It's not uncommon as a crested gecko owner to have to deal with fruit flies or fungus gnats at some point. They may be in your gecko tank or have already spilled out into the home. These can be very frustrating little flies. Continue reading on some useful tips on what they are and the best methods to get rid of them.
What Are Fruit Flies?
Small flies in your crested gecko enclosure or in your kitchen, could be fruit flies. Fruit flies can be problematic throughout the year and are very common in the warmer summer months where they are attracted by the fruit and vegetables that are fermenting in the heat.
An adult fruit fly is no more than one eighth of an inch in length and has red eyes. The front of the body is tan in color, while the back is black. These flies lay approximately five hundred eggs and it can take only one week to complete the egg to adult size life cycle. In addition to this, these flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting fruit or any moist organic material. The tiny larvae will continue to feed on the fermenting material when they emerge.
What Are Fungus Gnats?
Fungus gnats are often misidentified as fruit flies and are common in crested gecko enclosures, coming in with the food. The small and dark flies have a short life span and look mosquito like. Adults grow to approximately one eighth of an inch, but these flies have long legs and an antenna. You may be able to see a Y shape pattern on the fore wings. The fungus gnat has small larvae with a black head. They lay approximately two hundred eggs with a seven to ten day life cycle. These flies also live throughout the year.
Fungus gnats will not bite you or transmit disease to humans, but they can be very frustrating with the larvae causing serious damage to both the plants in your bioactive enclosure and house plants.
Are Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats Dangerous to Crested Geckos?
This is probably one of the biggest concerns for crested gecko owners when they first see the flies in the enclosure. The good news is that they are not harmful to your crested gecko, they are just very annoying and will take some work to get rid of. In fact, fruit flies are nutritious are often enjoyed by baby geckos.
How to Remove Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats
When it comes to getting rid of these pesky flies you want to find the best way to eradicate them without causing any damage to your crested gecko. Whether they are in the enclosure or they are in your home, there are a number of safe ways to get rid of them easily and effectively.
Remove Uneaten Food
Never leave uneaten food lying around your crested gecko’s enclosure or around the home. Remove rotting fruits from the home to eliminate the need for these flies to enter in the first place. Remember fruit flies are attracted to the fermenting food that you may not have noticed lying in the back of the enclosure.
Change the Substrate
If you are struggling with fungus gnats and fruit flies, you will want to change your substrate more often to eliminate them. Remember fungus gnats lay their eggs in the soil, so replacing the substrate can eliminate them before the next life cycle begins. Bear in mind that both flies’ life cycles are approximate one week.
Crested geckos love their humidity, but at the same time so do fruit flies and fungus gnats. Try and mist less while you try and get rid of these flies. Once you have eradicated them completely, you can start your misting cycle. Ensure when you misting less that you continue to monitor your humidity levels to ensure that your gecko remains comfortable and happy using a digital hygrometer.
Make a DIY Trap
Many crested gecko owners make their own DIY traps which are safe for the gecko and have proven effective. You can use apple cider vinegar, beer, or fruit juice. Add this to a small bowl with a drop of dish soap. Cover the top of the bowl with saran wrap, using an elastic band to ensure that your gecko doesn't climb on top and break get in. Using a toothpick, make some holes keeping them away from the edges of the bowl, this will stop them crawling out the holes once they have climbed in.
Keep the Soil Dry
While you are relying on the moisture in your substrate to help boost humidity levels in your crested gecko enclosure, letting the soil dry out slightly can reduce the risk of fungus gnats, that love laying their eggs in moist soil. The drier conditions deter the fly from laying its eggs.
Crested gecko safe fly traps, such as the KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap can be a great solution outside the enclosure to eradicate the pesky flies. This is a decorative and stylishly designed fly trap you can put in your home with confidence. You set it close to your crested gecko’s enclosure and turn off the lights to achieve the best results.
Eco Fly Spray
You can use an insect spray, but ensure it is an eco-safe spray, such as the Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray. The spray naturally kills and repels pests including fruit flies and fungus gnats from the home. It is made from natural and organic nontoxic ingredients which are safe for the family and your reptile pet. It is fast acting, safe, and comes with a money back guarantee.
Seeing fruit flies or fungus gnats in your crested gecko enclosure is not something to panic about, it's very common with these flies coming in on your reptile pet’s food. While they are not dangerous to your gecko, they are very irritating. Using some of the safe methods above should help you eradicate these pests quickly and effectively. In my experience, using a KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap is the most effective solution to get rid of the flies.