Gnat bite transmits diseases such as carrison, sandy fever, and river blindness among others. Therefore, preventive measures should be undertaken whatsoever. So, can gnats bite really! How and why, if so?
- Well, YES! the female gnats will bite humans & animals (to feed on blood). But male gnats don’t bite humans since they feed on plant juice and flower nectar.
- Unlike bees and wasps, gnats don’t sting (the insects have a jagged saw-like mouthpiece that cuts through the skin when sucking blood).
Usually, a Gnat bite appears like a tiny reddish spot with moderate swelling on your skin surface. The swelling is itchy and very painful, especially when touched. The pain and swelling may take over a week to heal.
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Details: Do Gnats Bite Humans?
1. Why Gnats Bite
Female gnats, unlike male ones, bite humans and animals to acquire blood meals. Blood is an important food for female gnats, especially for their reproduction purposes.
- Before laying eggs, gnats suck blood to boost their protein levels, which is necessary for bodybuilding and getting eggs ready.
Female gnats won’t lay eggs until they get enough blood meal – they can travel over 50 miles in search of blood.
NB: Male gnats don’t bite humans since they feed on flower nectar and plant juice.
2. How Gnat bite – stages
Female gnats have jagged saw-like/serrated mouthparts (males don’t have), which aid in cutting through human skin when sucking up blood.
- Unlike insects such as mosquitoes, female gnats don’t suck blood by inserting their mouthparts into human skin, instead, they use mandibles to cut tiny holes(in the skin), through which they suck your blood.
When biting, female gnats release an anticoagulant substance into humans’ blood, which leads to severe pain and allergic reactions for those individuals that bite sensitively. Generally, female gnats bite happens in the following stages:
a. 1st Stage
The female gnats penetrate their mandibles into human skin.
b. 2nd Stage
This is the stage when gnats try to position their mouthparts inside your skin/wound. They actually anchor the syntrophic within the skin using laciniae.
c. 3rd Stage
This stage involves actual bloodsucking it feeding. Human blood is pumped into the gnats using a group of muscles (three) and two functional pumps that are separated by a food canal.
The blood-sucking process is sequential but complex in nature. However, the flow is synchronous and smooth – relative expansion and contractions.
4. 4th Stage
This is actually the escape stage when the female gnats remove laciniae and detach the syntrophium from human
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3. Gnat bite Appearance
Usually, gnat bites look like pin-prick swells with tiny reddish marks/spots. The degree of redness differs, though in most cases, the color is pale (for a few bites) and otherwise darker (for multiple bites).
- Gnat bites are very painful (due to toxic anticoagulant substances) and the bites are characterized by an itchy feeling, which is severe when touched/scratched.
Further, gnat bite forms medium swelling that may take one to two weeks to heal. Unlike other insects bites, gnat bite blood spread beneath the skin surface or around the swelling.
4. Diseases Transmitted by Gnat bite
Gnat’s bite transmits disease such as:
- Leishmania – this causes severe cut sores on human skin
- Carrison’s disease – bacteria disease transmitted through gnat infectious bite
- River blindness – this disease causes the victim to lose their sight with time
- Toscanca & Plunta toto virus – an infectious viral disease
5. Symptoms of a Gnat Bite
Gnat bite has some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Medium reddish swelling or spots
- Severe pain on the bitten section
- Reddish marks on human skin
- Itchy feelings
- Burning sensation or skin irritation on bitten section
- Allergic reactions on the bitten skin surface due to anticoagulant reaction
- Difficulty in breathing – about 2% of victims
- Fever after sometimes
- Skin discomfort
6. Gnat Bite Treatment
In case you are bitten by gnats, you can undertake the following treatment measures:
a. Apply pain relief or anti-itch medicine
Apply anti-itch medicine (antihistamine) on the bite gently to relieve pain – this diagnosis depends on the extent of the bites and pain felt.
Avoid rubbing or scratching the bitten area since this may open up room for bacterial infections.
b. Disinfect Bitten Skin surface
Clean the area with treated warm water and soap gently/thoroughly. Alternatively, you can use other disinfectants such as vinegar or alcohol-based solvent. Finally, cover the wound with a clean piece of clothes lightly.
c. Apply Antiseptic swab
Gently, apply antiseptic swab (over the wound surface). Leave the solvent to kill germs and pathogens that may be transmitted by gnats. Leave to would to heal – don’t rub the bitten area.
d. Visit the doctor in case you notice these symptoms;
- You have breathing problem
- Green fluid or yellow drain coming from the wound (bite)
- Excessive swelling around the bites
- Abnormal swelling/inflammation on the chest, mouth, or throat.
