Do gnats bite or not? Here we will answer the question, do gnats bite.
- 1 What Are Gnats?
- 2 What Do Gnat Bites Look Like?
- 3 What Are Biting Gnats Attracted To?
- 4 What Do Gnats Feed On?
- 5 Do Gnats Bite? If so, How Deadly is a Gnat Bite?
- 6 Do Gnats Bite? What Kind Of Diseases Do Gnats Spread?
- 7 How to Treat Gnat Bites
- 8 How to Prevent Gnat Bites and Get Rid of These Pests
What Are Gnats?
If you think, gnats are a particular insect type then, you’ll be surprised to know that the term “gnats” refers to a different species of insects. You can say it is a generalized name for multiple species of insects.
So, basically, gnats are flying insects that can occur here and there. There are biting as well as non-biting insects. The most common types of gnats are drain flies, midges, punkies, sand gnats, fruit flies, etc.
The most common bite offenders are buffalo gnats, deer flies, and biting midges, also known as sand flies or no see ums.
Female biting gnats require blood to develop their eggs, so they will drink from anyone or anything nearby. On the other hand, males primarily feed on plants.
Gnats, unlike mosquitoes, rarely bite through clothing. They can, however, crawl into hair or under clothing to reach vulnerable areas like ankles and belt lines. Like mosquito bites, gnat bites can sting and itch.
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Biting Midge or Sand Gnats
People complain a lot about the bug bites that a biting midge can cause. While anti-itch creams can be effective against skin irritation, they may not be of huge help against severe allergic reactions to a biting gnat or other insects.
Biting midges are also known as sand flies. Only the female ones possess the biting mouthparts so that they could suck blood. These tiny flies are weak fliers so gnat bites are less likely when it’s windy.
You would identify these pests from their gray bodies that could turn red once they’ve fed. The insect bites may not be deadly, but their bite can be incredibly itchy.
Black Flies or Buffalo Gnats
Black flies, also known as black gnats or buffalo gnats, are known to travel great distances for a blood meal.
Itching, burning skin lesions, fever, and the presence of various blood spots where adult female gnats feed are all common symptoms of black fly bites. People and livestock are all common black fly hosts.
The signs and symptoms of gnat bites could last for several days.
Female gnats prefer to feed in the early morning. However, you need not worry about the male species, these pests prefer to feed on plant nectar and fruit juices.
What Do Gnat Bites Look Like?
Gnats are tiny bugs – about 1/12 or minimum of an inch. They have two wings and are black and dark grey. These poor flies can’t travel much distance due to their weakness and hence, revolve around the specific areas.
What Are Biting Gnats Attracted To?
Gnats are mostly attracted to smells as they have powerful odor receptors on their antennae and they also have strong visual senses using which they can detect their food sources and fly in the direction of the smell.
Read more about fruit flies here.
These are the most common gnat species which are found in local areas near homes or buildings etc.
- Fruit Flies –
- Drain Flies –
- Fungus Gnats –
- Phorid Flies –
What Do Gnats Feed On?
Different species of gnats feed on different kinds of food sources. Many species feed on plants, fungi, and other insects. However, the biting species of gnats like no-see-ums and midges feed on blood.
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Do Gnats Bite? If so, How Deadly is a Gnat Bite?
Do gnats bite humans? The one-line answer is, yes, but not all the species of gnats bite. Some species do bite, especially the female gnats.
Gnats don’t bite like other insects like a mosquito or bed bug. Gnats usually open up your skin using their sharp cutters and then inject an anti-clotting substance into your skin so that they can devour as much blood as they can before the wound closes.
Due to this reason, gnat bites are actually more painful than a mosquito bite.
[Read More : Do Gnat Bites, Symptoms and Treatment ]
When a gnat bites, you will feel a burning sensation. Depending upon the severity of the bite, you can either have a small reddish spot or a bigger spot followed by a lot of itching, burning sensation, and allergic reactions.
Some people can even experience a severe allergic reaction to a gnat bite.
The people who are more prone to gnat attacks are the farmers and the individuals who perform livestock farming.
If you live around such areas where you can spot these pests flying, keep an insect repellent spray handy to protect yourself and your animals.
- DEET mosquito repellent formulated with 25% DEET
- Repels mosquitoes that may carry the Zika, Dengue, or West Nile viruses
- Long-lasting protection from mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats and chiggers
Do Gnats Bite? What Kind Of Diseases Do Gnats Spread?
The biting species tend to transmit a disease known as River Blindness to farm animals including cows, goats, sheep, buffaloes, etc.
