Gnats: Why are they here and how do you get rid of them? - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Gnats: Why are they here and how do you get rid of them?

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

It's an invasion that's bugging everybody in the Tri-States; gnats.

We've been living under a plague of the pests seemingly all spring. So, what's causing the swarm and how do you get rid of them?

Local ag educator Mike Roegge says one of the main reasons behind the gnat increase is the moving water in the Mississippi River. Heavy rains and floods have lead to more breeding areas for gnats.

Roegge says the female Buffalo Gnat, also known as "the black fly", lays eggs in moving water. Those gnats can travel about 10 miles away from the water source. Some feed on blood which means they can bite humans and animals.

While they don't carry diseases like mosquitoes, they can be deadly for some birds.

"Chicken producers, poultry producers who reported loss of chickens because the gnats were so thick they've caused them to go into shock with their biting or they've inhaled them and suffocated."

Roegge says if you want to keep the gnats from biting you, mosquito repellant will not work.

Roegge likes to use "Absorbine Junior", a pain reliever rub.

But you can also use vanilla extract. Simply put a little behind each ear and reapply it about every hour.

Fabric softener dryer sheets are also a popular tool to repel gnats.

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