The distinguishing feature of snow gnats is they enjoy stinging people for no reason whatsoever, similar to red ants. This is shown when Violet and Klaus Baudelaire are making a trip up the Mortmain Mountains. The gnats' stingers contain mild poison which may kill, with a couple of stings, a small animal.
There are two primary ways to avoid being stung:
- The easiest way is to create smoke by starting a fire. Snow gnats do not like smoke and will flee an area that has or recently has had smoke. For example, snow gnats fled the Valley of Four Drafts when the V.F.D. Headquarters there were burned down.
- The other way is by covering the body with clothing. A fencing mask will impede the gnats while still allowing the wearer to see. If holding an item to cover the head, the wearer should make sure their hands are on the inside and not the outside of the item.