Mushroom Fly: Identification, Symptoms of Damage, Control and Management

Mushroom Fly (Sciarid Fly Larvae)

Mushroom Fly

General Introduction

Mushroom Fly or ‘मशरूम की मक्खी in Hindi’ is a species of harmful fly. These are known as gnat. They feed on fungus, animal feces and agri-wastes. It is a also an important pest of paddy straw and oyster mushroom production unit.

Common NameMushroom Fly
Hindi Nameमशरूम की मक्खी
English NameMushroom fly
Scientific NameSciara spp.
Other NameCiarid fly
Class Insecta
Completes Life CycleAt least a month
Generation(s)Many generations in a single year
DistributionAll around the world where mushroom is grown.


2. Habitat
4. Life Cycle
5.Cause of Attack (Appearance)
6.Mode of Action And Damage And Damage Symptoms
8.Points to Remember
9.Frequently Asked Questions
10.Explanation of Post Related Words/Sentences

1. Identification

The tinny black spot inside blue circle is sciarid fly. The surface is white paper and the yellow materials around the white paper are deteriorated mushroom body.

1.1 Colour

Colour of the Larvae

Colour of the larvae is white to pale white. Mouth part is black.

Colour of the Adults

Colour of the adult insects is black. Wing is dark.

1.2 Physiology

The size of the insect is very small. It is very difficult to spot the pest. They have slender body. They have long legs just like mosquito. They also have a pair of antennae.

2. Habitat

The insect resides on:

  • Wild species of different fungi.
  • Plant residues.
  • They prefer moist environment.
  • Moist flower pots.

The scent of mushroom attracts the adult insects. After receiving scent, these insects come inside mushroom chamber to attack the crop.

Also Read: How to make mushroom spawn at home

3. Distribution

  • Transportation of agri materials such as agri wastes.
  • Wind.
  • Human.

4. Life Cycle

The life cycle of the pest has four stages

  • Egg.
  • Larvae.
  • Pupa.
  • Adult.

4.1 Egg

The adult female lays eggs in moist soil. 

4.2 Larvae

Hatching occurs in about a week. Now larvae feed on fungus and other agri-wastes.

4.3 Pupa

It is hibernation stage.

4.4 Adult

After completing hibernation, the adults mate and produce eggs. They die within a week.

5. Cause Of Attack (Appearance)

Cause of attack are as follows:

  • Mushroom production at the same place.
  • Lack of cleaning.
  • Humidity.
  • Harvesting

5.1 Mushroom Production at Same Place

Continue production at same place i.e., mushroom chamber, invites this pest. Here continue production means starting another batch of mushroom just after harvesting previous crop. This practice favor the insect completing its life cycle.

Remedy: Discontinuing the cultivation practice based on situations checks the insect continuing its life cycle.

5.2 Lack of Cleaning

This is a part of poor management practice. Due to poor management or cleaning practice, the whole conditions create ideal condition for the pest. The insect prefers this place to continue the life cycle.

Remedy: Regular cleaning.

5.3 Humidity

A requiered level of humidity is needed for the cultivation and production of mushroom in protected condition. Different species of mushroom require different level or humidity. For many species of cultivated mushroom, more than the 70% humidity in mushroom production chamber is an ideal condition.

5.4 Harvesting

Mushroom has different stages of harvesting. The harvesting stage of mushroom are:

  • Developed pin head stage.
  • Open pinhead stage.
  • Later stage.

If not harvested at right stage or time the pest attacks on crop and lays eggs at the later stage of mushroom.

6. Mode of Action And Damage And Damage Symptoms

The larvae emerge from eggs. After hatching the larvae feed on mushroom stem (stalk) and make holes to cause damage.

  • Pinhead becomes brownish.
  • Mushroom button becomes brownish.
  • Later on it becomes shrank.
  • Adult insects also cause many diseases.
  • Feeding damage is severe on developing mycelium or mushroom body.
  • Leathery appearance is an another symptom.

7. Management

Both the cultural and mechanical as well as chemical management practice can be adopted.

7.1 Cultural and Mechanical Management Practices

  • Cleaning: Proper and regular cleaning is necessary. The unknown person shouldn’t be allowed to inter inside mushroom chamber. Practice of regular cleaning should be maintained. Affected beds should be removed.
  • Harvesting: Harvesting should be done at the right time.
  • Using bulb: Zero valt bulb should be installed inside mushroom chamber. Now place the sticky traps beneath the bulb to trap the pest.
  • Using Mesh: These insects are attracted by the scent of mushroom, so use nylon mesh to check the entry of the pest. The mesh should be fixed to cover door and windows.
  • Using Biocide: Use biocide to control the pest. Baygon, a biocide can be used with water (1:10 ratio) with the little amount of sugar.

7.2 Chemical Methods

  • Dichlorvos: Use dichlorvos as smoke. The action should be taken before rainy season. It would kill all stages of this harmful insect. During second application, 0.01% dichlorvos (76% E.C.), should be applied, if infestation occurs again. Complete spray is performed to smoke all the things inside mushroom chamber.
  • Fenvalerate: During production, 0.05% of fenvalerate should be applied to clean the wall and floors.
  • Cipermethrine: Same as fenvalerate.

7.4 Biological Control

A nematode, known as Steinernema feltiae, is used as biological control agent. (Ref. 01).

8. Points to Remember

  • Sciarid flies are common pests of mushroom houses.
  • It harms plants by feeding on root system.
  • Market value of affected crop is reduced.

9. Frequently Asked Questions

Questions 01. What should be the size of nylon mesh?

Answer: The size of nylon mesh should be at least 14 mesh/cm.

Question 02. How many eggs a female lays?

Answer: About 200. (Ref 02).

Question 03. What is the size of egg?

Answer: It about 1 mm. (Ref. 03).

10. Explanation of Post Related Words/Sentences


gnats are the species very small flying insects. They belong to sciaridae, mycetophilidae and anisopodidae.


Agri-wastes are agriculture waste materials such as plant residues.

Developed Pinhead Stage

Developed pinhead stage of mushroom is that stage which is harvested for market.

Opened Pinhead Stage

Opened Pinhead Stage is that stage which is har beste to sell in local market.

11. Image Gallery

11.1 Infected Spawn

Infected Spawn

11.2 Larvae

Larvae inside spawn bottle and on cotton

11.3 Infection Inside Petridish

Go to See Images of Paddy Straw Mushroom

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Ref. 01, 02 and 03.


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