What Do Gnats Look Like؟ Full Guide

In a brief, Adult gnats are tiny flies that seen on the horizon prior to dawn and dusk and look like dust or clouds or rain, the size of full-grown adult gnats is 6.35 mm (1/4 inch), gnat body is long and slender with thin wings, some gnats have humpbacks, some gnats body have hairs and others have not, body colors include black or dark-brown in common, grey, yellow and green. No-See-Ums and Midges are other common names of gnats.

Now come to details, below is the first full guide for identification of biting gnats and non-biting gnats, how to know the difference and take your precautions.

Actual Size of a Gnat

Images of the real and actual size of gnats as showing how long is a gnat in the real world which make you wonder how much pain caused by such a very tiny bug like a gnat.

Actual view of real gnat size between two fingers
a gnat between two fingers showing the actual view of gnats
Real View compare the size of a moth gnat with a finger
Real View compare the size of a moth gnat with a finger
Drain gnat on the wall of bathroom showing its real size
Drain gnat on the wall of bathroom showing its real size
10x magnified tiny drain gnat on a human skin
10x magnified tiny drain gnat on a human skin
Real Size of Gnats lying on the wall with gnat dirt
Real Size of Gnats lying on the wall with gnat dirt
Dead Gnats Look Like this on Floors
Dead Gnats Look Like this on Floors
Squashed Gnats Look Like this below windows
Squashed Gnats Look Like this below windows
Trapped Dead Gnats On a Wall on Spider Net Threads
Two Dead Adult Gnat bugs below Window Nets LQ
Two Dead Adult Gnat bugs below Window Nets LQ
Dozens of gnats died beside a window
Dozens of gnats died beside a window
actual dead gnats stacked within spider net threads 3
actual dead gnats stacked within spider net threads 3
Real Size view of a lake fly on floor looks like a mosquito
Real Size view of a lake fly on floor looks like a mosquito

Close-up View of Gnats

Images to show Gnat’s mouth parts, eyes, wings, legs, and other body specs.

From the best illustrations that focus the gnat fly size I found this picture:

Giant sandfly near Lake Ianthe on the West Coast

Gnats Vs Mosquitoes Vs Housefly Vs A stink bug

Gnats Vs Mosquitoes vs a Housefly and a Stinkbug
Gnats Vs Mosquitoes vs a Housefly and a Stinkbug

The colors and Body shape differs slightly from species to another, in the later sections of this guide, a full explanation of the specs and details of each gnat type.

Gnats are generally classified into two categories, the biting gnats or biting midges, and the non-biting gnats

What Do Biting Gnats Look Like?

Those the gnats you must be aware of them and should avoid their areas.

The species of Gnats that Can Bite

Mainly there is two biological insect families that consists of that tiny biting gnats, Ceratopogonidae and Psychodidae.

However, people around the world hate the biting flies and name them many different names, the common colloquial name is Sandflies or Black flies,

they may be of horse flies from the family Tabanidae as in US, also Florida people call it punky or sand gnat or sandflea, or may be of genus Austrosimulium in australia and call it the blackfly, Also insects from subfamily Phlebotominae and Biting midges (Ceratopogonidae) are known as sandflies or no-see-ums.

In the Caribbean, there is locations notorious of sandfly invasions such as Belize and Honduras

Biting Gnats are vectors of many diseases such as sandfly fever, common treatment is bug sprays containing high concentration of DEET.


Also known as biting midges and sand flies, they’re found everywhere around the world, attracted to human blood to enrich their eggs and growth otherwise they feed on nectar and prey on other insects.

The main biological family is Ceratopogonidae, subfamilies examples are Culicoides, Leptoconops, Forcipomyia sp, Palpomyiini, and Atrichopogon sp.

Noseeum name is because you can’t see them, or hardly seen, noseeum size is 1–3 mm, color is black, short wings, and long legs.

Culicoides (highland midge)

Different views for the highland midge

Biting Gnats from Phlebotominae and Lutzomyia species

Both are from the same family “Psychodidae” and their bites can transmit many of sand fly-borne diseases. feed on blood from humans, cats, dogs, poultry, and horses, and some pigs. Sandflies from species of Phlebotominae and Lutzomyia are about 3 mm in length with hairy yellowish back; hairy body and short wings

Other Types of ceratopogonidae midges

Forcipomyia sp.
Atrichopogon sp.

West Coast Blackflies, Austrosimulium species

West coast blackflies penetrate boy skin
zoom in for Australian black fly
Close up black gnat

Horse flies, Biting Gnats of Tabanidae family

horse flies
close-up horse flies

Non-Biting Gnats Species

Fungus Gnats are insects from the super-family “Sciaroidea” which consists of more than 16 subfamilies that looks a bit different from one to another. Fungus gnats are pests of crops, household plants pots and pests of mushroom farms but don’t bite human or pets.

Fungus gnats are very tiny that you can hardly identify however, they may be seen in swarms like clouds, also they’re lazy flyers.

Most of fungus gnats are 1 to 7 mm long, slender dark colored body and wings, many females of fungus gnat types are wingless, typical long legs and antennae in most of them.

The below galleries show you how to identify each insect of the fungus gnat families.

List of most common Fungus Gnat species

Fungus Gnats of the Family Cecidomyiidae

Also called gall midges and wood midges, they look super thin fragile minutes flies, size 0.5–3.0 mm, many are less than 1 mm, have long hairy antenna and reduced wings, reduced mouth-parts, most are black in color.

Fungus Gnats of the Family Keroplatidae

They’re the predatory fungus gnats, very small dark gnats with bigger wings and long legs, the larvae are known as “glowworms” in Australia and New Zealand, They’re forest dwellers, live in the damp areas feed on fungi.

Fungus Gnats of the Family Lygistorrhinidae

The long-beaked fungus gnats

Mycetophilidae Fungus Gnats Family

The Commonly known as fungus gnats, actual size pictures show average wings, long legs and antenna on the thin dark brownish body.

Sciaridae Fungus Gnats Family

The most seen dark-winged fungus gnats

Close-up black fungus gnat Sciaridae
Male Sciaridae fungus gnat
magnified the fungus gnat, Sciaridae
Sciaridae fungus gnat real size
typical female of Sciaridae fungus gnat

The Lake Flies, chironomidae Gnats Family

Also know by other names such as chironomids or non-biting midges, lake flies resembles mosquitoes but they don’t have wing scales and elongated mouth-parts like mosquitos, so that people may call it the blind mosquitoes, lake flies superficially looks like sandflies but don’t bite humans. Identify from the images below,


Eye gnats

The gnats of the family Chloropidae, also have other names including frit flies or grass flies, eye gnat size is minute (1-4mm), eye gnats body looks shiny with many colors including gray, yellow, green, black, or having golden strips, they posses short and soft proboscis (sucking mouthpart) and shortened reduced wings.

Eye gnats are pests of cereals and grasses but don’t bite humans, although they can feed and attracted to fluid secretions from eyes and body fluids of humans and animals, that’s why people call it eye fly.

A lot of shapes for the eye gnat species in the below gallery

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Sarah Edmond

Granted a BSc in Agriculture & Animal Science. Passed 3 Pest Control and Pest Management Training Programs (yet). Over 5 years experience in the following industries: Pest control, Pharmaceuticals, Animal Health. Read many books and researches about veterinarian and environmental health. Participated in many round-table and workshops to discuss and find solutions to the public health issues including pest problems.

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