We're Available 24 Hours a Day! - Immediate Response

Do Gnats Bite? Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

gnats bite

You're outside enjoying a nice summer day when all of the sudden, you feel a sharp pinch on your arm. You brush whatever it is away, but before you know it, you feel another one.

Gnats are often named No-See-ums due to their tiny size. Occasionally the animals bite human bodies.

The bite is typically red with itchy red bumps that can hurt. However, it is rare for gnats to get bites to cause severe allergic reactions.

While they don't carry any serious diseases, their bites can be quite uncomfortable. In this blog post, we'll discuss everything you need to know about whether do gnats bite—including symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

What are Gnats?


Gnats are tiny flying insects that belong to the dipterid suborder Nematocera. There are many different species of gnats, but the most common ones belong to the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae.

Fungus gnats are small, dark-colored insects with one set of wings and antennae. They have long legs, which often leads to them being misidentified as mosquitoes.

In contrast, these flying insects aren't that great at staying afloat. You're more likely to see them taking a breather or crawling around by potted plants and landscaping features.

What Do Gnats Look Like?

The gnat is tiny, usually from 1/13 to 1/16 inches. The blacks usually have dark grays and two wings.

Gnats are unstable and weak fliers and therefore can never travel very far and can't fly straight lines.

If people see gnat hairs they may notice yellow tufts or grey hair. Image of gnawing mud spits blood into humans.

See Also: How Long Do Mosquitoes Live

What Do Gnats Eat?

Since gnats have several kinds, they primarily eat different kinds. Occasionally gnats eat plants and other animals, and many of them consume certain kinds of fungi.

They drink blood and bite. It's possible you could spray gnat sprays on your house. Some people may be concerned that gnats can bite livestock and farmers.

It has been reported that biting gnats can transmit an illness called the Bluerounge Virus on sheep/sheep, goats, and many other farm animals.

Do Gnats Bite?

gnats bite

Some species of gnats who eat are termed "biting gnat" and others " non-biting gnats. One other important point worth being noted is - only female gnats bite.

These species are adapted to the nectar of flower buds or juice from plants. Here is some useful information on which bugs bite.

Tables are clear - the buffalos and the sand rats bite, but the fungi & eye gnats do not bite. The key thing here is the gnat bite, though it doesn't sting as much as bees or wasps.

How do female gnats bite?

The male gnat has biteable mouth parts, whereas the flies have no bite parts. Females have scissors-shaped jaws that are aimed at cutting the skin and collecting blood.

Contrary to mosquitoes, they don't consume blood unless they insert an "intestinal muscle" in their victim but instead eat through the mouths of the victims.

In gnat bites, the blood clots secrete an anticoagulant, which could be fatal, and the reaction can be mild and severe for those with sensitive eyes or skin.

What Gnats Bite Humans? 3 Types

The three types of gnats that commonly bite humans are:

  • Biting Midges
  • Black Flies
  • Sandflies

1. Biting Midges (No-see-ums)

no see ums

Biting Midge family members are often referred to as punkies, no-seen-ums, mud gnats, and flies.

The skins are grayish in colour and, if you drink blood, may appear reddish in appearance. The tiny tiger has only 0.5 – 1.3 inches of body length.

These insects usually feed in the mornings and evenings but will feed longer on windy days or overcast nights during the day.

When it's dreary or cloudy and it's not possible to move air in it should be avoided to keep it inside the house.

If someone complains about something biting her but doesn't know why it happened, then it is likely the culprit was a biting mouse.

2. Black Flies (Black Gnats and Turkey Gnats)

black gnats

Black flies are also known as gnat-like birds, buffalo, or turkey flies. Black flies are blood-fertilizer animals and males are mostly dependent on plants nectar.

Black Flies are 1-1/2 inch tall and shiny black in colour and has slender body with relatively small legs and antenna.

Black fly is likely to feed a lot in large flocks, fly around their bodies or bite in large numbers. The bite is initially painful, but bleeding very quickly.

3. Sandflies (Phlebotomus)

gnats bite

Sand fly adults can grow up to 1 inch wide with short curving slender legs. Sand flyers have a unique characteristic that holds the wings on the wings of the fly as a V-shape during rest.

Only female Sand fly larvae can bite their teeth. Sandflies are no strong flyers, therefore windy conditions can help reduce the risk of bites.

Although the bites on sand fly bites are less frequent than bites by Midge, their bites can cause skin irritation.

The bites from Sand Flies may cause the disease and cause leishmania. These illnesses have only recently come to the United States.

Do Gnats Spread Disease?

Some gnats, even those that are able to bite humans, carry no diseases like mosquitos. As noted previously the only disease we know of is the Bluetongue virus, which usually impacts cattle.

It was reported that eye gnats spread pink eye a lot, but you do not have a risk of getting a virus such as Lilies Disease or malaria. However, you can scratch gnats.

How long do gnat bites last?

Gnat bites might irritate, however, most symptoms generally improve after a few days. To ease any discomfort, use a cold compress or hydrocortisone cream.

If you're looking to reduce irritation, an over-the-counter antihistamine may do the trick. In more severe cases where a person experiences gnat bites followed by allergic reactions, however, medical attention may be necessary.

How to Get rid of Gnat Bites

The following five treatments are the most impactful when it comes to taking care of gnat bites.

  1. Soap and water - This will help clean the gnat bite and remove any saliva or dirt that may be on the skin.
  2. Cold compress - Apply a cold compress to the gnat bite for about 15 minutes. This will help reduce any swelling.
  3. Anti-itch creams - These can be found over the counter and will help relieve any itching associated with gnat bites.
  4. Antihistamines - If you're experiencing any gnat bite allergies, antihistamines can be helpful in reducing symptoms.
  5. Elevate the affected area - If you were bitten on your arms or legs, try to keep the body part raised. This may help move blood away from the area and decrease swelling.

How to Prevent Gnat Bites

Although you can't stop gnat bites from happening altogether, there are some things you can do to make them less likely.

  • Avoid bodies of water.  Areas like swamps, ponds, marshes, and streams are often full of gnats. To avoid them as much as possible, don't spend too much time in these places.
  • Cover exposed skin. To avoid getting bitten by gnats, wear clothing that covers your skin such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Use insect repellent. After applying sunscreen, put insect repellent containing DEET on any areas of skin that will be exposed.
  • Wear light clothing. If you don't want gnats all over your clothing, avoid wearing dark colors or light blue.
  • Install window screens. The easiest way to get rid of gnats is by installing mesh screens on your windows and doors. If you don't have screens, a ceiling or floor fan can also do the trick.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep gnats from biting you?

As many exposed areas of your body as possible can reduce their chances of bites. Long sleeves and long pants and heads are good options for the prevention of bites.

Gnats tend to like soft areas (ears, eyelids, eyes, nose, and fingers) so take extra measures to protect them.

Do gnats bite and make you itch?

Those bitten by gnats cannot even remember what it is. The bite soon expands in size. It might have some blood in it. The biting gnats may have an itchy feel but also a biting sensation.

Are gnats harmful to humans?

Gnats have no effect on people because there's no damage done at home by them. In fact, gnats can cause serious health issues if they carry diseases out of their dirty buildings.


Gnats can be annoying, but they're mostly harmless. However, gnats can bite and cause irritation. You can also try to prevent gnats by installing window screens or using a ceiling or floor fan.

If you do get gnat bites, soap and water, a cold compress, and anti-itch creams can be helpful in reducing symptoms.

In more severe cases where a person experiences gnat bites followed by allergic reactions, medical attention may be necessary.

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
Recent Articles
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram