Those little backyard pests have arrived in full force this season. They are sometimes referred to as “no see um’s” which is really a cute word for the very annoying gnat! Those tiny bugs that you can’t see before they are inches in front of you are called gnats. Gnats seem to find their way into our homes and are attracted by rotting food and moisture. Some come into your home on fruit that you have purchased, others gnats find their way inside through openings in your house such as doors and cracks. Gnats are actually part of the Diptera family of insects, with the name implying “two wings”, and are a type of fly.
Along with being annoying, certain types of gnats do bite humans which can lead to skin irritations. Some gnats also spread disease. Gnats multiply quickly, laying hundreds of eggs in a short amount of time which can lead to unsanitary conditions if the problem gets out of control in and around your home.
Getting to know your gnat
There are several types of gnats and each come with their own propensity to annoy us in different ways. Eye gnats live off the eye fluid of animals such as livestock that like to congregate in herds. Extremely large aggregations of eye gnats are common in areas that have loose sandy soils, especially in the southern United States. Some research indicates eye gnats can cause conjunctivitis, cancer and other disease in cows.
Gall gnats, also known by some as “midges” are tiny and frail and can wreak havoc on crops when present in large numbers. Sand gnats also called “no see ums” bite and actually suck blood leaving red bumps and rashes behind in their wake. Sand gnats are prevalent in sandy areas. Fungus gnats are found in moist environments and thrive on decomposing food and can be found in many homes thriving in household plants.
Gnats are very difficult to control when we have normal precipitation but are even more difficult to control with all the wet weather we have experienced thus far for the season. In essence the rain, and over watering associated with the weather is a huge contributor of rising gnat populations all over the Columbia area. This season we have seen a particularly bad gnat problem on the South side of Lexington, SC. This is due in part to the sand based soil prevalent in that area which facilitate large gnat populations.Gnats prefer laying their eggs in areas where their brood can easily rise up from the loose soil. Gnats like similar conditions to those of mosquitoes – damp, warm, moist areas with lush vegetation and standing water. More humidity and moisture, paired with the abundance of foliage and flowers, make the perfect home for gnats.
Getting rid of the gnats
To get the best results you will want to take additional measures to make your area less conducive to gnats. Remove rotting vegetation from the yard, including the spent undersides of any potted plants or flowers on or around your deck or patio. Remove and tip over devices that may hold standing water. Remove old leaves, logs, and dead fall around your home. Rake out the area and let it dry out this will discourage the gnat from returning to those areas. When watering your lawn or plants, don’t over water. You want the areas to sufficiently dry out before watering again. We recommend watering 3 days per week, and water in the early morning hours so the sun, paired with evaporation throughout the day will dry off any excess moisture present. Mosquito Squad of Columbia advises you to stay on our mosquito control program throughout the season to get the best gnat control. We cannot guarantee the gnat control applications but 75% of our customers who are on both the mosquito and gnat control saw a significant decrease in the gnats in their yards.
Here is our solution. With every barrier treatment, we mist the ground with the product we use to control mosquitoes. If this is not sufficient then we add an additional product used to treat the gnats and fleas specifically. In extreme cases we can enroll you in our platinum program where we mist your yard on a 2 week schedule. We have had a great deal of success in protecting residents in the area from gnats. The degree of treatment you will need depends on your individual circumstances and property.
Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more about controlling the bugs that are bothering you, including gnats, mosquitoes, fire ants, fleas, ticks, spiders and flies. We can help keep you and your family happy and healthy this season with bug-free days, and bug-free nights. Call us today for a free quote.