Do Biting Buffalo Gnats Ever Invade Homes, And How Can Bites Be Avoided?

Most people worry about mosquitoes during the summer, but they are far from the only insect pest driving people insane this time of year. Black flies, commonly referred to as buffalo gnats or turkey gnats, are small, blood-sucking flies that begin to show up outside homes around early spring. They are a serious nuisance pest in Louisiana, and they seem to be out in full force this year. Unfortunately, they are ruining one of the few pleasures people can enjoy during this COVID-19 pandemic, getting a chance to enjoy the spring weather, as this year’s influx of buffalo gnats is making it more and more difficult to do this in peace.

Buffalo gnats, despite their black fly status, can be anywhere from gray to tan to even greenish in color. They can be a major nuisance as they bite people and animals working or otherwise enjoying the outdoors. While their bites can be extremely annoying, especially due to their tendency of biting around the face and neck, unlike mosquitoes, buffalo gnats are not major transmitters of pathogens or diseases. One of the factors that makes buffalo gnats able to make people’s lives so miserable is their habit of being active throughout the day, while mosquitoes are only active near dusk and early in the morning. This makes mosquitoes easier to forget about when you have biting buffalo gnats you have to watch out for all day long.

Buffalo gnats rarely venture indoors and tend to avoid enclosed or roofed areas, making it possible to elude them in a barn or carport. However, it is impossible to avoid them in open areas. While they rarely venture indoors, the buffalo gnat situation in Louisiana is so bad that residents are actually dealing with infestations of these pests. Boyd Causey in West Feliciana Parish says he is battling an infestation of buffalo gnats for the second year in a row. He had to resort to purchasing netting to wear around his head to keep the gnats away from his face. Some bug sprays containing DEET or Picaridin will provide a limited amount of protection from buffalo gnats, but there is no product available that will completely protect a person from getting bitten.

Have you been seeing a lot of buffalo gnats flying around outside this spring and summer?


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