FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — Swarms of gnats are really bugging people along Florida’s Panhandle.

Experts say humidity and unseasonably heavy rains have created ideal breeding conditions this month for insects called face gnats across northwest Florida.

Larry Williams of the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service tells The Northwest Florida Daily News ( ) that unlike the region’s mosquitoes, the gnats are daytime fliers.

Health officials say gnats don’t pose public health risks like mosquitoes because they don’t bite or spread diseases. However, the insects can be extremely irritating when they swarm people trying to enjoy an outdoor activity. Experts recommend wearing insect repellent to keep gnats away.

Okaloosa County Mosquito Control Director Scott Henson says the same pesticides being used to control mosquitoes after the rains should help kill off the gnats as well.

Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.),

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