Gnats are small flies that can be a nuisance in homes or outdoor gardens. Like other insects, they have six legs and three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen). Gnats can be identified by their long wings that often appear translucent or smoky in color and distinctive wing venation. They also have a pair of antennae that exceed the length of their head.
Fungus gnats are one of the most common gnat species found in the home and garden. These dark flying insects have a mosquito-like body type, and their clear or black wings are long and have a distinct Y-shaped pattern in the center. They can grow to be about 1/8th of an inch in size and are quite fast fliers, which makes them hard to catch.
Moth flies, another common gnat species, are named for their resemblance to the wings of moths. They are a bit smaller than other gnats, but they can still be up to 1/8 of an inch in length. Moth flies also have long antennae that exceed the length of their heads.
The life cycle of gnats can vary depending on the species and environment in which they are found. Female gnats lay their eggs in various environments, including soil, water and other organic materials. The larvae of some gnats feed on fungi, but others are aquatic and feed on decomposing vegetation in running rivers and streams. They then develop into pupae and mature into adult gnats.