However, in Southeast Georgia, we have a creature that can rival the mosquito in viciousness and persistence. It will nearly drive you crazy when you get a swarm of them around your head.
Who are they? They are the Sand Gnat! Run! By the way, they are commonly called, “Flying Teeth.”
So why does it hurt like mad when a gnat takes a meal from your arm or, even worse, your scalp? The secret is in the mouth parts. Sand gnats don’t just puncture your skin like mosquitoes do. Instead they rip it open using sharp cutting teeth located on the mandible. After inserting two sharp, sword-like blades into the skin as anchors, the sand gnat uses the cutting teeth to rip up the skin and get the blood flowing. As if that weren’t enough, the gnat then squirts a chemical into the open wound to inhibit blood clotting. The tiny pool of blood that forms is then sucked up through a straw-like structure called the proboscis. Some human victims have allergic reactions to the chemical and must endure itchy red spots or even swollen welts.
For some unknown reason, our minor league baseball team selected the Sand Gnat as their mascot. Personally, I would not have chosen the critter that most want to obliterate from the planet. But that’s just me.