather than later.

Gnats that are breeding in the air conditioner will end up being spread around the house any time that you use it – and may infest other living spaces too, getting into plants and organic waste.

They will be keen to inhabit any place they can survive and breed in, so you may find yourself with big problems on your hands if the air conditioner is switched on while full of gnats.

Gnats should not breed in an air conditioner that is working well, so you need to get your air conditioner checked if it seems to be spreading gnats throughout the house.

Find out what is going wrong – it will usually be related to dampness – and get it fixed promptly to avoid further issues.

Do Gnats Come From Vents?

You may sometimes see gnats flying around the vents in your home, and might wonder if they are breeding in there.

Vents can suffer from a buildup of condensation, and if this occurs, it’s possible for gnats to breed in or near them.

Gnats are easily small enough to get in and out of a house through a vent, so keep an eye on your vents and if you notice a lot of gnats around one, check it for moisture problems and signs of an infestation.

You will need to deal with the damp in order to get rid of the gnats.


It may sometimes help to identify what kind of gnat you are dealing with, but the term “gnat” can refer to all sorts of different tiny flies, and most follow similar habits.

They usually need moisture to breed and organic matter to eat, and they will then live perfectly happily in your home.

Most lay large numbers of eggs at once, so they can reproduce and increase their numbers extremely quickly.

Although gnats are harmless, you will want to look at what’s causing them and how you can deal with it so you don’t end up swamped by lots of tiny flies.

More on gnats from the School of Bugs:

Will Gnats Eventually Go Away?

Gnats vs Fungus Gnats – Are they the Same? Let’s Find Out!

Getting Rid of Gnats for Good?! Here’s what REALLY works

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

Recent Posts