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Sciarid Flies

Also known as Dark-Winged Fungus Gnats


Sciarid Flies are insects that measure about 1/16 inch in length and are black or dark brown in color. Sciarid Flies will swarm around your African Violet when disturbed. They thrive under moist conditions and feed on fungi and decaying matter. While they can be a nuisance, Sciarid Flies seldom do any damage to African Violets.

Distinguishing Symptoms

Sciarid Flies measure about 1/16 inch in length and are black or dark brown in color. Their appearance and behavior is similar to that of Blackflies, Fungus Gnats and Mushroom Flies. If you have narrowed down your diagnosis to any of these insects, do not concern yourself with making a definitive identification. The treatment is the same for all four insects. (See below.)


To treat for Sciarid Flies, use a household insect spray containing Acephate. Start by gently tapping the leaves of your Violet. As the flies swarm up, you can direct the spray away from your Violet. Next, gently spray a light mist over your Violets and into the soil in order to get any flies that remain. This will also get the young larvae. Apply as directed on the label and be careful not to spray too much. Too much Acephate may cause damage to the leaves. (Note: Many household insect sprays, which contain Acephate, also contain a specific additive that may damage the foliage of African Violets. Therefore, if available, use a soluble powder, and mix your own spray.)

As an alternative to traditional chemical treatments, you want want to try trapping the insects. This can be done by taking a narrow strip of wood, painting it with a bright color and coating it with something sticky. Your wood should be about 12 to 18 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. Paint it orange or deep yellow, then apply a generous coating of honey or molasses. According to those who use this method, the bright color attracts the insects. Once they land on the strip, the honey or molasses holds them there. To be effective, the strip must be placed among your Violets so that it is in close proximity to wherever the insects are flying.


Keep the soil around your African Violet clean of flower and leaf debris. This is where Sciarid Flies typically find shelter.

Important Note on the Use of Pesticides

Please note that almost all pesticides are formulated for specific uses and conditions. When applied incorrectly, pesticides can cause ill health or damage to plants. Therefore, when using any kind of pesticide or chemical treatment, always apply as indicated on the product label.

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