Do gnats bite or not? Or Are these bugs harmful?
No need to go anywhere as we got you covered. Here we will answer all your questions regarding the gnats. So, keep scrolling till the end!
What Are Gnats?
So, basically gnats are fly-like insects which can occur here and there. There are biting as well as non-biting species of gnats. The most common types of gnats are drain flies, midges, punkies, fruit flies, fungus gnats etc. These are generally attracted to rotten fruits and vegetables, sewer, leaking pipes, decay food etc.
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.
What Do Gnats Look Like?
Gnats are tiny bugs – about 1/12 or minimum of an inch. They have two wings and are black and dark grey in color. These poor flies can’t travel much distance due to their weakness and hence, revolve around the specific areas.
What Are Gnats Attracted To?
Gnats are mostly attracted to smells as they have powerful odor receptors on their antennae and they also have strong visual sense using which they can detect their food sources and fly in the direction of the smell.
Apart from spoiled foods and trash, gnats are also attracted to moisture. They usually breed in areas with high moisture like leaked pipelines, sewers etc.
Below is the brief description of different kinds of gnat species and what they’re attracted to.
These are the most common gnat species which are found in local areas near homes or buildings etc.
- Fruit Flies –
Read more about fruit flies here.
- Drain Flies –
- Fungus Gnats –
- Phorid Flies –
What Do Gnats Feed On?
Different species of gnats feed on different kinds of food sources.
Commonly they feed on plants, insects and sometimes they eat breeds of fungi.
Moreover, the biting species of gnats like no-see-ums and midges feed on blood.
Do Gnats Bite? If so, How Deadly The Bites Are?
The one-line answer is, yes!
So the answer to “Do Gnats Bit” is Yes, but not all the species of gnats bite. There are some spices that do bite, especially the female gnats.
Gnats don’t bite like the other insects like a mosquito or a 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.
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.
[Read More : Do Gnat Bites, Symptoms and Treatment ]
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 gnats flying, keep an insect repellent spray handy to protect yourself and your animals.
What Kind Of Diseases Do Gnats Spread?
The biting species of gnats tend to transmit a disease known as Bluerounge Virus to farm animals including cows, goats, sheep, buffaloes etc. The infected animals suffer high fever, swollen face. Also, in such infection their tongue tend to get slightly bluish in color, hence the disease got its name “Bluerounge Virus”
Other than infecting the livestock, gnats do not carry diseases and spread in the same way mosquitoes do.
Moreover, eye gnats spread pinkeye which is not at all severe. It is common and can be cured easily. You don’t have to worry much about it.
However, the biting gnats cause 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 an antiseptic lotion or gel. You can also apply fresh aloe vera gel, it will treat the burning sensation and itching very well.
How To Get Rid Of Gnats?
If you’re facing gnat problems, then at the initial level you can try using repellent sprays. Also, don’t let the gnats enter your home. Keep your gates, windows and other openings tightly closed. You can line your openings with fine mesh so that ventilation and air don’t get affected.
Apart from using the repellents inside the home, you can spray around the areas where gnats are flying around such as near the garbage dump or sewers. You can also use electric bug zappers to trap these tiny insects.
However, if these ways don’t help you, you might need to use different methods to get rid of them. Some of the best methods are mentioned below.
Get Rid Of The Source They’re Attracted To
First and foremost thing is to remove the source. For this, keep your kitchen and other places clean, keep your drainage clean and repot the plants in fresh and well-drained soil.
Here is what you can do for specific gnat species
Fungus Gnats: As you know by now, fungus gnats occur in potted plants. So, to 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 gnats.
Drain flies: Fix and repair the leaking pipes. Clean the drains thoroughly and remove the debris and dirty objects from it. Also, keep your kitchen sink and bathroom areas clean and dry.
Prevent The Further Breeding By Killing The Larvae
To prevent the gnats from multiplying, search the breeding spot and kill them right there.
Here is what you can do for different species :
To Kill Fungus 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.
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 gnats 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.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Kill Gnats
It is by far the cheapest and effective way to get rid of gnats without using harsh chemicals. You can kill all types of gnats using this method. Here is what you need to do.
- Take a medium-sized container and fill it with apple cider vinegar and also add a little bit of dish soap. Give it a good mix. [The gnats will be attracted to the pungent smell of apple cider vinegar and they will drown in the container. Soap will make them unable to fly.]
- Now, cover the lid using a plastic sheet and make some holes on it using a needle of a safety pin. The holes should be big enough so that gnats get into the container.
- Keep this container in the area where gnats fly around the most. And let them fall into your ACV trap.
- After a couple of days, throw the contents of the container and repeat the process using fresh contents again.
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 can not get rid of gnats by following the above-mentioned methods and they’re getting multiplied, then you need to call the pest control .