Buffalo gnat bites : Home Treatment and when to PANIC!

Robert James
Pest Control Technician

buffaly gnatHow many times have you waved gnats away? Gnats are mostly known as annoyance pests. However, they do pose some health risks to both humans and other living beings. Gnat bites can transmit diseases. Thus, you have to be careful of gnat bites.

Buffalo gnats are one among the many biting gnat types. This informative article will discuss the various aspects of buffalo gnat bites.

Buffalo gnat bites

Buffalo gnats a.k.a black flies are the biting gnat types. These gnats, just like other biting gnats, rely on mammal blood for nutrition. The bite which is an act of survival is only performed by females. Female gnats need this protein nutrition from blood to help them lay eggs. Males do not depend on a blood diet.

Thus, female buffalo gnats bite you to get the necessary nutrition. But, unlike mosquitoes, they are very assertive about it. Gnat bites are painful with swelling, both of which last for a long time after you are bitten.

When a buffalo gnat bites

Buffalo gnat or black flies are active during daylight. They are known to travel over 10 miles for food. You are susceptible to gnat bites if you have a flowing water source nearby. Black flies prefer water streams for laying eggs. Thus, there’s a higher chance of you being bitten if you are situated near a water stream.

Buffalo gnat bites are characterized by:

  • Swelling of the bitten area
  • Redness, and
  • Blood spots

Besides, early signs include:

  • Strong pain, with
  • Itching

over the bitten spots.

To know more, check our ‘How gnat bites look like’ article.

How buffalo gnat bite affects you

You feel a strong pain and itching sensation over the bitten spot. Gnats tear the skin open to source blood from other living animals. Besides, they also inject an anti-coagulant to prevent the wound from healing fast. It allows them sufficient time to feed on blood. The pain and itching sensation you experience is the body’s healing reaction to the gnat bite. It is important that one doesn’t scratch over the bitten area, else risk skin infections.

Gnat bites can also cause disease with the transmission of pathogens. Leishmaniasis and pappataci fever are some among the other diseases that can be caused by gnats acting as vectors.

Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, you should be cautious about gnat bites and take steps to prevent them. If a gnat has bitten you, seek treatment as soon as possible.

Buffalo gnat bites: prevention and treatment

Let’s focus on prevention and treatment of black fly bites - how we can stay safe from gnat bites or the necessary steps to avoid gnat bite complications.


The necessary prevention steps can help you get rid of gnats and their harmful bites. As we said earlier, buffalo gnats love water streams which make a perfect breeding ground for them. If having a flowing water body nearby, you can’t do much with regards to moving the water somewhere else. That said, you could equip yourself appropriately to prevent gnats from biting you.


  • Use repellents to drive gnats away from you and your surroundings. You could get one from the market or make one yourself.
  • Wear light-colored clothes when going out. Gnats are attracted to dark, bright colors so avoid them when going out. If staying indoors, the color of clothes doesn’t matter much.
  • Try to get rid of water in your surroundings like drains often to avoid gnat breeding.


As a last resort, you could move to a place without any water stream nearby.


But, what to do if you are bitten? Let’s talk about that.


In case of gnat bites:

  • Clean the bitten spot with some mild soap and water.
  • Then, apply some antiseptic to prevent infections.
  • Next, apply some cold compress (towel soaked in cold water) over the area to calm down the itching sensation and swelling. You could also use a back of ice cubes for the same. Repeat this process for 10 minutes per day.
  • Besides, you can apply some anti-itch cream to further tend the skin irritation.


The above steps should aptly tend to minor gnat bites.


  • The swelling or irritation does not reduce with time
  • You get a fever
  • You get an allergic reaction like swollen lips, nausea, trouble breathing

Seek a doctor’s advice right away.!

Do not wait until the symptoms turn into complications. Assess the situation properly and follow the necessary steps to avoid any health risks.

Buffalo gnat bites can be dangerous…

If you don’t take the necessary steps to prevent and treat them.

In this article, we have discussed what buffalo gnats are, why they bite and its effects. Moreover, we have also shed some light on some prevention and treatment procedures that concern with buffalo gnat bites.

If you have any queries, please leave them in the comments.

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