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How Can you Avoid Gnats Bite?
The following are possible ways of avoiding gnats bite:
- Desist from using scented lotion, cologne, or perfume when you go for outdoor activities – such scents attract biting gnats like sand gnats.
- Use a table fan or pedestal when relaxing on your yard or porch – it helps you locate gnats easily.
- Often, wear a full neck, long pants, and a full sleeve shirt in order to minimize any uncovered body parts.
- Install a fine fiberglass window screen for your house and patio – it makes it difficult for gnats to penetrate in.
- Consider applying DEET repellant when going for outdoor activities – this keeps biting gnats away.
What Attracts Gnats in Your place
If you have gnats infestation in your place, chances are that either of the following attracts them:
1. Vegetables and Fruits
Gnats (especially males) are highly attracted by ripe fruits – male gnats feed on fruits. Also, vegetables (mainly succulent) are good sources of gnat meal.
Whether it’s your house or garden, ripe or rotting fruits/vegetables have a strong scent that pulls the gnats into the vicinity.
Gnats usually breed in moist places such as wet windows, wet rags, garbage bins, or overwatered plants. Female gnats lay 150-500 eggs at once, which hatch in a couple of days.
- Moisture favors the growth of body tissues (for larvae) and prevalent check from one stage to another in their life cycle.
Leaking pipes, vents, moist potting soil, beneath the sink, food spillage, or kitchen store are possible places you need to ensure that they are dry so as to prevent gnats infestation.
3. Source of Light
Bright light is critical for gnats’ movement in the dark – it provides a pathway for gnats to locate places they want to land.
You will note gnats moving to areas such as light fixtures, bulbs, LEDs, disco lights, and lamps. Attach gnats repellant to such items in case you spot an infestation in your home.
4. Human beings
Household gnats, especially female gnats, are attracted to humans as that the primary source of food (they suck blood).
- Further, carbon dioxide, mucus, tears, sweat, body heat are attractants that bring gnats to your place too.
In addition, perfume, lotion, detergents, and hairspray attract gnats as well. You need to limit such chemical use and maintain high body hygiene to stop gnats from visiting your place.
5. Decaying organic matters
Gnats love rotting flowers and plants – they feed on them as food (male gnats). Organic materials such as mold, moss, compound refuse, and fungi are great sources of food for gnats; thus, will attract gnats too.
Clean all organic matters in your place (especially the rotting ones) as preventive measures.
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How Can I Prevent Gnat Infestation
The following are ways that will help prevent future gnats infestation in your place:
- Reduce plants watering frequency, especially indoor plants – moisture is gnats attractant
- Store foodstuff like fruits in a refrigerator, if possible- this kills the scent, which attracts gnats
- Empty trash bins daily and clean them thoroughly and seal all bins used either inside or outside your house.
- Minimize moisture in your home – drain tunnel, seal leaks, dry moist surface.
- Remove and clean drinks/food leftovers – food spillage attracts gnats
- Avoid using strong scented perfumes and cologne in your place, especially at night
- Always spray gnat repellent in your home (where need be) to keep off gnats from your place
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In conclusion, on do gnats bite humans, the direct answer is yes. Most gnat species bite humans in search of a blood meal. Usually, gnats have a jagged saw-like mouthpiece, which cuts through humans’ or animals’ skin when sucking blood.
- Unlike bees and wasps, gnats don’t sting. Actually, the female gnats are the ones that bite humans and animals since they feed on a blood meal. Contrary, male gnats feed on flower nectar and other plant juice hence, they won’t bite humans.
The gnat bites appear like tiny reddish spots/marks with medium size swellings on your skin. The swellings are very painful and itchy (especially when scratched).
The pain and swelling may take over a week to heal. More so, gnat bite will transmit diseases such as river blindness, carrison, sandy fever among others. Therefore, preventive measures highlighted in this article should be put into place. Importantly, seek medical attention instantly in case you get bitten by gnats and the condition is deteriorating.