Yuck! What is that? Creepy, crawly critters found in rural Texas state park

Larvae of fungus gnats were found at Mother Neff State Park

These tiny creatures, known as the larvae of fungus gnats, were spotted at Mother Neff State Park in Moody, Texas last week.
These tiny creatures, known as the larvae of fungus gnats, were spotted at Mother Neff State Park in Moody, Texas last week. (Texas Parks and Wildlife)

MOODY, Texas – It’s creepy, it’s crawly, it has eyes... what is it?

These tiny creatures, known as the larvae of fungus gnats, were recently spotted at Mother Neff State Park in Moody, Texas. And, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, they’re bad news for area plants.

TPW officials said these larvae feed on fungi and decaying plant material, which can be damaging to young plants, as they consume their roots.

What IS this? Scroll down for answer or find it at Mother Neff State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife . . . These are the...

Posted by Texas Parks and Wildlife on Friday, June 11, 2021

These critters are small flies, but once they emerge out of their larvae stage, they can resemble mosquitoes, according to Texas A&M University.

Wildlife officials said these critters don’t pose a threat to humans, but there are a few steps you can take if you spot them near your home to protect your plants, according to Texas A&M University:

  • Remove plant debris, old potting media, and any diseased plants from growing areas. These may become the source of future problems.
  • Avoid using potting media containing organic matter that has not been completely composted. This could create ideal conditions for fungus gnat development and population buildup.
  • Keep growing areas well-drained and avoid overwatering; moist conditions are required for fungus gnat survival.
  • Eliminating algae from underneath benches or other surfaces may also help reduce populations.

You can learn more about fungus gnats here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.