They are extremely annoying, and people mistakenly refer to them as gnats, but the extremely small pests flying everywhere in the local area have actually been biting midges.
“The bites of biting midges inflict a burning sensation and can cause different reactions in humans, ranging from a small reddish welt at the bite site to local allergic reactions that cause significant itching,” according to Purdue Extension Entomology, which goes on to state “Biting midges are extremely annoying, but none are known to transmit disease agents to humans in the U.S.”
Unfortunately, midges are hard to battle. Some people like to use vanilla or essential oils as a repellent. Commercial bug sprays do little to combat them, experts say. Because these pests are small enough to get through screens covering windows, you really need to keep your windows shut. Their smallness means they can’t handle much of a breeze, though, so turning on a fan may be the most helpful if you’re planning an evening outside on the patio or deck.