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The Twin Cities is currently dealing with a gnat problem

The metro area is getting blanketed by biters.
Picture of a wood gnat, because we couldn't find a picture of a buffalo gnat...

Picture of a wood gnat, because we couldn't find a picture of a buffalo gnat...

Are you currently dealing with a number of itchy, angry welts after finally being able to join a stretch of hot weather? 

If so, you're not alone, but it's not the perennial culprit – the mosquito – that's to blame, but rather an explosion of a variety of gnats that are plaguing the metro area.

You can blame the heavy winter snow and subsequent spring rain for proliferation of the gnats, otherwise known as black flies, with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) remarking on Facebook that they've been finding it difficult to carry out their usual treatment programs.

"We've been unable to treat in some places due to high water and flow levels in local rivers, especially the Minnesota and Mississippi," it said.

"We haven’t always been able to treat where and when we want to."

Speaking to the Star Tribune, the MMCD notes that while Minnesota has 15 types of black flies, the one currently "hammering us" at this moment is known as the buffalo gnat, which seem to have a stronger resistance to typical insect repellents.

John Walz, the MMCD black fly control coordinator, told the newspaper that the flies have been able to reach adulthood since river treatment was impossible in early May, but they're hoping to kill off further hatching when river levels have dropped enough.

The MMCD website says it uses a naturally-occurring soil bacteria to kill off larval black flies while they're still in the water.

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While the gnats don't transmit any diseases, but Minnesota Department of Health vector-borne disease supervisor Dave Neitzel told the Mankato Free Press they're "aggressive little buggers."

And what about the state bird, the mosquito? Well guess what, they're on their way too thanks to a wet May followed by a steamy June that is creating the stagnant condition that helps them proliferate.

So be prepared to grab some DEET, don the baggy clothing and hide behind mesh screens, because we're in for a buggy summer.

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