MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Black flies are such annoying biters that most people would rather be bitten by a mosquito. Unfortunately, the pesky pests are about to appear throughout the state in large numbers.

Breeding conditions have been ideal for the bugs, which are also known as biting gnats or buffalo gnats.

Mike McLean is with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. He says black flies breed in running water, which usually makes it easier to target and control them. But with the excess floodwaters this year, bacteria that are poured into rivers to kill the flies are being diluted.

That means the population could explode this year. It's already happened in northern Minnesota, where swarms were so thick that some loons abandoned their nests to flee the bugs.