Dark-winged gnats have infiltrated homes across the Bay, causing a social media uproar as they flutter about, dive into coffee mugs and die on floors and window sills.
These black mosquito-esque pests are not harmful, but have left residents very irritated.
The rain about three weeks ago, as well as sporadic downpours, has upped the moisture levels in the soil, attracting adult females to lay their eggs, Citrus Research International entomologist Dr Sean Moore said.
“With this good, albeit relatively brief moisture, there has probably been a very high level of egg laying and a high proportion of the eggs surviving to hatch. And each female probably lays about 200 eggs,” he said.
Moore said these particular gnats could be found everywhere in moist environments, including outdoor and indoor gardens.
“The adults do not feed. They only drink water and their sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs, after which they die and their life-span will usually be less than five days.”
Residents all around the city took to social media, sharing household mixtures and concoctions to kill the pests or just to air their concerns.
Carol Hartman, 56, of Rowallan Park, who noticed the pesky “muggies” about three months ago, followed her grandmother’s advice from years ago.
“They were all over the floor in every room in the house and after getting tired of sweeping them up, I remembered my grandmother’s concoction so I mixed eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle with water.
“I sprayed it all over, in the rooms, shower and I even mopped my floors once with the mixture and have not seen them since.”
Chantall Smith, 40, of Linton Grange, said her infestation started during winter but the bugs then disappeared.
“It is so frustrating because they were everywhere, even in my oven, and we could not leave food or juice unattended because they would find their way into it.
“I have been using Doom to get rid of them, but I don’t want to be spraying it all the time either.”
Smith said the bugs were mainly found on her lounge tiles when she returned home after work in the evenings.
“I even poured Jeyes Fluid down the drain outside, thinking I was the only one experiencing this problem until I saw on Facebook that other people had the same problem,” she said.
Moore said poisons would work but advised that getting to the source of the problem would be a better option.
“It is preferable to manage the source of the problem by removing all rotting debris and old plants from gardens or pot plants.
“Apply fungicides to kill the fungi on which the gnats are feeding and don’t overwater gardens and pot plants,” he said.
Moore added that adult gnats were attracted to the colour yellow and advised residents to hang cards covered in yellow satin material and laced with non-drying glue or something sticky like Vaseline to trap them.
Another resident in Lorraine, Megan Gerber, 47, said her pristine white kitchen tiles were covered in hundreds of black spots in the mornings.
“I was fed up with sweeping up masses of these muggies and within a half-hour they would be back. It seems as if they breed where there is a little moisture like the kitchen sink or the cupboard beneath the sink.
“I don’t even want to know how many I have maybe swallowed!”