Other than infecting the livestock, these pests do not carry diseases and spread in the same way mosquitoes do.
Moreover, eye gnats spread pinkeye in both humans and animals. It is common and can be cured easily. You don’t have to worry much about it.
How to Treat Gnat Bites
As much as you probably hate being a blood meal, a gnat bite can be unavoidable. Here are some tips on how to treat a gnat bite.
Treat with Anti-Itch Creams
Biting gnats cause an itching sensation and excessive scratching can result in skin rashes and other harmful skin infections. Therefore, to prevent yourself from scratching and to soothe the skin, apply anti-itch creams to the site of the bite.
You can also apply fresh aloe vera gel, it will treat gnat bites as well as other insect bites.
Apply Natural Remedies
If you feel like a gnat bit you, don’t hesitate to treat it immediately. You would notice a burning feeling with a gnat bite. Be sure to clean the bite with an antiseptic like iodine or rubbing alcohol. Wash the gnat bite to prevent infection.
Apply Cold Compress
You could apply a cold compress to the area. Just wrap some in a damp washcloth and place it over the gnat bites. You can also reduce the swelling caused by the gnat bites with vinegar. Just soak a cotton ball in vinegar and apply it to the bitten area.
Seek Medical Attention
If your allergic reaction from the insect bites is more severe than you think, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if the gnat bites result in much more than minor skin itching.
How to Prevent Gnat Bites and Get Rid of These Pests
If you’re dealing with gnat bites, then at the initial level you can try using repellent sprays.
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Apart from using the repellents inside the home, you can spray around the areas where these pests are flying around such as near the garbage dump or sewers. You can also use electric bug zappers to trap these tiny insects.
Get Rid Of The Source They’re Attracted To
First of all, make sure to remove the source. For this, keep your kitchen clean, keep your drainage clean and repot the plants in fresh and well-drained soil.
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Here is what you can do for specific gnat species
Fungus Gnats: As you know by now, fungus gnats occur in potted plants. So, the first step you need to perform is to clean the top layer of the soil and check for any fungus or mold. If you find anything, then simply report your plant in fresh soil. Moreover, if the roots are rotted too, then consider discarding the whole plant.
Fruit flies: Discard the rotting and mushy fruits from your refrigerator and kitchen and throw all the spoiled food by putting them in sealed plastic bags. Make sure you tightly close the lid of the trash can otherwise the foul smell may attract more of these pests.
Drain flies: Fix and repair the leaking pipes. Clean the drains thoroughly and remove the debris and dirty objects from them. Also, keep your kitchen sink and bathroom areas clean and dry.
Prevent The Further Breeding By Killing The Larvae
To prevent these pests from multiplying, search the breeding spot and kill them right there.
Here is what you can do for different species :
To Kill Gnats: Use sticky traps and steel wool to kill the gnats in your potting plants.
Cover the soil with steel wool and use sticky traps all around to trap them. You can try these organic dual-sided yellow sticky traps. The coarse steel wool will prevent them from flying.
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To Kill Fruit flies: You can find the larvae of fruit flies in the fresh or rotting fruits. If your fruits are affected then simply throw them out. You can also use sticky fly traps to catch them.
To Kill Drain flies: You can find the babies of drain flies inside your sewer pipes or drains. They also breed in the clogged end of pipes where the dirt gets collected. To kill them, first, clean the pipe using soap and water, and then use a solution of white vinegar to rinse the drainage pipe again.
Spray Your Plants With A Solution Of Hydrogen Peroxide
If your potted plants are affected by these pests then the reason may be the overwatered soil. To get rid of gnats from plants, water them with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. For this, take 1 part of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 4 parts of water. Mix it well and use this solution to water your plants. If you see bubbling in the soil, it is a good indication that shows the hydrogen peroxide is working.
Avoid Exposed Skin
Female gnat species feed on humans – that’s a fact. So, be sure to protect your skin from gnat bites, especially during the summer months. Wear long-sleeved shirts, loose-fitting clothing, and long pants that could cover your arms and legs from gnat bites.
You should also apply insect repellent to your skin to prevent gnat bites. Lemon eucalyptus is quite effective in avoiding being bitten.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Kill Gnats
It is by far the cheapest and most effective way to get rid of gnats without using harsh chemicals. You can kill all types of gnats using this method.
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Also, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar then you can use any other vinegar which has a strong smell. You can even use wine or a ripe, pulpy fruit instead of vinegar. But be aware as they can attract ants as well.
Additionally, you can also try these 7 DIY fly trap ideas.
If you still cannot get rid of gnats, then you need to call pest control .