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Difference between Fleas and Gnats

Difference between Fleas and Gnats

Many of us are familiar with pesky household pests–whether it be fleas living in our carpets, or gnats constantly buzzing around our heads. But do you really know the difference between these two insects? While they may both seem annoying and bothersome to humans, their behaviors, habitats, and diets can vary greatly from one another. This blog post will explain why there is a difference between Fleas and Gnats so that you can better identify which type of pest is invading your home.

What are Fleas?

  • Fleas are small wingless parasites that have mouths designed for piercing skin and sucking blood from the host. Flea saliva contains an anticoagulant, creating an itchy reaction in the host and ensuring that their meal continues to flow.
  • Fleas can be found on a variety of animals including cats, dogs, rodents, and even humans and they easily spread amongst them by jumping. Fleas also feed on a variety of other things such as fungi, pollen, molds, etc., making them incredibly resilient creatures.
  • Fleas can survive in extreme temperatures and reproduce rapidly allowing their populations to increase quickly. Flea control is important given how easily fleas can spread and result in uncomfortable itchiness for the host.

What are Gnats?

  • Gnats are small flies which belong to the same family as mosquitoes and Crane Flies. Gnats are found practically everywhere and vary in size between 1/8 inch and 1/16 inch.
  • Gnats can be green, black, gray or brown in color; Gnat larvae however are always white with blackheads. Gnats breed quickly in wet areas or when there is a lot of moisture present due to their short lifespans.
  • Gnats feed on sugary liquids such as nectar or rotting fruit, but they also sometimes act as scavengers, feeding on flowers with pollen from decaying organic matter. Though Gnats are mostly considered a nuisance, their presence helps to naturally break down materials found in an environment.

Difference between Fleas and Gnats

Fleas and gnats may seem similar, but there are distinct differences between them.

  • Fleas are small, wingless parasites that feed on the blood of mammals and birds, while gnats are tiny mosquitoes commonly found near water.
  • Fleas can jump from host to host to survive, while gnats rely on flight to move around. Fleas also cannot survive in cold temperatures or snow, whereas most types of gnats can live through harsh conditions.
  • In addition, fleas usually bite humans and other animals, while gnats generally just feed on plants and other insects.

Though they can be confused for one another due to their small size, Fleas and Gnats have unique characteristics that set them apart.


Although fleas and gnats might look similar, there are some key differences between the two that can help you tell them apart. For one, fleas tend to be much darker in color than gnats. Fleas also have longer legs, which they use to jump from host to host. Gnats, on the other hand, have shorter legs and often fly instead of jumping. Finally, fleas feed on blood while most species of gnats do not.. If you think you might have a flea or gnat infestation in your home, it’s important to identify the pest so you can develop a treatment plan accordingly.

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