Buffalo Gnat Repellent – The Shopping Guide

If you need help choosing your buffalo gnat repellent, this guide will tell you everything you need to know. Buffalo gnats, otherwise called black flies or turkey gnats, are aquatic insects that are a nuisance to have in your house.

How to Locate Black Fly Larvae

If you’re looking for black fly larvae, the best place to start is by identifying their basic characteristics. Buffalo gnats are small, black flies with humpbacked appearance and that measure between 1/8 and 1/4 inch in length.

They have a stout body and long legs, and their wings are dark-colored with small white spots. Buffalo gnats are most active in early summer when they’d bite birds and swarm mammals. They would typically lay their eggs near streams, lakes, and marshes.

They’d fly about in search of food, but they are commonly encountered close to fresh water bodies.

what repels buffalo gnats

Attracted to Carbon Dioxide and Clean Water

Carbon dioxide exhaled by people and domestic animals, as well as sweat and dark moving objects, attract buffalo gnats. Black flies typically prefer clean flowing water.

Females lay hundreds of triangular eggs in or near the water. They lay eggs on submerged items such as pebbles. Larva attaches to rocks and other objects.

Most species of these gnats would overwinter as eggs, but eventually they would hatch. Typically, the worm-like larvae hatching from the deposited eggs are less than half an inch long and they produce sticky silk to help attached themselves to underwater objects.

Once it’s attached, the larva faces upstream, and then uses its mouthparts to help eat bacteria. Once you know where these insects deposit eggs, finding the larvae is relatively easy.

Where Do Black or Dark Flies Hide?

If you’re still having trouble finding them, try checking under rocks or logs, they tend to crawl beneath an underwater rock. Black flies also often hide in these dark, moist places.

An adult black fly emerges from its pupal cocoon and crawls up an item or floats to the water’s surface in a bubble of air.

With a little patience, you should be able to find buffalo gnat larvae in no time. Once you’ve located them, you can take steps to control their population in your area. Some species bite people in local infested areas.

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Do Black Flies Bite or Cause Allergic Reactions?

Male black flies feed of nectar, but female buffalo gnats tend to bite humans, thus they can be a nuisance. Females feed on blood to help them produce eggs.

Black flies, like deer flies, bite by cutting into the skin with their mouthparts like scissors and sucking off the blood. This causes painful bites with bleeding, stinging, inflammation, and swelling, as well as potentially fatal allergic reactions.

What Do Black Flies Feed On?

Buffalo gnats feed on the blood of buffalo, and they can often be seen resting on the buffalo’s back. While buffalo gnats are not known to carry any diseases, they can be a nuisance to buffalo and other animals.

Buffalo gnats are not considered to be a serious threat to buffalo or other animals including exotic birds, but they can be a annoyance. However, large swarms of these flies can actually kill poultry though.

buffalo gnats

Can You Use Mosquito Repellent for Black Flies?

Most larvicide treatments intended for use against mosquito larvae do not enable application for control of black fly larvae, according to the label directions.

Fogging, like those used for mosquito control and which could deter mosquitoes, offers only temporary relief against black flies.

Black Fly Control: Kill Insect Larvae

If you don’t want to get DEET containing repellents or permethrin containing repellents labeled for any reason, you can use natural repellents for preventing bites . You can apply liquid residual pesticides and even these natural repellents on surfaces where flies land.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Horbaach Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil | 2 oz | for Massage, Bath, Diffuser, DIY Projects & More | from Lemon Eucalyptus Plant
  • ESSENTIAL OIL: Satisfy your senses with the sweet and revitalizing smell of Lemon Eucalyptus!
  • THERAPEUTIC GRADE: Enjoy in a massage, bath, diffuser or your favorite homemade DIY projects
  • ADVANCED TESTING: Our natural formula is GC/MS tested to ensure purity, potency and quality

The lemon eucalyptus oil is an excellent deterrent for black flies because of its strong scent. Target the areas that the flies will likely visit, such as the insides of your wrists, your ankles, behind your ears, and your knees. It works indoors, too.

If you don’t want to spray on your body, you can make a homemade remedy of lemon eucalyptus. Just grab a spray bottle and fill it with some water. Then, add around 15–20 drops of the essential oil, and spray around the furniture.

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Citronella Oil

Citronella Essential Oil (4 oz) 100% Pure and Natural, Therapeutic Grade Perfect for Aromatherapy, Diffuser, DIY and More by Mary Tylor Naturals
  • CITRONELLA ESSENTIAL OIL: 100% Pure and Natural, Steam distilled from Naturally grown Citronella plants.
  • LARGE 4 OZ BOTTLE: Amber Glass Bottle Comes with a High Quality Glass Dropper for Convenient Use.
  • PURE CITRONELLA ESSENTIL OIL: Free of any Additives and other Chemicals.

Citronella oil is pretty common for repelling mosquitoes, but it shows great results in deterring buffalo gnats too. You can make a spray of it, putting around 20 drops on some water. Then, spray it around the affected areas. You can spray it on your body, too, if you’re staying outdoors.

Alternatively, you can get a citronella scented candle and put it near the fly infestation.

Prevent Bites Outdoors When Black Fly Attacks

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The simplest way to repelling black flies and avoiding bites at these times is to stay away from the affected areas.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts, choose light colored clothing, long pants, and construction type hard hats with netting on it are all good ideas to keep flies off your head and neck while you’re out there.

Wear construction-style helmets covered with oil or petroleum jelly to incapacitate flies that fall on the hat. Large fans can be utilized to help prevent flies in patio settings and enclosed structures where livestock is kept.

You can also screen of an area with a very fine mesh to prevent flies from penetrating most window screens.

If you don’t mind smelling like a freshly made cake, soak a towel in vanilla extract and apply it on your wrists, neck, and head. The upside to this is that vanilla extract is incredibly cheap.

how to repel buffalo gnats

How to Choose Buffalo Gnats Repellent

To choose a buffalo gnats repellent, you have first to know the dangers of commercial repellents. Most chemical sprays on the market contain DEET. Despite that, they’re pretty common, and a lot of people recommend them.

The truth is, DEET’s efficiency against buffalo gnats isn’t guaranteed. On top of that, it’s highly toxic, and it significantly harms the environment. It can also pose a health hazard for pets, fish, and kids.

If it touches the food, you have to throw it out immediately.

What we’re trying to say is, sprays containing DEET have more disadvantages than benefits. They’re not recommended. Instead, go for one of the natural remedies listed above. Or even better, you can get an electric zapper or swatter. At least it’ll be safe to use around the house.

Trappify Window Fly Traps: House Window Fruit Fly Traps for Indoors, Gnat, & Other Flying Insect, Disposable Indoor Fly Trap with Extra Sticky Adhesive Strips - Inside Home Housefly & Bug Catchers (8)
1,428 Reviews
Trappify Window Fly Traps: House Window Fruit Fly Traps for Indoors, Gnat, & Other Flying Insect, Disposable Indoor Fly Trap with Extra Sticky Adhesive Strips - Inside Home Housefly & Bug Catchers (8)
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Gnat Repellent – The Verdict

Buffalo gnats are annoying, but getting rid of them is pretty easy when you have the right equipment. As long as you have your swatter, zapper, or apple cider vinegar, you’ll hopefully get rid of the ugly black flies or even other pesky animals as soon as possible.

CLICK HERE to shop our complete selection of organic, non-toxic pest control options!

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