How Long Do Gnats Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 21 To 28 Days

Gnats are small flying insects generally found in groups called clouds, around the size of just a few grains of salt. They can be of two types, the biting ones, and the non-biting ones. According to some theories brought forward by numerous entomologists, only the non-biting ones are considered gnats. However, there is no such rule about it. Currently, both of them can be considered gnats.

These gnats are considered a threat to plants. Although non-biting gnats do not cause any damage to plants. But their larvae when present in large numbers can damage the plant roots and result in stunted growth. However, now there are many pesticides and chemicals used which keep the plants out of reach of gnats.

How Long Do Gnats Live?

Generally, the lifespan of a gnat ranges from 21 days to 28 days. However, the lifespan can be increased to as long as a month or even two.

All of this majorly depends on one factor, that is, the type of species of gnats. Many species of gnats exist in this ecology and based upon them, every type of species has a different lifespan. 

With so much variety in species of gnats, it can be said that though the general and average lifespan is 21 to 28 days, it can however change depending upon the species of gnats.

Majorly, there are 3 types of gnats. They are fungus gnats, eye gnats, and fruit flies.

The most common are fungus gnats, or popularly known as house flies. They are easily found in localities, near food and normally in houses also. The lifespan of these types of gnats is 21 to 28 days.

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Eye gnats are another commonly found species of gnats. The reason they are called eye gnats is that they hover around eyes and wounds and tend to irritate them. Their lifespan ranges from 25 to 30 days.

Lastly, fruit flies or commonly called vinegar flies are generally found near food, rotten fruits, and other such things, thus, called fruit flies. They have a lifespan of 40 to 50 days.

Type of gnatsTime
Fungus Gnats21 to 28 days
Eye Gnats25 to 30 days
Fruit Flies40 to 50 days

Why Do Gnats Live That Long? 

There are many species of gnats. Thus, with every change in the type of species of gnats, the life cycle changes, and consequently the lifespan changes as well. 

The reason behind that is because every species has its lifecycle with different and particular events. In some species, the stages of metamorphosis might be two, whereas, on the other hand, the stages of metamorphosis can be four. Not just that, with every change in species, many factors change like habitat, external factors of survival, type of food they eat, and all other such things.

The metamorphosis in a gnat’s life includes 4 stages. The first stage is the egg stage. That is the stage when a gnat is in an egg. This stage takes from 4 to 5 days. Once the gnat comes out of the egg, the second stage starts at the larvae stage. In this phase, the gnat is in larvae form, the preceding form of an adult gnat. The gnat lives in the larvae stage for up to a week.

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Moving to the third stage, that is, pupae, it stays for up to another week until the gnat reaches the final stage, adult. The adult stage is the time when gnat becomes active to reproduce and form eggs. At one time, a gnat can lay anywhere from 300 to 500 eggs. After this stage, the life cycle of a gnat is completed.

All these stages altogether take 3 to 4 weeks, thus this is the time of how long a gnat lives.

Conclusion

Gnats are usually attracted to liquid. They are found in large numbers around places where water is collected like pools, canals, water tanks, and other such places. To prevent gnats, it is recommended to keep places devoid of standing water so that gnats don’t accumulate there.

Gnats live for 21 to 28 days on average. It is so because of all the stages of metamorphosis in a gnat’s life, all of its life events take around 3 to 4 weeks to get completed. From larvae phase to adult stage to reproducing to giving eggs. All these events make up one life cycle of a gnat which takes up 3 to 4 weeks.

References

  1. https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.1537-2197.1980.tb07685.x
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