Gnats vs. Mosquitoes

You sit in your house binge-watching your favorite series and suddenly get bit by a small flying insect. Now you are confused whether it is a gnat or mosquito. In general, both look similar; they bite and annoy humans. 

But what exactly makes them different from each other? 

What do they feed on? 

Are they hard to deal with?

Well, to get answers to all these questions, stick with us till the end of this article and get to know everything about gnats and mosquitoes. 

Also, we have got some exciting tips on how to handle their infestation. Let’s get started. 

What are Gnats?

Gnats vs. Mosquitoes

Gnats are among the tiny flying insects that belong to the phylum Arthropoda, order Diptera, suborder Nematocera, and those in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae. 

These slender-bodied insects are often in a swarm at dusk. There are different kinds of gnats like fungus gnats, buffalo gnats, midges, sand gnats, and much more.

What are Mosquitoes?

Even before you knew about what gnats are, you might be familiar with mosquitos. Mosquitoes also belong to the same phylum Arthropoda, suborder Nematocera, and family Culicidae. 

There are almost 3600 species of mosquitoes, they bite humans and are a widespread cause of diseases all over the world. 

What is the Difference Between Gnats and Mosquitoes?

In this section, we will look at the major difference between gnats and mosquitos based on certain characteristics.


Gnats are small types of flying insects that are black or brown. Measuring less than 1/4 inch, they have long, slender bodies and thin wings. 

Whereas mosquitoes are slender flying insects but measure a quarter of an inch in size, have a striped body, and are found in several color combinations like brown, black, gray, silver, and white.


In terms of behavior, both insects have many dissimilarities. For example, though both mosquitoes and gnats are weak fliers, their positions differ when they aren’t flying. 

Gnats hold their body parallel to the surface they are resting on, while mosquitoes raise their bodies with their tail up in the air. 

Another notable behavior is how they breed. Gnats mate with large groups, also known as ghosts. Meanwhile, mosquitoes prefer mating with one male and female. 

Feeding habits

Gnats feed on many things, but they intake plants and other insects most commonly. Baby gnats or larvae feed on a host plant’s roots, stems, and leaf galls. 

Only a few species of gnats feed on blood. Mainly, female gnats feed on blood only to produce eggs

While male mosquitoes feed on plant sap, nectar, or fruits, like female gnats, male gnats intake blood for their reproductory process. What is more interesting is mosquitoes have different feeding schedules. 

Some species look for food only during the daytime, while some feed exclusively at night. 


In terms of bite, all species of mosquitoes bite humans, but only certain species of gnats like buffalo or sand gnats do. 

While mosquito bites disappear within a few minutes, and after they disappear, the itchiness also reduces, at the same time, the gnats bite leaves red and tiny bumps. 

At times these bites even cause minor to severe infections in humans. Also, gnat bites are more painful than mosquitoes. 

How To Deal With Both?

Difference Between Gnats and Mosquitoes?

First, you need to know what attracts mosquitoes and gnats to get rid of them.

Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, which animals and humans release from their bodies. They also use their receptors to find a potential host’s body heat, sweat, and skin odor. 

Mosquitoes mainly lay eggs in stagnant water. So clear all the stagnant water in and around your houses. Also, you can use mosquito netting and traps to prevent them from entering the house. 

Gnats are attracted to moisture, overripe fruits, garbage cans, etc., and tend to survive in these places. 

So by cleaning the breeding areas, you can easily prevent gnats and avoid future infestation. 

To get rid of them, use chemical repellent, containing at least 30% of DEET, natural or chemical traps, and electric fly exploders(for outdoor pests). 


Before reading this article, you should have thought that gnats and mosquitoes are similar. But we hope that you realize that gnats are not even close to how destructive mosquitoes are. 

Both insects are annoying, and their infestations must be avoided to live in a clean and healthy environment. We have also discussed how to keep these flying insects at bay. 

So that’s all about the Gnats Vs. Mosquitoes. Thanks for reading through!

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Daniel White
I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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