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Heavy Rains Lead to Gnat Swarms   arrow

Swarms of gnats are harassing people along Florida’s coasts and panhandle.

Experts have come out to say that this summer’s unseasonable humidity and heavy rains have unfortunately created the perfect breeding conditions for the bug known as the face gnat all across northwest Florida.

Larry Williams of the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service tells The Northwest Florida Daily News that unlike the commonly known mosquitoe, gnats are daytime pests.

There are a great many bugs in this world that people identify as gnats, and, in truth, no shortage of gnat species — gnats correctly identified as gnats, if you will — either, according to Williams.

This particular pestilience of bugs swarming people along Florida’s northwestern coats are called eye or face gnats, says Williams.

These face gnats tend to breed in open, grassy areas and do best when the weather is moist and humid, Williams said. Northwest Florida, and much of florida’s west coast as well, has been unseasonably rained on this year compared to the rest of the state, and the humidity is to be expect with the blistering heat gripping the state.

Unlike mosquitoes, which tend to come out to bite at dusk and nightfal, gnats favor the bright sunny Florida day, says Williams.

“Try to picnic when the gnats are bad and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll eat at least one,” he said.
Also, face gnats, for all their nuisance value, don’t bite or spread disease, although one website opines that they could cause pink eye. Health officials say gnats don’t pose public health risks like mosquitoes because they don’t bite or spread diseases. However, the insects can be extremely irritating when they swarm people trying to enjoy an outdoor activity. Experts recommend wearing insect repellent to keep gnats away.