Tiny Black Flying Insects that Live on Plants

Los Angeles, CA

I found a fern in the trash one day. Somebody had cut off like 90% of the stems and was going to throw out the rest. My friend encouraged me to take it -- I took it home and the plant is doing well.

But ever since I brought it home, I noticed these tiny flying insects. They don't seem to eat leaves, but they make their home on my indoor plants. They just scurry around surfaces and also fly around my room pretty actively. I enjoy them, I just wanted to know what they are called and what their deal is.

I will attach some photos of an especially large one. There are much smaller ones on the plant (that appear like they haven't learned to fly yet), but those might be too small for me to photograph. The smaller ones are cuter.

Thumbnail by wherearetheinse Thumbnail by wherearetheinse
Minot, ND

The insect in your images is a dark-winged fungus gnat (family Sciaridae). The flies are harmless; their larvae (maggots) occasionally may damage roots and other very tender underground plant parts. They often are found in soil of potted plants that are very wet/water saturated. Allowing soil to dry out as much as practical between waterings is the best control method for them. I need to see images of the other insects before attempting an identification.

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