MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District says gnats are really bad in some parts of the south metro.

The agency has been sweeping neighborhoods for gnats since last week, according to MMCD public affairs coordinator Alex Carlson. They then take them back to the lab to find out where they’re coming from so they can treat those rivers and streams.

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“We had a crew doing a sweep over here today. This is in Bloomington, and they found about a dozen black flies in their net,” Carlson said. “We go on a bridge and we dump a larvicide into the water that specifically targets the black fly larva.”

For the first time this year, they’ve treated for biting gnats. They don’t carry diseases, but can leave behind welts.

(credit: CBS)

“They kind of gnaw at the skin to get to the blood, and then they just leave,” Carlson said. “They’re really kind of nasty little bugs.”

MMCD says people are reporting a lot of them in places like Savage, Burnsville, Shakopee, Prior Lake and Bloomington.

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“Bug spray helps,” Carlson said. “It doesn’t work for everybody, so try different types is what we recommend.”

Cover up, especially your head and neck. Skip scents and perfumes, and avoid hotspots during peak afternoon hours.

Windy, cooler days will help — although we’re almost out of the woods.

“Black flies have about a two-to-three-week lifespan,” Carlson said. “For those people who are suffering right now, the good news is hopefully you won’t have to suffer for too longer.”

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MMCD officials say you can contact them if the gnats are bad in your area. It helps them find and treat the source.

Erin Hassanzadeh