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GNATS : Sylvicola

Also see MIDGES index.asp?pageid=731618

Is a GNAT a MIDGE? Yes and no. Common parlance may tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they shouldn't. The Content Authority website clarifies the differences. (There are  more details on their website).

A gnat typically refers to a small, two-winged fly that belongs to the family Culicidae. These insects are often found near water and can be a nuisance to humans and animals alike. They are known for their painful bites and their ability to carry diseases such as malaria and Zika virus.

A midge, on the other hand, is a type of small fly that belongs to the family Chironomidae. These insects are often found near bodies of water and are known for their swarming behavior. While midges do not bite humans, they can be a nuisance when they swarm in large numbers.

There are four types of gnat which we are likely to find two here. Nature Spot tells us that they are difficult to tell apart;  S. cinctus is believed to be the most common but it cannot be distinguished from S. fenestralis without gen det. 

These are window or wood gnats, the names reflecting where they are found and the names quite interchangeable. They are often found inside buildings or trying to get in or out of windows, hence "window gnat". Their colouration is similar to many flies, but it is noticeably more spindly than say, the horsefly / cleg. 

Gnats can "bite" you and create very unpleasant itchy wounds. Your first action is to simply wash them with soap, water and an antiseptic to clean the wound and minimise the chances of a bacterial infection. Then apply an over-the-counter cream which is usually enough to tackle this until the bite has healed.

One of the key signs of bacterial infections developing are pus-filled blisters and you should see a doctor if these do crop up in the area where you’ve been bitten.

Here is one settled on a large daisy.

And another with a friend. Did you notice the green aphid too?

BPCA : https://bpca.org.uk/a-z-of-pest-advice/gnat-control-how-to-get-rid-of-gnats-bpca-a-z-of-pests/189022#:~:text=The%20Window%20Gnat%20tends%20to%20stay%20on%20windows,administer%20a%20professional%20treatment%20to%20solve%20the%20problem.

CONTENT AUTHORITY website : https://thecontentauthority.com/blog/gnat-vs-midge

NATURE SPOT : https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/sylvicola

PUSH DOCTOR : https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/what-we-treat/insect-bites-stings/gnat-bites

UK NATURE : https://uknature.co.uk/flies/s.cinctus-info

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