Fungus Feeders Flying Around The Philodendron

Dec 12, 2014

Dark winged fungus gnat (Sciaridae). (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Ian Jacobs

"It was fall, and my favorite heirloom house plant had outgrown its container, so I replanted it in a larger pot. To do this, I used some potting soil that had been sitting in sacks in the backyard. Soon after, the house was teeming with little flies. I knew they came from the potted plant, but I had no idea what they were. It turns out they were dark-winged fungus gnats, which feed off fungus in potting soil. These persistent little insects have followed me from one rental house to another over the past two years. This larvae that can damage house plants and multiply to annoying numbers also has a fascinating natural history."

(Broadcast: "Fieldnotes," 12/14/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Sundays at 12:55 p.m., or via podcast.)