Dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents have taken to Facebook to voice concerns about an alleged gnat problem in Central Park, while Santa Clarita city officials said their initial inspection failed to find an infestation.
Several Santa Clarita residents posted comments noting the gnats disrupted their Concerts in the Park experience, an annual summer concert series hosted by Santa Clarita on Saturdays.
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“We went to Concerts in the Park and set up our easy-up earlier in the day and we were just walking through clouds of (gnats),” said Stacy Fortner, of Valencia. “It seemed like there were millions and millions of gnats. When you looked down at your legs, they just covered your legs…. When I put it out to the public on the Santa Clarita Community page (on Facebook), the response was overwhelming.”
Gail Morgan, spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita, said the city’s director of parks, recreation and community service “did not notice an abundance of gnats,” and confirmed a Vector Control technician performed an inspection on Wednesday.
“He did a cursory review of the park and said that there are no mosquitoes, no mosquito traps and no standing water to attract them,” Morgan said. “He didn’t see any problem just taking a cursory view, but said he would specifically check for gnats (Thursday).”
A technician from the Los Angeles County Vector Control District’s Sylmar office reportedly performed an inspection at the park Wednesday morning following a request from Fortner, and spoke with park officials about the problem, she said.
The technician offered to go to the park and create a report on his findings, Fortner added.
“I spoke to (him) this morning,” she said. “When he did his inspection, he said they covered his face, were in his nose, his hands were covered, his legs were covered. They have a gnat issue.”
The technician, who is a Saugus resident, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.
The official mentioned overwatering and a cluttered drainage system as part of the problem, which would make a breeding ground for gnats, Fortner said.
Vector Control officials confirmed their technician performed an inspection at Central Park Wednesday morning, but stated they only handle mosquito problems and would be unable to offer a solution to a gnat problem.
“One of my technicians is going to bring some of the gnats back to the lab so we can identify them, but they’re not mosquitos,” said Wes Collins, operations supervisor at Vector Control’s Sylmar office. “Once we identify them, we can let the park know what type of gnats they are and they can take the appropriate action.”
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