It is fun to go out for a morning walk in the mountain every weekend as the fog, the trees, and the birds are relaxing.
But there’s a buffalo gnat that can ruin everything. A single bite can cause red welts, swelling, allergic reactions, and highly uncomfortable itching.
Buffalo gnats are not only seen in the mountains. They can also go to your home, posing health risks to your family.
What Are Buffalo Gnats?
Also known as black flies, buffalo gnats are blood-sucking humpbacked black insects. Like mosquitoes, female black flies need to feed on blood to produce eggs.
Contrary to their name, buffalo gnats may be greenish, gray, and tan. Similar to other insects, they breed in rivers and streams. If your house is close to any fast-moving water, do not be surprised to see some around your lawn and garden.
Black flies have humps you can usually see in buffaloes. They feed on plant sap, insect honeydew, nectar, and other sugar sources.
When adult females are ready to produce eggs, they suck blood from dogs, cats, horses, poultry, and humans.
In humans, they can cause painful bites. What’s worse is that they can kill poultry, like chickens. Experts say they release toxins that can suffocate and kill birds quickly.
Getting Rid of Buffalo Gnats
After a long and overwhelming week in the office, you want to enjoy and be close to nature. Buffalo gnats can be a problem. Follow the tips and tricks below to get rid of black flies.
Dry Out Any Moist Areas
Buffalo gnats are attracted to moist outdoor areas rich in organic matter. These include downspouts, clogged roof gutters, and potted plants. So, it is crucial to dry them out. Check regularly your downspouts and areas that accumulate water over time.
Keep Garbage Cans Covered
Black flies also love garbage bins. Every time you put your garbage in the bin, do not forget to keep it covered. Sometimes, a scavenging animal may get thru the can. Check it often, or you can invest in a secure bin instead to save your time.
Have Leaky Pipes Repaired
Another way to get rid of buffalo gnats is to fix any faulty pipes. When left unattended, they may start to leak, allowing the water to accumulate in a crawlspace. You can contact an experienced plumbing professional right away to avoid unnecessary repair and replacement.
Invest in Good Lighting Fixtures
Yes, buffalo gnats are even attracted to exterior lighting fixtures. Instead of the standard light bulbs, you can consider bug light bulbs, of course. They are less attractive to any flying insect-like buffalo gnats and can withstand the test of time.
Regular Sewer Maintenance is the Key
Sewer has a lot of waste matter that buffalo gnats and other flying insects love. Regular and proper sewer maintenance can keep your place free of black flies. While a DIY sewer cleaning is possible, nothing can beat the services of an expert. While the services may require additional costs, it is worth it.
Any reliable sewer maintenance company has a team of skilled professionals and high-end tools or materials.
Keep Your Home Clean
Dirt is buffalo gnats’ best friend, so clean your home, especially your backyard. Make sure to remove any rotten fruits from trees or your vegetables. Prune your shrubs and trim your lawn at the same time. It is exhausting, but all of your efforts would not go to waste.
Preventing Buffalo Gnat Bites
Buffalo gnat bites are itchy and painful. They can also be uncomfortable. Below, we gather some simple ways to prevent buffalo gnat bites. Take a close look at the following:
Avoid Rivers, Streams, and Other Bodies of Water
Black flies are usually found near streams, ponds, marshes, and swamps. When you go out, limit your time around any of these areas. You can find other places to unwind for your safety.
Do Not Use Scented Products
Buffalo gnats love scented products, including perfumes and shampoos, as much as we do. So, do not use any of them when you have a scheduled outdoor adventure. If you cannot start the day without using shampoos, try unscented products instead.
Wear Sleeves and Long Pants
Some would only stay at home to avoid black flies. But that’s boring. Go out of your home and enjoy nature. Be sure to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. You can also cover your face with masks or any protective gear.
Invest in Window Screens
While a ceiling fan may deter black flies, it is better to use mesh or window screens. The price of window screen installation ranges from $70 to $200. You can also find services available at a cheaper rate.
Buy Insect Repellent
People usually apply a sunscreen when they go out. Remember to apply insect repellent to your skin, especially the hands, neck, face, ears, and nape. What’s the best insect repellent, though? Choose brands that contain DEET, known as diethyltoluamide.
If you do not have an insect repellent on hand, natural alternatives like lemon eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and cinnamon oil are good choices.
Avoid Dark Outfits
Who does not want to wear any dark clothing? Everyone loves that. But pause and reconsider the color of your outfit, especially when going to moist areas with black flies. Alternatively, you can wear light clothing.
Treatment for Buffalo Gnat Bites
In case you are bitten by buffalo gnats, wash the gnat bites with soap and cool water to soothe the irritation. Never rub the bites as it may worsen the symptoms.
Once cleaned, you can apply a cold compress to ease the swelling or irritation. You can use a clean cloth soaked in cold water. Ice cubes in a bag are an excellent alternative.
After a minute or two of using a cold compress, use anti-itch creams. A calamine lotion will be your best bet. If you are near drugstores, buy hydrocortisone cream as it is rich in corticosteroids that reduce redness.
When nothing works, consult your physician to avoid serious complications.
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