Winter Gnats are called ‘true flies’ because they have two wings and are very common in England. They are often confused with Common Mosquitoes because like mosquitoes they form large swarms. They are also drawn to light on mild winter nights, just like mosquitoes.
Winter Gnats are usually about six to eight millimetres in length with long transparent wings and six long thin legs. They prefer to live in woodlands, but they will move to more open spaces near mountains in the summer. Winter Gnats are abundant throughout the year, but more so in late autumn and winter. In winter male Winter Gnats gather in large swarms and dance up and down to attract females and this is why it has its name the ‘Winter Gnat’.
Female Winter Gnats lay their eggs in decaying wood or on fungi such as woodland mushrooms or toadstools and not in water like mosquitoes do. The young larvae live in and on decaying matter and fungi and fully emerge around spring time before it gets too warm and dry.