Currently viewing the category: "Gnats"
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Subject: Flying insect
Location: Hendersonville, TN
May 11, 2013 10:20 am
I live in Hendersonville TN and recently painted the front of my home. In the past couple of days I have noticed hundreds of these bugs on the house, or flying around near the gutters. Can you please tell me what they are, and how to get rid of them. Are they termites?
Signature: Greg Sisk

What's That Fly???

What’s That Fly???

Hi Greg,
We are uncertain how to classify this Fly.  We thought it resembled a March Fly, and that would explain the large numbers, but the antennae are wrong for typical March Flies.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide an identification.  We have also requested assistance from Eric Eaton.

Eric Eaton Responds:
Reminds me most of a dark-winged fungus gnat, family Sciaridae, but could be a gall midge, too….

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: need help with ID of worm masses
Location: North Carolina
July 7, 2012 3:43 pm
Can you help ID this mass of Asheville, North Carolina worms sent to me to ID (no luck)? Several masses of worms were found on concrete on their property.
Signature: John

Fungus Gnat Larvae

Dear John,
This is an aggregation of Fungus Gnat Larvae.
  Here is some information from the University of Delaware Cooperative Education website:  “As a result of our unusually wet weather, I’ve been receiving some interesting inquiries and digital images from arborists, landscapers, and homeowners. Their questions or observations are usually described to me as if they’re seeing ‘worms’, ‘tapeworms’, ‘processionary caterpillars’, or ‘armyworms’ crawling across the landscape, sidewalk or driveway. The masses are slimy or wet looking and several inches to several feet long as they move over landscape timbers and other surfaces. Even though this behavior is not yet understood entomologically, past experiences have allowed me to accurately identify these masses of larvae as an aggregation of darkwinged fungus gnat larvae. Observations of these masses of larvae are usually associated with a rich organic soil environment such as a recently mulched area where turfgrass is being established or shady, damp regions of the landscape. The larval stage of a darkwinged fungus gnat is thin, white, and legless with a shiny black head capsule. They have a smooth, somewhat transparent exoskeleton that reveals digestive tract in the center of the abdomen. Mature larvae are about 3 mm (1/8 inch) long. When
hundreds of these larvae congregate together to form a ribbon-like mass it is indeed an unusual sight in a landscape. Darkwinged fungus gnat larvae feed on the roots of many different plants and organic matter in the United States. They are recognized as important pests in greenhouses and mushroom cellars. They are also pests of houseplants. Adults and larvae inhabit moist, shady areas. Adults are very small, sooty gray or nearly black, long-legged, slender flies that live about 1 week. Females deposit 100-300 eggs on soil, usually near the base of plants. Larvae reach maturity in about two weeks and then construct a pupal case in soil. There is no reason to treat these masses of darkwinged fungus gnat larvae. Use this unusual insect behavior as an opportunity to educate your clients regarding the diversity and importance of insects in their landscapes.”

Daniel, thanks so much!  This is my second request over the years and I continue to be impressed with your skills and your website.
I just made a $10 donation to support your website; … .
All the best!  -John
PS: I’m looking forward to sharing the fungus gnat info with my NC friend when I see her soon.

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Maggots of some sort
Location: Hamlin, NY about 5 miles south of the Lake Ontario shore
November 7, 2011 11:03 pm
Hi. I found these pods of worms or maggots in the gutter on the side of the road in front of our house one early morning on September 15, 2004. We are in Hamlin, NY about 5 miles south of the Lake Ontario shore. These pods of worms moved together like a single unit. Notice there are two kinds of worms in the pods. The majority of the worms are about 1/32” in diameter. The larger maggots, there was one or two in a pod, looked like a typical large green bottle fly maggot. I have not seen anything like this before or since then. I have shown these pictures to a lot of people and no one even has a guess as to what these might be.
Signature: What’s that bug?

Fungus Gnat Larvae

This curious phenomenon is an aggregation of Fungus Gnat Larvae in the family Sciaridae.  Here is a photo from BugGuidewith some information.  We don’t believe there are two species here, rather we suspect that some of the individuals in the aggregation are larger.

Fungus Gnat Larvae

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mass of larvae
Location: suburbs of New York City
September 23, 2011 10:04 am
What are these? Photo attached
Signature: Jane

Fungus Gnat Larvae aggregation

Hi Jane,
You have an aggregation of Fungus Gnat Larvae.  According to BugGuide, they migrate when there is a population explosion. 

Fungus Gnat Larvae


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small larve
Location: Randleman,NC
May 30, 2011 7:56 am
ifound this crawling accross my sidewalk one morning and it was unusual i have never seen anything like these before not knowing what they were i sprayed them with ant spray since we have a common problem around here with termites. the next morning same scenario in the pics you would see the dead ones from the day before. please help me identify the bugs in these pics. Thank You
Signature: IZZY

Fungus Gnat Larvae

This is an aggregation of Fungus Gnat Larvae from the family Sciaridae.  We have profiled this phenomenon numerous times in the past on our website.  BugGuide provides this information:  “Sometimes abundant enough to form a crawling mass of several inches across and several feet long, similar to armyworm migrations. (2).  They feed on fungi in decaying plant matter (they often show up in potted plants that have been overwatered). [comment by Chris Borkent]  They can be pests in green houses.”

