Hastings Sees Record Numbers of Aggressive, Biting Gnats

May 18, 2018 08:44 PM

It's generally accepted that biting bugs are just a part of spending time outside during the warm months. But in Hastings, an explosion of aggressive, biting gnats has the community buzzing and many itching for relief.

"It's horrific. You brush the back of your hand on their head and its pure blood," Holly Fick said, who runs Kids Will Be Kids Child Care out of her home. 


Fick said in the 17 years she's worked in the daycare business, she's never been so scared to send the children she's watching outside to play. A parent of one of the children Fick cares for gave us permission to use photos of the more than dozen bites on her daughter's neck that she says seemed to happen in an instant.

"I've never seen anything like it, it is terrible it happens so quickly you don't even know what's going on," Fick said.

Fick said she's going to try using essential oils with parent's permission to try and keep the bugs at bay.

"It's a bit of a catch 22 what are you supposed to do?" she said.

At Hastings Veterinary Clinic, workers said they have been flooded with at least 20 calls a day from people worried about the bite marks showing up on their pets.

"This year for some reason it has been a lot more pronounced," veterinarian Tony Cologgi said.

Cologgi said the bites are normally harmless and dogs aren't bothered by them. He said pet owners should consider using flea and tick medication because many also contain repellents that could help.

"Usually these things will fade away over the course of a few days but when you first see them, they are really pronounced," he said.

The city of Hastings is also getting calls about this. A spokesperson said the city has contacted the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District to see what can be done and they're encouraging concerned residents to do the same. 

Mike McLean with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District said he's getting reports of similar swarms of these aggressive, biting gnats in several communities along rivers across Minnesota.

McLean said the bugs hatch in those areas and normally his agency can treat with chemicals to prevent the gnats from hatching. But, he said this year's long winter and late snowfall caused high revel levels that prevented the agency from treating. He also said the good news is the gnats don't usually stay around very long, and their numbers should fall within a few days.


Matt Belanger

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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