Gnats, those tiny, persistent flying insects, are a common household nuisance around the globe. Their name comes from an Old English word for a biting, flying insect and they can make life particularly unpleasant in certain seasons. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about gnats, including their behaviour, their bites, and how to manage them effectively.
What Are Gnats?
Gnats are small, flying insects that come from the Diptera order, the same as flies and mosquitoes. They typically range in size from about 1/8 to 1/10 of an inch long, making them some of the smallest flying insects that we commonly encounter. Gnats are attracted to moisture and the smell of decay, which is why they tend to be found near overripe fruit, rotten food, damp areas, and standing water.
Gnats vs. Fruit Flies
It’s important to differentiate between gnats and fruit flies, which often get lumped together. While both are small and annoying, fruit flies are attracted to ripe, rotting, or decayed fruit and produce, whereas gnats are drawn to moist environments and organic material.
Understanding Gnat Bites
Although gnats are tiny creatures, some species are capable of biting and can cause a surprisingly high level of discomfort. A gnat bite usually results in a small, raised red spot that can itch intensely. The bite mark may become swollen and, in rare cases, may cause a severe allergic reaction.
The bites are typically caused by female gnats, who need blood to produce eggs. Species like the buffalo gnat are known for their painful bite, and the female gnat’s mouthparts are specially designed to cut the skin and feed on blood.
Managing Gnat Bites
If you’ve been bitten by a gnat, the best initial treatment is to wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection. Applying a cold compress can reduce swelling, and an over-the-counter antihistamine can help manage itching.
How to Control Gnats
Preventing a gnat infestation is always easier than dealing with one. Here are some steps you can take:
- Eliminate Moisture: To keep gnats at bay, it is beneficial to eliminate moisture since gnats are attracted to it. This can be achieved by fixing leaky pipes and regularly emptying trays under houseplants..
- Properly Store Food: Overripe fruits and vegetables are gnat magnets. Store produce in the refrigerator and make sure other food items are sealed.
- Take Care of Trash: Empty your bins regularly, especially those in the kitchen.
- Use Vinegar Traps: Fill a jar with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap, cover it with a lid with holes. The vinegar attracts the gnats and the soap makes them sink.
When to Seek Professional Help
Despite your best efforts, gnat infestations can sometimes become too much to handle. That’s when it’s time to seek professional help.
At Bon Accord Pest Control, we have a team of experts who understand the biology and behaviour of gnats. We’re equipped with the latest techniques and tools to provide you with an efficient and effective pest control service that eliminates gnats from your home and prevents future infestations.
Our integrated pest management strategy ensures that we address the issue holistically. We identify the root cause of the problem, eliminate the existing pests, and take steps to prevent future infestations, ensuring you a gnat-free environment.
Remember, dealing with gnats can be a challenge, but you don’t have to face it alone. Bon Accord deals with pest control and will always be happy to help and advise. If you’re battling a gnat infestation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re here to help you reclaim your space from these pesky invaders.
Common Types of Gnats in the UK
Gnats are small flying insects that belong to various families and can be found in diverse habitats across the United Kingdom. While some gnats can be a nuisance, many species are harmless to humans and animals. Understanding the common types of gnats present in the UK can help homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts better identify and manage these tiny pests. Here, we present an overview of some of the common gnats encountered in the UK, from fungus gnats found around houseplants to non-biting midges near bodies of water, along with their characteristics.
Fungus Gnats (Sciaridae family)
Fungus Gnats are small flying insects that are often found around houseplants. Their larvae feed on decaying organic matter and can cause damage to plant roots.
Non-biting Midges (Chironomidae family)
Non-biting Midges are tiny flies that resemble mosquitoes but do not bite. They are commonly found near bodies of water, such as ponds, lakes, and wetlands.
Black Flies (Simuliidae family)
Black Flies are small, dark-colored flies that can be a nuisance around rivers and streams. While the females of some species bite humans and animals to feed on blood, they are generally not a significant problem in urban areas.
Crane Flies (Tipulidae family)
Crane Flies, also known as “daddy longlegs,” are often mistaken for large mosquitoes due to their long legs and slender bodies. They are harmless and do not bite humans or animals.
Hessian Flies (Mayetiola destructor)
Hessian Flies are small, dark-coloured flies that can be found in grassy areas and cereal crops. They primarily infest wheat, barley, and rye.
Gall Midges (Cecidomyiidae family)
Gall Midges are tiny flies that cause abnormal growths, known as galls, on plants. These galls can distort leaves, stems, and flowers.
Eye Gnats (Chloropidae family)
Eye Gnats are small flies that are attracted to moisture and can be annoying around the eyes, particularly in rural areas with livestock or agricultural activities.
Shore Flies (Ephydridae family)
Shore Flies are small flies that are commonly found in damp or aquatic environments, such as seashores, marshes, and sewage areas.
Fruit Flies (Drosophilidae family)
Fruit Flies are small, light brown flies that are attracted to ripening fruits and vegetables. They can be a common nuisance in kitchens, supermarkets, and fruit markets.
Sand Flies (Phlebotominae subfamily)
Sand Flies are small, biting insects that are known to transmit diseases in certain regions. However, in the UK, they are not considered a significant problem.
While gnats can be annoying, most species are harmless to humans. However, if you are experiencing a severe gnat infestation or if you are concerned about specific species, it is advisable to consult with a local pest control professional for appropriate advice and control measures.