Gnat Bites: Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention Tips

You were sitting in your lawn relaxing and dozed off a bit, only to wake to some insect sting. You quickly hit the insect and realized that it was a gnat. 

But did you even know that gnats bite? Most of us assume that gnats are harmless creatures, right?

Anyways, now that you have got bitten by a gnat, you need to treat it. 

Important Note: If you're tired of pests and want a reliable solution, then you should definitely consider seeking help from a professional pest control company. DIY solutions can be effective, but if you're dealing with a significant pest infestation, you don't want to rely solely on DIY methods. Pest control companies typically don't charge huge fees. You can fill out this form to receive free quotes from the top local pest control companies, and compare the quotes and see for yourself. Then, finally, your pest problems will be eliminated for good.

So read this article to know everything about gnat bites how to treat them. As a bonus, we have answered some interesting questions about whether gnats bite dogs or cats, when they are most active, and much more. So let’s find out about them now. 

What Are Biting Gnats?

Symptoms of Gnat Bites

First, let us make clear that not all gnats species bite. 

Yes, your instinct was right. Most of the gnats species don’t bite and are harmless. 

But some species like sand gnats, deer flies, buffalo gnats bite humans and feed on the blood. Usually, female gnats bite humans or even pets and suck blood. 

When most gnats feed on nectar, decaying matter, fruits, or veggies, what makes gnats bite and feed on blood?

Well, female gnats bite the host and suck blood to lay viable eggs. So if gnats bite, it does mainly for the breeding process.

What Do Gnat Bites Look Like?

Gnats bites are similar to mosquito bites. They cause small, red lumps that are painful and itchy. Rarely gnats bite cause alarming swell ups or fluid-filled blisters. 

In fact, biting gnats don’t break your skin. Rather they use their cutting teeth to puncture and cut the host skin open and then suck the blood directly into their digestive system

Also, they inject an anti-clotting agent into the wound to prevent the blood from quickly clotting. This makes them feed on more blood. 

This is why gnats bites are more painful than mosquito bites. 

The wounded area becomes much itchy and if you keep on scratching it, then you increase the risk of the wound getting infected with secondary bacterial infection or the transmission of infectious diseases carried by the biting gnat. 

So if you are bit by a gnat, then immediately treat it.

This takes us to the next part of the article, how to treat gnat bites.

How To Treat Gnat Bites?

What Do Gnat Bites Look Like?

Gnat bites often show minor reactions, which can be treated at home. However, if the symptoms are severe, seek medical attention. 

Below, we have listed some ways to treat gnat bites at home.

1. Wash the wounded area with soap and water

This is the first step. Gently clean the wound with mild soap and water. This cleans the area and reduces the itching. Once you are done washing it, carefully dry the affected area with a cloth. 

2. Cold compress

After washing the wound area, apply a cold press to ease the irritation and swelling if the irritation persists. 

You can make the cold compress easily at home.

Some of our ideas are

  • Take a cotton cloth or towel soak in cold water
  • Use ice cubes in a plastic bag
  • Frozen bag of fruits or vegetables with a moist cloth wrapped around the bag
  • Wrap an ice pack in a moist towel

Apply the cold compress for at least 10minutes at a time to ease the itchiness. You can do it several times a day. But never apply ice directly on the wounded area.

3. Use anti-itching cream

If the itching persists, try using anti-itching creams on the affected area. Anti-itch creams are made of corticosteroids which helps in putting down the irritation, redness, and itchiness caused by gnat bites. Also, read the directions before using the cream or ointments. 

4. Use antihistamines

If you are allergic to gnat bites, you can treat yourself with antihistamines. This medicine treats allergic reactions to insect bites and relieves you from irritation and itchiness. 

5. Elevate the affected area

If gnats have bitten your legs or hands, then try keeping the body part in an elevated position. This helps blood move from the wounded area, and thus the swelling would stop. 

You must seek medical attention if the gnats have bitten around your eyes or mouth. Or if the symptoms worsen even after one week. 

However, if you are too allergic to gnats and experience severe symptoms like breathing trouble, wheezing, swollen throat, eyelids or lips, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, then go to the hospital immediately.

Do Gnats Bite At Night?

In general, gnats are seen more active during the day, hovering around near any place where food is available. However, they also come out at night, and chances are to bite you even at night. So the answer is yes to the question.

Do Gnats Bite Dogs/Cats?

Gnat Bite

Yes, the biting gnats bite humans and your pets or cattle for blood. These tiny gnats do not just annoy humans but also your pet animals. 

If you notice your pet scratching their body often, it might be due to a gnat bite. Also, the small wounds caused by gnats are not visible in your pets unless the wound becomes severe and makes your pets ill. 

Do Gnats Bite You When You Are In Bed?

Yes, gnats may bite you when you are in bed. 

If you wonder why gnats bite you when you are in bed, then it might be due to the presence of food in your room. 

Remember, gnats don’t invade your bedroom without any reason. 

If you have any forgotten food leftovers or watered indoor plants in your bedroom or living room, then these gnats try to take advantage and make a nuisance in your sleeping space. 

So if you wake up in the morning with tiny red bumps on your arms, chances are they are not bed bugs but gnats.

How To Prevent Gnat Bites?

By following the below-given tips, you can prevent gnat bites. 

Cover up

The biting gnats like sand gnats, buffalo gnats, deer gnats often dwell outside your house. If you plan to go outdoors where insects like gnats actively roam around, wear long sleeves and trousers. Gnats even bite your face so wear a face mask and even closed shoes to cover your feet completely. 

Also, some researchers point out that gnats are more attracted to dark-colored clothes than light ones. So try wearing light-colored clothes when you are outdoors. 

Insect repellant

Invest in an insect repellant that contains 50% DEET because it can repel gnats. Try applying the insect repellant to exposed skin. If you want to go natural, apply lemon eucalyptus oil on your skin to repel gnats.

Avoid water bodies

The biting gnats are often found near ponds, swamps, marshes, and streams. So avoid visiting these places. In unavoidable situations, apply insect repellant and go. 

Avoid strong-smelling scents

Gnats love fruity flower scents. This strong smell may attract gnats if you spray scents in your clothes. 

Install window screens

By installing window screens, you can avoid gnats entering your houses. 


Gnats bites are painful and annoying. The bite marks and the symptoms would go away within a week. If the wound is still not healing or if the allergy persists, we recommend you seek proper medical attention without delay. 

However, you can avoid such occasions by taking preventive measures. Thanks for reading this article. Cheers!

Photo of author


Daniel White
I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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