Step Outside: What’s biting me?

By ALEX DEASON STEP OUTSIDE,

There have been some beautiful days in the past couple weeks allowing for many to be outside in the flower bed or watching kids enjoy summer vacation.

We all know that throughout the summer the mosquitoes become a problem for being outdoors, especially in the late evening.

So what has been biting us in the daytime already?

These are a species of gnats that have quite a few names such as; no-see-ums, buffalo gnats, or turkey gnats.

These tiny black flies grab our attention relatively quickly by biting people and animals.

Like mosquitoes, these adult gnats depend on blood to survive.

The female gnat has the capability of laying anywhere from 100 to 600 eggs that will hatch the following year in clean, running water which was rampant this spring.

Once they hatch the immature gnats will stay in the water until becoming adults. As an adult the males will only swarm the face and be a momentary distraction.

The females are the only ones that bite. Once a bite occurs they release a chemical into the blood stream that causes painful welts. The  bites normally occur in the head area but can occur in other areas.

Unlike mosquitoes these pests are far more active in the daytime and will not enter an enclosure like a home so protecting yourself could be as easy as staying inside.

Bringing pets inside or building a screen-wire enclosure is one method of protection during the day.

Your local vet can give you additional suggestions on protecting your pets or backyard flocks.

Humans can take the same precautions for gnats as they would mosquitoes. Apply a repellent that contains DEET multiple times.

Reduce the amount of skin exposed with long pants and sleeves. Since these pests are attracted to dark colors such as navy, choosing a lighter color will help you protect yourself.

Adult gnats generally do not hang around for long periods.

Once the summer temperatures begin to rise the gnats begin to dwindle and the mosquito numbers begin to increase.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Obituaries

Betty Sue Mallette, 80, of Indianola, passed away Friday Sept. 13, 2019, in Pontotoc.

Breaking News

The redrawn lines for Districts 13 and 22 will be in effect for tomorrow’s primary elections.