Residents are “gnat” happy with all the gnats; mosquito experts explain why they’re here

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — From Panama City Beach to Lynn Haven to Youngstown, many residents have been complaining about gnats taking over the area, swatting the bugs away from dawn to dusk.

“They’re buzzing around our ears,” said Lillie Robinson, a Panama City resident out for a walk with her friend, Joan Hoffman. 

“You can’t hardly enjoy the outdoors because of the gnats,” said Hoffman.

From sunrise to sunset, they don’t seem to take a break.

“Just out of nowhere,” said Michael Gilmore, a Youngstown resident. “[They’ve] just been swarming us.”

From the park, to the golf course, to residents’ front yards; they’re everywhere.

“You’re batting them, shooing them,” said Perry Gainer from Glenwood. “I’m sick of them.”

Several residents have said it’s the worst they’ve seen it in some time. At Panama City Beach Mosquito Control District, the phone has been ringing with residents who say they’re fed up.

“The gnats have been nasty let’s put it that way,” said Cindy Mulla with Beach Mosquito Control. “They’ve been bothering everyone.”

Mulla said it’s all because of tropical storm Cristobal at the start of the month.

“That’s because of all the rainfall that we had,” she said. “Gnats love super damp, humid weather just like mosquitoes and other insects.”

She said they thrive by decaying vegetation and leftover standing water and are attracted to light and moisture, such as human sweat on a sunny day. 

“They call them face gnats,” Mulla said. “They are constantly in your face.”

Unlike mosquitos, however, the gnats don’t bite.

“These gnats do not spread any diseases or any health problems,” Mulla said. “They’re more of a pest than anything.”

She added that they should be starting to fade away soon with drier weather. In the meantime, she said residents can keep the gnats away by keeping their yards clean and free of damp, decaying leaves or other vegetation, or with oscillating fans and homemade gnat traps. They can also use deet insect repellents.

To make a homemade gnat trap, she said to mix a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap in a container and leave it to catch the gnats.

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