Do Gnats Bite at Night? It doesn’t matter whether you call them no-see-ums, buffalo flies, or gnats. These insects, although they appear harmless because they’re tiny, can be quite annoying when they bite.
In this article, we’ll answer this question and discuss everything else related to gnat bites. Also, we’ll give you a few tips on how to treat them so that they don’t cause allergic reactions.
Do All Types of Gnats Bite?
It might be surprising to know that not all sorts of gnats bite humans, or other mammals, for that matter. Only a few types need to feed on blood, and it’s mostly just the females that require a blood meal before laying their eggs.
Types of gnats that bite humans, livestock, poultry, and pets include:
Now that you’re aware that some gnats tend to bite humans, you might be wondering if they do it at night. Let’s explore this more in-depth in the next section.
Do Gnats Bite at Night?
Generally, gnats are more active during the day, hovering over bodies of water and feeding on plant nectars. However, they also come out at night, which answers this question with a yes.
If you keep indoor plants, chances are they will soon turn into a shelter to gnats. Since they mostly gather around ponds, swamps, and marshes, your plant pots should be the perfect spot to draw gnats.
Also, still water and wet soil are the optimum places for female gnats to lay their eggs. In this wet and warm environment, the eggs hatch more easily and develop into adult gnats quickly.
Therefore, during the day or night, gnats will stick around their new homes and bite people who stay in the room.
If you wake up in the morning with tiny, mysterious, red bumps on your arms, chances are a gnat has bitten you in your sleep.
How to Identify a Gnat Bite
As we previously pointed out, gnat bites are almost the same as mosquito bites. The only difference here is that they might be smaller. In case you’ve been wondering what exactly causes these bumps, we’d be glad to oblige.
See, a gnat or mosquito uses a scissor-like needle to penetrate the skin. In the process, it releases its saliva through the cut, which contains substances known as anticoagulants. The job of these substances is to thin the blood so that it can be easier to digest.
As a result of this exchange, the human skin develops a minor allergic reaction caused by the saliva of gnats. The main characteristics of these bumps include being:
- Painful in some cases
For some people, these bumps can develop into blisters with fluids inside them. Furthermore, these bites can require medical attention in some cases, which we’ll discuss later on.
4 Tips You Can Use to Treat Gnat Bites
Mostly, gnat bites are easy to soothe using a few hacks. After following these tips, you can expect them to disappear within days.
Wash Them With Soap and Water
The first thing you can do is run mild water over your swollen bites and wash it gently with soap. This should help calm the irritation now and clean the area around the bump.
After that, make sure to dry it by patting it with a soft towel. Don’t rub the swollen bump or it might swell even further.
Apply Anti-Itch Cream To The Gnat Bite
One of the reasons why these bumps take too long to heal is that some people scratch them repeatedly. This can increase the chances of infection, which is the last thing you want.
Of course, scratching the bites is driven by the itching sensation that they cause. To make sure that this urge goes away, apply anti-itch cream to the affected area. It can also reduce redness and irritation.
Plus, you can use calamine lotion to soothe these bites. Both options don’t require a prescription, but remember to always read the directions before use.
Apply a Cold Compress On The Gnat Bite
This is another way that you can approach to eliminate skin irritation. You can create a cold compress using one of the following methods.
- Soak a soft cloth or towel in cold water
- Wrap a moist towel around an ice pack
- Use a plastic bag after filling it with ice cubes
- Grab a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel
Press any of the previous objects to the irritated area for 10 minutes at a time. After doing this a few times every day, your skin should go back to normal in no time.
However, remember not to expose your skin to ice or freezing objects directly. It can lead to frostbite within minutes.
Keep the Affected Area Elevated
Raising your arm or leg where the bites exist might help with the swelling. Since it moves the blood away from this area, it may decrease swelling a little bit.
Of course, you can do this after following the previous tips first.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
Gnat bites rarely require medical intervention. Yet, if you come face-to-face with one of the following scenarios, you should consider getting medical attention.
- If the bumps become worse or don’t disappear after 2 weeks
- If you get bitten near the eyes or mouth
- If you notice signs of skin infection such as pus
The doctor should recommend an ointment or cream after checking out your symptoms.
You may want to note that, in some cases, gnat bites might cause an immediate allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. This condition needs emergency attention because it can be quite problematic.
If you notice any of the following symptoms after a gnat bite, you should call 911 instantly.
- Swollen throat, eyelids, or lips
- Troubled breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dizziness or nausea
- Fast heartbeat
How to Keep Gnats Away at Night
Now that you understand how unnervingly troublesome gnat bites can be, you may want to start looking for ways to keep them away. Especially at night, when they tend to bite the most, you could follow these tips to prevent gnat bites.
Stay Away from Bodies of Water – Gnat Magnets
When you’re out camping under the stars, mosquitos and gnats can ruin the fun of the night. Yet, knowing that they gather around bodies of water more than anywhere else can save you some trouble.
Try not to camp or hang out around ponds or streams. If you must, make sure that you don’t sleep outside your tent or spend a lot of time next to the water.
The same goes if you have indoor plants since they need to be watered frequently. Therefore, wet soil can attract different sorts of insects, including gnats. To prevent them from biting you, you can keep your plant pots away from where you usually sit or sleep.
Equip Your Windows With Screens To Keep Gnats Out
Mesh window screens should keep annoying insects and flies from entering your home. This way, you can enjoy the night breeze without inviting any of these unwanted guests inside.
In fact, this might be a must if you have a lot of plants in your yard. Since gnats are also drawn to plants, there will be a higher chance of them getting inside your home.
Cover Up as Much as Possible To Avoid Gnat Bites
If you’re outside at night, try not to leave a lot of exposed skin. Wearing full-sleeved shirts and long pants should protect you from these pests.
Yes, gnats often bite around the face, but they can also attack the exposed skin of arms and legs.
Also, try not to wear sandals or slippers if you can manage it. We know that it can be tough sometimes, especially in the summer. Yet, wearing closed should keep your feet safe from all the trouble that gnat bites might cause you.
Wear Light Clothing
Gnats tend to hover over dark colors. Therefore, you can switch to clothes of lighter colors when you intend to spend the night outside.
Also, it might do you good to avoid using scented products since they also attract gnats. Perfume and strong-scented shampoo are two examples of such products.
To Wrap It Up
Trying to have a peaceful night of sleep with gnats in your house might not be possible. Even though some types of gnats don’t bite, you’ll find that most of them do.
Do gnats bite at night? Yes, especially if they’re females getting ready to lay their eggs. They can bite pets, livestock, and, you guessed it, humans!
However, if you’ve been bitten by a gnat, you’ll find that the resulting bump is easy to treat using a few simple tips. Even better, keeping those annoying creatures away from you doesn’t need a lot of effort on your part.
All you’ll have to do is stay away from water sources, cover any exposed skin, and close your windows at night.
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