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snow bugs
Dec 10, 2010
December 10, 2010 11:37 am
I really tried to identify the 3 bugs on the snow I sent 12/1/10. At least I went thru your website and bugguide… I’m thinking you haven’t had much luck either. The one looks like a mini cranefly to me and I thought the other 2 were springtails, but they were solitary critters, and they are all wrong anyway! Any website suggestions I might peruse further? I can’t believe how addicted to bugs I’ve become since I found your website looking for an aquatic larvae! Never found the exact one, but I’m pretty sure it was some kind of beetle. Love your site and thanks for doing so much so well.
Signature: Cathy Schabloski

I wouldn’t be nekkid out here…
Location: Tonasket WA, near Canada
December 1, 2010 4:43 pm
Amazing what is out on the snow, and so very tiny and frail! I found 3 different kinds today. It’s about 32F now, and last week it was -12F. I think this one is a type of springtail, but had no luck with the other 2. I left them for you to crop as I feared loss of whatever resolution there is.
Signature: Cathy

Snow Scorpionfly

If I had wings, I’d fly south
Location: Tonasket WA near Canada
December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
Sorry, couldn’t find her, she’s about 2mm long. Why do I think she’s a she? I’ts 32F here and was -12F last week. Do I have no more sense than a bug? Actually, we both must love it here! And I know if this bug knew about your site it would love it as much as I do and be in awe of all you do. Thank you everyone that helps.
Signature: Cathy

Fungus Gnat

ovipositer? snow?
Location: Tonasket WA near Canada
December 1, 2010 5:21 pm
I’m just guessing here, maybe a type of springtail? only 2mm or so. Who would believe something this small at 32F and last week it was -12F. Where do the eggs/larvae/babies hang out until it gets warm(!) enough to come out and play? I saw 3 differnt kinds today. I am constantly amazed, both at the world around me and what y’all do out of the goodness of your hearts and the love of bugs.
Signature: Cathy

Snow Scorpionfly in the genus Bores

Dear Cathy,
We apologize profusely.  We wrote you back the day after you sent the three snow insects and we indicated we would research you insects and post them.  We forgot.  It is the end of the semester and work is piling up and we failed to deliver.  We can tell you that none of your insects are Springtails, be we still need to research them.  The one you believe to be a Crane Fly is some species of fly, and we believe it may be a Gnat.   At least we have posted your photos and as we research, we would gladly welcome any input our readership may provide.  You might want to post a comment to the posting and you will be notified in the future if any experts are able to provide any information.

Update and Correction: Snow Scorpionfly perhaps
Hi again Cathy,
We believe the insect with the ovipositor may be a Snow Scorpionfly in the genus
Boreus.  You can check the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website to compare the image of a female posted there.  BugGuide also has information on the Snow Scorpionflies in the genus Boreus including this description:  “Adults dark-colored with an elongated rostrum (“beak”), long antennae, vestigial wings, and long hind legs adapted to jumping; female has a straight ovipositor about the same length as the rostrum, and tapering to a point; males have a blunt rounded abdominal tip“.

Chen Young provides identifications
December 12, 2010
Good morning Daniel,
The two wingless images are not crane flies instead, they are Snow Scorpionflies in the genus Boreus, family Boreidae and order Mecoptera   I provided some short comparison in the crane fly website here for your informaiton
The fly with wings is a Fungus Gnat in the family Mycetophillidae.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.

December 12, 2010
I had just come to the same conclusion about the scorpionflies, thanks to your recommended website. I wish I had had my camera today because I got to see the forked projections on the backside of the male, they can raise and fold them back down flat, and he has a sort of single “Mercury wing” coming off the back of his head. Thank you and Chen so much for your help.  Daniel, you certainly don’t need to apologize to me for being busy and forgetting a few things! Thank you again.

Update:  Fungus Gnats can survive subzero conditions.
February 10, 2011
fungus gnat
February 10, 2011 7:58 pm
On 12/1/10 I asked you to identify what turned out to be a fungus gnat and male and female scorpion fly. I looked up the scorpionfly fly right away, probably because of the name… and found the heat of your hand can kill them! Well, I just looked up fungus gnat, and I don’t know if the one I read about is my exactr same one, but this tiny delicate thing can go to -60 and the abdomen freezes, but not the head! It will survive to -100. Here’s the website, I’ve always liked bugs, but you and all your contributors have given me a new fascination for all of it! Thank you so very much.“
Signature: Cathy Schabloski

Thanks for the link and information Cathy.  This is fascinating.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination