Minnesota gnats create plenty of buzz this spring

No matter where you go, it doesn’t seem anyone can get away from the tiny bugs.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2019 at 4:27 PM CDT
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Minnesota. (KEYC) - Employees at Scheels in Mankato can go hours, days, even months without somebody asking for bug spray.

That all changed just a few short weeks ago and ever since, the store has been abuzz.

“It might literally be hundreds that we get asked for it. Personally, probably dozens a day that I get asked where is bug soother where is the gnat spray,” explained Mankato Scheels Store Leader Brandon Scheel.

It seems everywhere you go people are talking about, and swatting away, the gnats!

They are everywhere.

In town, out of town, by the water, away from the water... you can't escape them because this year's conditions were ideal for reproducing.

“People are suffering from black flies mainly and midges this spring due to our heavy rainfalls in the spring," said Gary Wyatt from the University of Minnesota Extension. "Black flies are usually found along running water or moving water, streams, waterways and ditches and that’s why we are seeing such a big population this year.”

A big population can cause a big–time annoyance.

In fact, so many people are getting bitten that gnat repellent at local retailers have been flying off the shelves so fast stores can’t keep up.

“Me and two of my kids made a 10–hour round trip on Friday to pick this up from Southern Iowa so we would have it in stock Saturday morning,” said Scheel.

If you don't want to use spray or other bug repellent remedies, how can you stop attracting gnats?

Let's just say you would have to stop breathing.

“Black flies are attracted to people because they breathe out CO2 or carbon dioxide and they need blood for reproduction. So that’s the reason they are attracted to our head and facial areas," explained Wyatt. "Certainly wear a cap, wear long sleeved shirts and wear pants.”

Hopefully the gnats die off soon. Then we’ll have mosquitos to look forward to here in Minnesota.

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