While checking on my yard trees, I noticed a tiny swarm of gnats above one small maple that has a metal cup holder stake used to help train the trunk straighter. Approximate swarm size of 20 - 30 gnats and they hovered about 6 inches above the top of the cup holder.
I know there's studies on the phenomena of swarm behavior, and out of curiosity as to what they would do I put my hand a couple inches above the cup holder. The little swarm repeatedly moved straight upwards 3-4 inches then returned to the original spot as soon as I removed my hand. When I raised my hand up towards the swarm they would move higher and higher and also follow my hand back down as I lowered it. No matter how high I raised my hands if I removed it quickly they returned immediately to the original location. I checked back a half hour later and they are still there and acted the same way.
What might be the reason for that specific preferred location of the swarm? I has been cloudy and humid all morning and I wonder if the metal of the cup holder is changing the air temperature or some other quality that far above itself? I did also notice a stronger sweet smell of the clover in that location but do have clover all over the yard. My other trees, including a very similar sized young maple but without any support next to it, have no swarms so the metal cup holder perhaps is a correlating factor?
I tried adding a picture for reference but can't get it to upload.