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Those Pesky Little Black Flies

Those Pesky Little Black Flies

By Lee S. Yudin, Ph.D.
August 28, 1999

Due to the many phone calls I have received from island residents over the past couple of weeks concerning “Those Little Black Flies,” it is time once again to write about these little pests that can be such a big problem. Black-winged Fungus Gnat is the common name of these pesky flies. A gnat, being a true fly, has only one pair of wings.

            The majority of callers want to know how to control these gnats. Some wonder if the gnats are harmful if accidentally swallowed. Others question whether gnats can cause allergic skin reactions or even ocular infections if they get into their eyes. There are many other homeowners that have similar questions.

            Let’s take the easy question first. No, they are not harmful if you happen to swallow them or digest them with some of your food. Most people have no idea the percent of insects they eat, on a daily bases, in the fresh and processed food we all consume. There are some cultures where insects make up a very large percent of the diet.

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