Texas is known for a lot of great things, including country music, cowboy boots, the Alamo, and Tex-Mex food. Unfortunately, the Lone Star State is also known for its plethora of pesky pests, including gnats and no-see-ums. Also known as ceratopogonidae, these tiny pests are prevalent along the Texas Gulf Coast. In addition to disrupting fun outdoor activities, they can cause itchy bites in humans and spread fatal illness among animals. To learn more about these annoying insects, here’s an overview of some the most common types of gnats in Texas.
There are over 4,000 species of biting midges in Texas and other coastal areas of the U.S. These insects are very small (adults are less than 3 mm long) and capable of making their way through mesh screens on windows and doors. Most of the time, you won’t even notice these miniscule gnats when they sneak into your home or land on your skin.
Biting midges lay their eggs in wet sand or soil. Common breeding grounds include swamps, marshes, streams and ponds, treeholes, and even in plants that retain pockets of water.
Also referred to as black flies or turkey gnats, these insects are highly annoying to humans. Buffalo gnat bites, which typically appear around the neck and the head, can be very uncomfortable and create redness, irritation, and a burning sensation in humans. Buffalo gnats grow to be about an 1/8 of an inch long and like to breed in fast-moving streams and rivers. Fortunately, they have a lifespan of just one to two weeks and disappear during the hot summer months.
One of the most common types of gnats in Texas, fungus gnats are smooth, round, and nearly invisible to the human eye. They have long see-through wings and grow to be about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in size. Fungus gnats tend to reproduce in warm homes and a like to fly around windows, lamps, and lantern because of their attraction to light.
These kinds of gnats can be a real nuisance to nature and destroy gardens, as their larvae feeds on plant sap and tissue. This creates abnormal plant growths called galls, which are often found on oak trees, sunflower plants, juniper trees. Gall gnats are tiny and typically only grow to be about 1/8 of an inch.
Eye gnats are some of the nastiest gnats in Texas. They like to congregate around human and animal openings such as the nose, mouth, and eyes (hence the name). This is because they are attracted to secretions from these areas, including mucus and saliva. Because of their habits, they can spread diseases and infections such as bacterial conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eye), anaplasmosis, and bovine mastitis in cows.
How to Treat Gnat Bites
If you live in Texas, it’s highly likely that you’ll experience nasty gnat bites. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to be proactive about pest control and have a professional evaluate your property. Contact MosquitoNix today to learn about our effective and affordable pest control solutions.
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