Tiny flying stinging insects
This post appears here because I have no image, other than the one I describe. My impression is that ID Request is reserved for posts requesting identification accompanied by a photograph.
While digging (a french drain) in loose pine straw, mulch, near the base of a small maple tree, my son, my wife, the cat, and I were all stung by tiny swarming insects which none of us were able to see clearly (in part, for running). I know that they are very small, perhaps smaller than a housefly, and dark in color, and that they apparently can sting through our light clothing. (I was stung through a T-shirt, and my wife was stung twice through her sweatpants. The cat was not clothed, and the creature that bit my son did so, apparently, having made its way inside his shirt. The wounds that the boy and I received, as well as the cat's, have subsided. My wife continues to deal with pain and spectacular welting.) I have to remove the tree, and will need to control the pest, given its proximity to our driveway, and would like any advice about a) what it might be, and b) the best way to remove it responsibly.
I am in Central Virginia, in an area of rolling hills, near a creek (the creek concerns me a great deal in connection with the use of pesticides), and the tree is at the edge of the wood. There is slash and some loose fill in the immediate vicinity, as the house is recently built. The pine straw is old and dry and the dirt near the base of the tree has been disturbed in the construction, and is fairly dry and dusty. That is all the detail I can think to give.