SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Warmer weather brings many of us outdoors, but this year gnats, flies, and other insects are breaking into the enjoyment of the great outdoors. The wet spring is part of the problem. All that water is attracting insects, even in our backyards.
Gnats are attracted to fungus and molds near bodies of water and those who have any leftover flood water are certainly noticing the increase in insects.
“I don’t let it bother me but it gets really annoying,” said Cindy Moreno,
a Sioux city resident.
Moreno is a cross country runner, and she is well aware of the gnats swarming around her during her runs.
“Usually five minutes into my run, there will be one or two then they will be all around me. It’s hard to concentrate but I try to push it so I can finish my race and my workout,” said Moreno.
Black gnats are at an all-time high in Iowa during the warmer months. Insect experts say it is all because of the flooding the state has seen this year.
“They’re actually attracted to the water but they also attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale, and also the smells of our skin,” said Katelyn Brinkerhoff a Horticulture Educator for Iowa State University.
There are ways to protect yourself and your family from the bugs while you’re out in the yard or at the campground this summer
“The foggers help out quite a bit. They give you a protective barrier around so if you’re doing outside activities, fog first that way it will give you that protective barrier,” said Chuck Littsen an associate at Bomgaars.
You can also apply protection directly to your skin and clothing.
“But if you use scents like vanilla, that will actually keep them away. The lighter clothing that you wear can also help,” said Brinkerhoff.
So before you head outside, clip on your repellant or lather up with spray, lotion or another ointment that will help keep the bugs away.
“I usually put bug spray on before I go out, especially in this heat around this time of day that when most of the bugs come out especially gnats,” said Moreno.
If you’re just fed up with the swarms of gnats, Brinkerhoff says there is an end in sight. Experts say expects the gnat population to start to going down around mid-July.