Gnat Bites Treatment : What to do and what to avoid

Robert James
Pest Control Technician

sand fly bitesGnats are annoying. It is an aspect which we have discussed in our gnat remedy article. In that write-up, we had also touched on gnat bites.

It is common to get gnat bites. But, differentiating them from other insect bites can be hard if you are unaware of it.

Most gnats feed on organic matter like small insects and plants. But, there are some types of gnats (buffalo gnats, sand flies) that feed on blood for proper breeding. Male gnats do not rely on a blood diet.

How gnats bite

Gnat bites differ from mosquito bites. Mosquito bites are similar to getting a syringe needle injected into your body. Female gnats tear the skin with their four cutters before feeding. Besides, they also inject an anti-clotting agent so the wound does not start healing before they can feed.

How they look like

Gnat bites are painful and itchy. Once bitten, you will notice a pink or red spot at the site which swells and starts itching.

how gnat bites look like

Don’t itch a gnat bite as it may lead to infection and complicate the problem. Instead, use a soothing lotion to calm your skin and reduce itching.

Do gnat bites pose health risks?

Humans do not have a direct health risk from gnats. However, they can be a carrier for disease-causing microorganisms.

Gnats can transmit diseases like:

  • River blindness, which causes individuals to lose sight.
  • Carrion's disease (Oroya fever), a disease caused by a bacterial infection.
  • Sand fly fever, a disease caused by a viral infection.

In short, you are most likely to suffer from health issues caused by bacteria, virus and other microorganisms. Besides, gnat bites can also transmit diseases to pets and livestock.

Since there is a risk, you should always be cautious.

Here are some points to help you with the prevention and treatment of gnat bites.


Signs of gnat bites

Check for the following symptoms if you suspect a gnat bite:

  • The bitten area swells and turns red before starting to itch and pain.
  • Skin irritation or burning sensation after being bitten
  • The victim gets a fever after being bitten


How to Prevent gnat bites

To prevent gnat bites, you have to drive them away from your surroundings. Meaning, you have to get rid of things that attract gnats.

What attracts gnats, you ask?

Gnats are attracted to moisture. Water puddles, moist soil, stagnant water in drains; all provide a breeding ground for gnats. Thus, keeping your surroundings dry to check gnat breeding should be your priority.

Besides, you should also use repellents to drive away gnats. Gnat repellents are available in both organic (vinegar, essential oil) and chemical forms.

Therefore, keep your surroundings moisture free and use repellents to prevent gnats, and in turn, gnat bites.

3 Steps to treat gnat bites

Gnat bites are painful and itchy. You need to be careful with treating gnat bites else risk infection.

In case of a gnat bite:

  1. Disinfect the area
    Clean the bitten spot with some soap and water. Or, you could use an alcohol solution for this purpose.
  2. Apply some antiseptic
    Use an antiseptic ointment or solution to avoid infections and quicken the healing process.
  3. Treat with an anti-inflammatory or painkiller as necessary
    Get some medication to ease the pain or inflammation from the gnat bite.

The above steps should suffice in most cases. However, if the victim’s condition gets serious (allergic reactions like trouble in breathing, dizziness, nausea; infection), you should immediately visit a doctor.


There are some gnat types like buffalo gnats and sand flies that are known to bite. The female gnats of these types feed on blood to facilitate reproduction. Moreover, gnat bites are painful as gnats tend to tear the skin before feeding.

Gnat bites can lead to some health issues caused by microorganisms in humans and animals. Thus, prevention and treatment are essential in this regard. Maintaining dry surroundings coupled with the use of gnat repellents helps to prevent gnat habitation. If bitten by a gnat, you should disinfect and clean the area with some antiseptic. Further, you should have/provide medication for the associated pain or inflammation.

This article covers the basic aspects of gnat bites which we hope have been helpful for you.

In case you have any concerns, please comment them below.

crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram