Difference Between Fleas and Gnats (With Table)

Insects have cut up bodies, exoskeletons, joint legs with their bodies being divided into three parts:

  1.  The head- It consists of the eyes, mouth, and antennae
  2. Three segmented thorax- It consists of usually three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings
  3. Abdomen- This consists of different organs such as digestive, reproductive, and excretory organs.

Fleas vs Gnats

The main difference between fleas and gnats is that Fleas are in the Siphonaptera order whereas Gnats are in the Nematocera suborder. Fleas are tiny parasites that do not have wings and cling onto hosts for survival. On the other hand, gnats are tiny insects that can fly.

There are numerous types of insects belonging to different breeds. Some have the ability to fly, some crawl whereas some jump.  Fleas and Gnats are two of such kinds. Usually, Gnats are seen around stinking drains, rotten or spoilt food, or other kinds of wastes. On the other hand, Fleas stick on to pets, like cats or dogs. They spread around the place. Gnats do not cause any harm to humans, whereas fleas may bite. 

The main reason of such insects in your house may be that they are looking for food or water. In the case of fungus gnats, they look out to eat fungi. On the other hand, fleas are parasites flung onto host sources such as cats or dogs.


Comparison Table Between Fleas and Gnats (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of Comparison




Fleas are tiny parasites that do not have wings and rely on hosts for survival.

Gnats are tiny insects that have wings and feed on plants, fungi, or blood.


These have plain eyes.

These have complex eyes.


Fleas are flat towards the side and have strong bodies.

Gnats have long legs and have fragile bodies. They have one pair of wings.


The size of fleas may vary from 1.5 mm to 3.5 mm.

The size of Gnats may vary from 1 mm to 15 mm.

Ability to move

These do not have wings, rather they have long legs which help them jump at long distances.

These have flying insects and have a pair of wings


They lay eggs on the host. The tiny eggs are white and oval in shape.

They lay their eggs on land or water.


What are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny, parasites that rely on their hosts for survival by sucking blood. Depending on the species, they feed on the warm-blooded animals.  They might also transmit diseases to their host.

They are dark in color ranging from brown to black. Fleas do not have wings; hence they use their long-tailored legs to jump from one place to another. Fun fact is they can jump a long distance of more than 50 times its body length.

If one has pets in his house, the fleas may reproduce very quickly. Even without pets, they may use the yards as their host and may increase in number very soon. 

The eggs laid by the fleas are tiny white eggs, oval in shape. The larvae are tiny worm-like and they mainly feed on the feces of the adult fleas.

Their bodies are flat and thin with hard shells. In order to kill them, one has to press them between his nails or any other rigid surface.


What are Gnats?

Gnats are tiny insects with wings in the Nematocera suborder. Some of the common species of the gnats are black gnats, sand flies, fungus gnats, drain flies, and fruit flies are some of its common species. 

They may feed on Blood, plants, insects, or fungi depending on their species.  They may also feed on crops and be plant pollinators. 

Their length may vary from 1 mm to 15 mm. They are small fragile insects with a pair of wings. They have six long legs and three body parts.

They lay eggs on land or water. The larvae laid by them may be movable or immovable. They may also be aquatic or terrestrial. 

Gnats have an important role in nature. They serve as a source of food for other insects and birds. They also help pollinate flowers. 

Main Differences Between Fleas and Gnats

  1. The size of fleas may differ from 1.5 mm to 3.5 mm, whereas the size of gnats may differ from 1 mm to 15 mm.
  2. Fleas are tiny parasites without wings in the Siphonaptera order. Gnats are tiny flying insects in the Nematocera suborder.
  3. Fleas have strong bodies covered with sclerites whereas gnats have fragile bodies.
  4. Fleas have plain eyes. Gnats have complex eyes.
  5. The eggs laid by fleas are tiny white eggs oval in shape. These are laid on the host they are surviving on. The eggs laid by gnats are laid on land or water.
  6. Fleas do not have wings. Instead, they have long legs which help them jump at long distances. Gnats have a pair of wings to fly.
  7. Fleas feed on the hosts and suck blood. Their larvae feed on the feces of adult fleas. The gnats feed on fungi, plants, or blood depending on the species. Their larvae feed on plants.



Fleas can be very annoying to their hosts. They cause itching sensations on them. They may also bite and it may cause swollen itching spots. In many host species, fleas may cause allergy dermatitis, which also includes cats and dogs. When the animals scratch continuously, it may cause hair loss in some parts of the body. 

Such parasites have to be killed by pressing them between the fingernails or some rigid surface. 

Gnats also bite and cause itchiness and irritation. Their bites may cause diseases to animals. 

Both Fleas and gnats can be very troublesome when they are found in your homes. They are not very easy to be gotten rid of. You might have to take the help of pesticides or professional help in order to get rid of them. 


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/426245b
  2. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/659873/summary