Do gnats bite?
A gnat is typically a name given to the many species of flying insects belonging to the dipterid suborder nematocera. These little insect belong to the Anisopodidae, Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae families. Gnats can be biter and non-biters.
Gnats tend to have a short lifespan with the longest being an average of 28 days. Also known as no-see-ums they have an undisputed knack to be extremely annoying and resilient. For example, have you ever tried to swat a mosquito? Or a house fly? Or let’s say swarming gnats during a picnic.
Do gnats bite?
As mentioned above there are two types of gnats: biting and non-biting. The biting gnats usually feed on human or mammal blood. And it is the female of the species that bite like the female anopheles mosquito. They need the blood meal in order to be able to reproduce.
Characteristics of gnats
Gnats range in color from black, gray, and yellow depending on the species. Some species like sand flies are smaller than mosquitoes making them an even bigger menace because they can penetrate through very small spaces. They male gnats feed on nectar and die off soon after mating with the female. The female can also feed on nectar but they need the blood meal when it is time to reproduce.
In most cases, biting gnats are well known as disease vectors. For example, the female mosquito is a carrier of diseases like malaria, Nile virus, dengue, filariasis, Chikungunya, yellow fever, Ross river fever, Saint Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, Western and Eastern equine encephalitis, Barmah forest fever, tularemia, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Zika fever, La crosse encephalitis and keystone virus.
Other gnats species like the botflies attach their larvae to the bottom side of the mosquito and when the mosquito is busy having its blood meal the body heat from its victim causes the botfly’s larvae to hatch causing myiasis.
Even if the biting gnat doesn’t spread disease it is a nuisance and can cause a lot of discomfort by entering the eyes, nose and ears of animals and humans.
They are not the easiest pests to get rid of but they can be prevented from becoming a full blown infestation. Clear out stagnant water from your environs, keep the grass short and inspect doors and windows to make sure they are intact. You may need to replace the ineffective solutions like screens and also have a professional thoroughly investigate the cause of the influx of gnats in your surroundings.
These are characterized by small red and painful bumps with intolerable itching. Some people can develop fluid blisters when they are bitten by gnats. You can mitigate their bites by applying calamine lotion to soothe the bite site and lessen the itching.