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 a few 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. One may also protect oneself by covering the body with clothing. A fencing mask will impede the gnats while still allowing the wearer to see. And make sure when your holding something over your head like a coat put your hands on the inside of the coat not the outside.