Buffalo gnats, also called black flies, belong to the Simuliidae family. The flying insects drink the blood of humans and animals. Bites often occur on the nostrils, wrists, nose, around and eyes and exposed body skin. The bites cause localized swelling, pain and itching. Some individuals may suffer an allergic reaction and suffer severe swelling. Large swarms of the insects will kill poultry or livestock. Stricken animals usually experience an allergic reaction to the buffalo gnat's bite, which causes anaphylactic shock. Buffalo gnats also transmit diseases to poultry.
Stay indoors during the daytime. Buffalo gnats feed during day light hours only.
Wear long sleeves, pants, boots and a hat outside. Avoid exposing skin to the buffalo gnats. Choose clothes that offer a light color which helps deter the buffalo gnats. Consider treating clothing with a permethrin based pesticide.
Apply a pesticide repellent that contains DEET to the skin. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions. Reapply the product every two to three hours.
Place chickens in a fly proof, dark poultry house during the daylight when the buffalo gnats swarm. Hang fans in the poultry house to help cool and circulate the air.
Apply permethrin-based fly control products to livestock and poultry to protect them from the bites of the buffalo gnat. Follow the directions on the label for application.