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1197 Views 5 Replies Last post: Jan 11, 2012 6:23 PM by jaguarondi RSS
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Jan 11, 2012 1:05 PM

Fleas or True Bugs?

Can I start off by saying what a marvellous website you've created - I've learned so much from your pages and discussion forums.

 

I've been inundated with tiny flies/fleas in recent weeks (photo attached).  I've ignored them up to now in the hope that they'll go away but they seem to be determined to cling on in the bathroom, kitchen and even in my bedroom!  Occasionally, when I'm typing away on my laptop, one floats across my screen as if it has just popped out from between the keys or from the fan vent.

 

Mostly I find them on and around windows and window sills where I have a number of houseplants. Although I do not have any pets of my own there are plenty of cats around the shared grounds and garden -  plus a dog and a few pet rabbits in a nearby pen.  I usually have my windows open most of the day.  These little flies/fleas are getting on my nerves now - you could say they are starting to bug me.

 

In reading your website and others - e.g. "Amateur Etymologist's Society" , Wikipedia, etc - I've made some attempts at identification but without any real conviction.  For what it's worth I think they may be Cheese Flies - Piophila Casei - even though I have never found them anywhere near my cheese - not yet!

 

I've started to develop a neurosis over accidental miasis now - so any assurances you can offer would be most welcome.

 

They are no more than 2 to 3mm long but as you can see from the photos, there are plenty of them. The background to IMG_0084JPG is a post-it note pad if that helps to give you some idea of scale.

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    Jan 11, 2012 1:57 PM (in response to Patrick)
    Re: Fleas or True Bugs?
    I suspect they're fungus gnats that, when they were larvae, fed on or around the roots of your houseplants. They can feed on rotting parts of roots, or on organic matter in the soil, and can be a pest if the roots are in a delicate state.
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      Jan 11, 2012 2:49 PM (in response to jaguarondi)
      Re: Fleas or True Bugs?

      I agree, with that wing venation they look like Sciarids (black fungus gnats) to me - fortunately they are nothing to worry about!  They might be breeding in veg peelings if you have one of those little indoor compost bins, so give it a clean if you have one.  Also they like particularly over-watered plant pots.

       

      Hannah

      NHM ID Team

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    Jan 11, 2012 4:07 PM (in response to Patrick)
    Re: Fleas or True Bugs?
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        Jan 11, 2012 6:23 PM (in response to Patrick)
        Re: Fleas or True Bugs?
        Hi Patrick, Like you I once made some compost with a bit of organic matter (in my case elephant poo, which you can buy from some garden centres) and used it for repotting my cacti - which were definitely not over watered. After that, I was plagued with fungus gnats until I repotted, for the second time, all the ones that were potted up with the elephant poo. I'd no evidence that the gnats damaged my cacti but, according to my cactus books, they can do.
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