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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny, dainty flying insects throughout my apartment.


They look like this
They look like this  
Hi Ed,
I have had this problem for at least 8 months now. I try to describe the tiny flying insects to people but they always say they are gnats. I really don't think they are though. They bite once in a while not often at all. They are very annoying though. They will try to get in your eyes, nose and ears. Not to mention your mouth and they will also fly right into your food that you are eating. They are very delicate though. If you touch them they fall apart completely. I just want them gone. I have tried sprays, bleach, citrus. I'm at a loss. Please help.

Dear Lucy - Your image is not clear enough for me to be certain, but they do resemble dark-winged fungus gnats. These are common indoor pests in homes/buildings with potted plants that have been over-watered, as this provides a great habitat for their larvae. If this is what you have, the first step in control is to allow the soil of potted plants to dry out as much as practical between waterings. See <> for more detailed information. If after reviewing this you believe that you may have something other than fungus gnats, please try to obtain clearer images to attach to a follow-up question.
Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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