Are Gnats Dangerous? The Scientific Perspective

Despite being disgusting and annoying, are gnats dangerous? Can they actually make you sick? Keep on reading to learn more about these creatures.

Adult gnats don’t just appear out of nowhere, but it seems like they do because a single female can lay up to 300 eggs per day. Knowing that the average lifespan of a gnat is about 4 months, you can imagine the number of gnats you can end up with if a few individuals sneak into your house.

Gnats are sometimes mistaken for fruit flies, but these tiny flying insects usually live in trash cans, feeding off the rotten and decayed matter. They can also be found in your potted plants feeding off rotten fruits and sneak through any crack or hole in your foundation, walls, doors, or windows.

adult gnats

Are Fungus Gnats Harmful to People?

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Do gnats bite humans? Gnats, with their long legs, can be easily mistaken for mosquitos, although they’re smaller.

Unfortunately, some types of gnats can actually bite humans. It’s not common, but it’s possible. Most gnat bites usually cause itchy red bumps on the skin, but in some cases, they can lead to a severe allergic reaction, which can’t be resolved easily by anti itch creams.

Although these weak fliers feed the nectar of rotten fruits and different types of decayed matter, some females need blood to lay eggs.

fungus gnats


Can It Cause a Breakout?

Some species have scissor-like mouths that penetrate the skin and insert saliva to inject the blood with a substance called anticoagulants.

If you’re allergic to this substance, you might develop a severe allergies when a gnat bites you. However, in most cases, you can safely treat a bite at home, and apply an insect repellent to prevent further infestation.

Can They Carry Disease?

Perhaps. There’s another danger associated with these insects that might make you sick. This includes dead animal carcasses and poop. They also thrive around drains, feeding off the slimy decomposed matter that might accumulate due to bad plumbing.

When these nuisance pests touch your skin or attempt to bite you, they will transfer an unlimited number of harmful microorganisms that can affect your health.

 What Does a Gnat Bite Feel Like?

Gnat bites look very much like mosquito bites, and the allergies is caused by the gnat’s saliva and the substance it injects into the blood. The bite causes red, itchy, and swollen bumps. The bumps are usually very painful to touch.

In some cases, you might notice minor bleeding where the gnat has bitten the skin. This is usually common among children and people who have sensitive skin.

Are Gnat Bites Dangerous to Animals?


gnat bites

When it comes to animals, fungus gnats present a serious threat because they can actually kill your livestock and poultry. You might need an effective pest control or insect repellant to rid of gnats.

Unlike other insects, most gnats can congregate around the eyes, ears, and noses of poultry, making them extremely stressed, so they don’t eat. Gnats also block their vision and make them extremely disoriented, so they can get aggressive or run around, even knocking each other down.

Dangerous to Large Animals Too!

Even if you have large cattle, you need to pay attention to gnats. They can block the airways of animals, eventually causing an anaphylactic shock. Moreover, the gnats can cause incisions that eventually kill the animal.

What About Poultry?

Cows are specifically annoyed by gnats, and this prevents them from eating. They also affect the production of milk and can make the animals aggressive and uncomfortable. There’s still no proof that gnats can transfer disease to humans, but they can transfer leucocytozoonosis, a dangerous parasite to poultry.

gnats bite humans

Are Gnats Dangerous to Plants?

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Adult fungus gnats don’t bite people, but their larvae can damage the roots and affect plant growth. These creatures can specifically harm houseplants and young outdoor plants because they affect the root system and eventually cause plant death. The damaging effect is less serious in outdoor established plants because they have stronger root systems.

 Pest Control: How Can You Treat a Gnat Bite?

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If you have a minor reaction to a bite, you can safely treat it at home. However, if the affected area becomes more swollen or turns into a fluid-filled blister, you need to go to the doctor.

Use Soap and Water to Wash the Area

This is enough to clean the skin off any residual saliva that might cause a reaction. It also helps soothe any irritation. You should avoid rubbing the area because this can make the bump itchier.

Apply Cold Compress to the Skin

This will help alleviate the swelling. You should never apply ice directly to the skin because it can cause burns. Soak a towel in icy cold water or wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the skin for about 10 minutes.

Use an Over-the-Counter Hydrocortisone Cream

This will help reduce the inflammation signs. There are several brands on the market, and applying a thin layer twice a day will make the bite feel less painful. Always read the directions and don’t expose the area to the sun.

Apply Calamine Solution

This will help soothe the skin. It’s comforting and can relieve the pain in case of minor skin irritations.

Use Antihistamine

You can use antihistamines if the bite feels too itchy or painful. Most of the brands are available without a prescription, and taking medicine will help you feel better. You shouldn’t drive or use heavy machinery after taking these medications because they can make you feel drowsy and sleepy.

Keep the Area Elevated

If you get bitten in the arms or the legs, keep the area elevated by resting it on a pillow or a cushion. This will help drive the blood away from the infected area, so it will reduce the swelling and itchiness. Perhaps, you can wear long sleeved shirts to protect the area.

tiny flying insects

When Should You See a Doctor?

Most gnats aren’t dangerous, but if you’re suffering from some severe symptoms, you need to see the doctor. Visit the doctor or go to the nearest hospital in the following cases.

  • A gnat bit you around the mouth, and your lips are swollen.
  • You got bitten near the eyes, and your eyelids are swollen.
  • You’re facing difficulty breathing or seeing clearly.
  • The bite still looks red and bumpy after 2 weeks.
  • The bite has turned into a blister.
  • You see pus collecting where you got bitten.
  • You’re facing difficulty swallowing.
  • You feel nauseated.

 Might Be Fruit Flies, Black Flies, or Other Bugs!

In any of the previous cases, your body might be dealing with a severe allergic reaction caused by the gnat bites. You might also be feeling sick because of another microorganism that the gnat has infected you with.

Remember that gnats feed off decomposed matter and contaminate food, which is full of harmful bacteria, fungi, and germs. This is why pest control is a must if your suffering from fruit flies or gnat problem.

Wrap Up

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Gnats are a nuisance and can be dangerous if you don’t deal with them. Some types of gnats can bite humans, and gnat bites can cause severe allergic reactions.

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