Gnat attack: Why the bugs are so bad now

School is out and summer is in full swing, along with those pesky gnats.

“My son and I came out here to enjoy the sun,” said Haley Bivens, a mother at McManus Park in Bettendorf. “We haven’t even been here for a half hour at the most and it already seems like I have to brush these bugs off my arms, off my clothes, it’s insane.”

After a few weeks of rain to help them along, these tiny flying bugs are making it very difficult for anyone to enjoy the beautiful weather.

“The black flies, the biting gnats, only have one hatch a year, and they’re gone in about three to four weeks,” said Duane Gissel, horticulturist at the ISU Extension Outreach in Scott County. “The eye gnats could be around for a little bit longer, but typically four to six weeks from now I expect we’ll have relief.”

Unlike mosquitoes, which lay eggs in stagnant water, gnats lay their eggs in creeks and rivers where water moves.

This is the time of year when those eggs hatch.

Gissel said the typical bug spray you buy at a grocery store isn’t going to work on the gnats. He said to try vanilla (without cornstarch – read the label) or Absorbine Jr.

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