Buffalo gnats, also known as black flies and turkey gnats, become a nuisance as they swam around people. Some female buffalo flies also bite, causing minor bleeding, swelling, itching and irritation.
Buffalo gnats have 1/8-inch, blackish gray or yellow bodies. They have broad clear wings, large round eyes and a humpbacked appearance. They usually appear in large numbers in spring and early summer.
Personal insect repellents that contain DEET, citronella oil, ethyl hexanediol or dimathyl phtalate provide protection against buffalo gnats for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Buffalo gnats sometimes still bite hosts who use insect repellents, however.
Unpainted aluminum attracts buffalo gnats, and smearing a thin film of fuel oil on the material traps the flies. A hat from unpainted aluminum would provide protection from buffalo gnats. A hat with fine mesh netting over a person's face and shoulders also helps prevent bites.