They’re Back!


After an unusually wet winter and spring, buffalo gnats are back on the Northside.


The pests are not only a nuisance, but a painful reminder for Northsiders to douse themselves in bug spray, put on netting or long sleeves before going outside.

The most common symptoms of buffalo gnat bites are swelling, knots and itching.

According to Mississippi State University, the gnats breed in “fastmoving water or streams and rivers.”

The university states that they’re not usually a problem in the Magnolia State but reports there have been “particularly bad outbreak(s) recently in communities along the Pearl River in central Mississippi.”

The bugs typically can be encountered from March to June and are especially bad following heavy rainy seasons like the ones that occurred in winter 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Usually, black flies are a nuisance to people working or playing outdoors and bite around the head and neck.

Many Northsiders have reported being bitten. “Some people can’t sleep because it itches so much,” Jean Medley told the Sun previously. “They take Benedryl and a lot of people say to start with ice (to keep the swelling down).”

Ways to prevent you, your pets and animals from being bitten is to remain indoors when possible, provide shelters for poultry and create screen enclosures for birds.

“Many of these products contain the active ingredient permethrin… Repellents containing DEET have been reported effective for humans but may need to be reapplied frequently, and wearing light-colored clothing may help keep the gnats away,” Mississippi State’s website states.

Adult flies generally only live four to five weeks and should go away when the hot summer months arrive.


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