Life Cycle of Gnats

Gnat infestations are quite annoying as they create a nuisance where humans exist. So you might have Googled to learn many things about gnats, especially how to get rid of them. 

But what major people miss out on is learning about their life cycle. By knowing how gnats reproduce, you can effectively control gnats, and thus you reduce the chances for their existence. 

Also, some factors like the availability of food, moisture, and protection within their habitat influence the lifespan of gnats.  

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So in this article, we have discussed the gnat’s life cycle, how fast they reproduce and how long they can sustain without food. Now let’s find about it.

Gnat Life Cycle

Gnats Life Cycle

Gnats’ life cycle comprises four important stages: eggs, larvae, pupa, and adult gnats. So only after three successful stages, the adult gnat comes out into the environment. Now let’s discuss each stage in detail.

Stage 1: Eggs

If you have read about the behaviors of gnats species, some gnats, especially the females, bite humans or animals and suck blood. They do this because the blood helps them in forming the eggs.

A female gnat lays upto 100 to 300 eggs each time, and the number goes upto 30 times before its lifespan ends.

Gnat eggs are hardly visible. They are oval, smooth, shiny white, and semi-transparent. 

Now coming to where they lay eggs if they are fungus gnats, the female gnats lay eggs a few inches below the warm and moist soil. Other areas where gnats infestations occur include greenhouses, garden centers, and plants growing in heated areas.

In the case of fruits, veggies, or manure, gnats lay eggs inside the dwelling area. 

Stage 2: Larvae

Under feasible conditions, at 75ºF, gnat eggs hatch within 3 days. The gnat larvae have white or clear bodies with shiny blackheads. Upon hatching, some species of gnat larvae merely survive unless they develop into complete pupae. 

Meanwhile, some larvae feed on plant roots and decaying matter or any food source in their environment. 

Stage 3: Pupae stage

The next stage is the pupae. The larvae take more than a week to develop completely into pupae. Pupae are similar to larvae, but a few days after the pupation period, the gnats emerge as winged adults. 

Also, they undergo metamorphosis and start to change color from white to yellow or brown color. During this process, the gnat pupa doesn’t feed on anything until they turn into adult gnats.

Stage 4: Adult gnats 

At the end of the pupa stage, the adult gnats start to come out. These adult gnats have dark, slender long bodies and resemble mosquitoes. These gnats have long antennae, legs, two wings along with a clear venation. 

A fully grown gnat measures about 2.5 to 4mm in length. These adult gnats won’t bite or harm humans in most cases. However, despite their short life duration, they quickly multiply and cause a nuisance. 

So this is the lifecycle of gnats. 

Some people doubt whether gnats turn into flies; the answer is a big NO. Often people assume gnats for fruit flies because they both look similar. However, when given a keen look or observed under a microscope, you will get to know both are different.

Although gnats and fruit flies are flying insects, they are two separate insects. A gnat is a gnat, and a fly is a fly. So never expect a gnat to turn into a housefly or a fruit fly.  

How Fast do Gnats Reproduce?

Life Cycle of Gnats

Adults gnats live for at least 7 to 10 days. So the female breeds and lays upto 300 eggs which hatch within 4 to 6 days. Once the gnats hatch, the larvae feed on the food present in their environment. Then the larvae mature and enter the pupae stage, and finally, it turns into adult gnats within 12 to 14 days. So this means gnats reproduce quickly. 

Imagine how much gnats are produced when they breed if a single individual can create a swarm of gnats. 

How Long Do Gnats Live Without Food?

Adult gnats can live upto three or four days without food, but with nectar and other liquid carbohydrate sources, they can survive for weeks. In most cases, the gnats tend to shift to a different place when there is a lack of food and if the situation is feasible for reproduction. 


By now, you should have realized how fast gnats reproduce, which is why getting rid of them holds much importance. You can control their population by eliminating the breeding grounds of gnats. 

So try following the regular clean-up routine and inspect the places with high chances of gnats existence. Hopefully, this blog gave you all the necessary information regarding gnats’ lifecycle and how long they exist without food. 

Photo of author


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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