Swarming Gnats in My Yard

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You might not see a swarm of gnats until you are right in the middle of it, and by then it is too late: The tiny insects are in your hair, on your skin and in your clothes. While not dangerous, swarming gnats in your yard are most certainly a nuisance.

Identification

  • The swarming gnats in your yard could actually be any number of tiny insects, including fungus and midges, that swarm near homes and other buildings. Fungus gnats lay eggs in moist soil around plants. Midges require pools of standing water to reproduce. Both swarm in yards, often around dusk. Neither of these insects bite or spread disease.

Issues

  • Although they pose no danger to you and your family, walking into a swarm of gnats is unpleasant — they do not try to avoid you. In fact, they can be attracted to the moisture in your eyes and skin; the carbon monoxide that you exhale can also attract them. Swallowing or inhaling a few gnats won’t hurt you, but it's far from a pleasant experience.

Solutions

  • Keep swarming gnats from entering your home by installing screens on your windows. Midges and fungus gnats are often attracted to light, so if you’ve seen them in your yard don’t keep your porch lights on. Insecticides are ineffective on gnats. Cultural controls can help; remove any fruit from your yard before it has a chance to spoil. Fungus gnats thrive in wet soil, so try to let your landscaping dry out between waterings. Where you can improve drainage, do so and reduce the amount of standing water in your yard.

Considerations

  • Gnat swarms are usually seasonal occurrences, so if you can ride out the problem, you’ll be free of them for another year. If you like to spend time outdoors or if you have children who play in the yard, apply broad-spectrum insect repellent to keep them away. Going outdoors when there is a breeze blowing helps; the wind dissipates the gnat swarm so you can enjoy your yard.

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