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Author Topic: Buffalo gnat control?  (Read 8028 times)

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Buffalo gnat control?
« on: May 19, 2011, 03:46:51 AM »
I\'m up late, trying to figure out where to go from here.

To make a long story short, I lost 45 of my 52 outside birds [which included all my Ameraucanas] today; they went from obviously healthy to dead or dieing over the course of the day. I took 3 to the state lab, but a phone call to my neighbor resulted in the information that it was buffalo gnats. I had seen them on my dead and dieing, but thought they had gathered there after the birds went down.

He went out to find them killing his brooder chicks, and was going back out to put up a big fan to blow the gnats clear of the brooder. He said they crawl into the beaks through the nostrils and enter the airways; that people in this area have lost entire flocks before due to them. Another nearby person said spraying chlorine bleach in the coops repels them........................ that seems a little severe to the birds respiratory to me.

I dusted the survivors with Sevin, but of course not their faces. Then I hung glass bottles of chlorine, with holes punched in the lids, in a coop and a portable breeding pen. I have 6 fairly healthy, and one near dead, birds to see if this is effective. I have 14 chicks hatched last week still inside; plus a bator with 42 eggs. Any suggestions for control so that I can have them outside someday?  

Mike Gilbert

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 09:09:17 AM »
That is really heartbreaking.   We sometimes get them here.
The best defense is dust, and that means keep them out of outside pens on grass.  Or if outside, make sure it is on dirt so they can scratch.   It is possible to make a repellent from vanilla extract, but you have to apply it at least twice a day, and it just is not worth the effort and cost.  God made chickens to love dirt and dust for a reason - for their own protection.  I raise mine in a dusty coop, and it is effective not only against gnats, but also mosquitoes and other flying insects.  I do let them outside, but they can get back in if they need to, and the insects stop at the door.

Beth C

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 10:04:11 AM »
I am so sorry, Steve - that is just horrible...

greeneggsandham

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011, 10:35:43 PM »
Dang, I didn\'t know those gnats could do that.  I believe we had them here last spring.  They were biting gnats, I know that.  I kept wondering what was causing my hens to shake their heads all the time.  It was the gnats.  But they did not seem to be here in very large numbers.

What a bummer.  Wish I had some suggestions.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 12:22:27 AM »
One of the last 2 EEs died today, but a blue Ameraucana hen and sport white Freedom Ranger pullet turned up loose and alive. Evidently the two had flown over the pen. The Am had hid her head under a lumber pile and survived, but did not know how to back out.................. at least she was easy to catch. :p The Freedom Ranger sought refuge under a junked jeep at the other end of the building I have my chickens penned to.

A trip to Walmart netted me a high velocity fan for under $40. By the time I got back, the gnats were out in force. The gnats hate the dark. My now 7 survivors had learned to hide in the dark; 4 were in nest boxes, 3 picked a corner and dug a dust bath. I hooked the fan up and drove the girls from their refuges. Within minutes they found the fan and were happily standing in front of it, gnat free. I replaced my bug zapper;  the gnats never got near it, but its frying about 10 mosquitoes a minute right now.  :D  I also purchased the largest tiki lantern I saw and a gallon of citronella oil, but have not tried it.

Since the buffalo gnats disappear at dusk and return in the morning, the fan is on a timer.

P.S. No repellents I tried worked. I poured straight vanilla in my hand and rubbed over my own and the one EE\'s head. It lasted less than 15 minutes.

Beth C

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 09:46:57 AM »
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a blue Ameraucana hen and sport white Freedom Ranger pullet turned up loose and alive


Great news!

Have you talked with your extension agent yet? Some areas where they\'re really bad have control programs you can participate in. I know PA has a very aggressive one.

Guest

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 01:30:34 PM »
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Have you talked with your extension agent yet?


I\'m not sure there is one in this county; I talked to one in the next county over many years ago about another problem...................... he was a joke....................... I found my answers in an encylopedia and a feed store owner.

According to the doctor at the state lab [who, by the way, had found nothing wrong with the birds yet when I called him and told him I had found the cause myself] there is nothing you can do to control them if you live near water. From what I\'ve read on the internet, treating the water they hatch is from is all that works effectively. I doubt that dumping a bottle of chemicals in the Mississippi Rv will help much.

The surviving chickens had already figured out to that they are safe staying behind the fan. There is a fair breeze today; aside from swarms behind wind breaks, they are broken up into scattered individuals instead of small black clouds. Because my deck is protected from the breeze, there was a small group that met me as soon as I went outside. I lit the tiki lantern and they disappeared. Also, the bottom two inches of my new bug zapper was filled with either fried mosquitoes or gnats................ my chickens enjoyed the treat when I cleaned it out.  :)

jeeperspeepers-r4us

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 12:39:03 PM »
FL has gnats & misquitos, we use an insect fogger a couple times a day when they are bad.
They hide in the grass, so keep it mowned short

Beth C

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 08:27:41 AM »
Yeah, the treatment only seems to be effective if it\'s done on a state wide or at least regional scale. PA is aggressive because fishing is a big deal and the little beasts harass the anglers.

I hear you on the extension service. We had a great one back home, so Onslow County was a real culture shock - seems to exist primarily to help keep flowers pretty.  :rolleyes: We don\'t even have a real county fair, basically a carnival. But fortunately there\'s a great guy over in Duplin County that I can call on.

Quote
the bottom two inches of my new bug zapper was filled with either fried mosquitoes or gnats................ my chickens enjoyed the treat when I cleaned it out.  


Ah, poetic justice!






Guest

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 01:31:49 PM »
My neighbor reported loosing a few more birds; they were older hens that liked to bask in the sun in the afternoon and evidently got caught too far from the safety of his fan protected coop.

The fan, by the way, works perfectly for me, and even kills a few as they get sucked through it; my 7 survivors usually stay either right behind it or in front of it. The youngest pullet came running out thinking I might toss treats at the far end of the pen.................. and ran back even faster. LOL

The bug zapper is completely plugged every day by 10 A.M. now. I\'ve discovered that bug band bracelets work to some degeee for myself. I gardened with them on yesterday, and had to raise them near my face occassionally, but I know they were working................................. I had just enough time to take them off and wash my hands and face before heading to a meeting yesterday, and with them off, a swarm was on me before I got to my van. They don\'t bite me [thank you God] but I inhale them and they make my throat scratchy and voice hoarse. Others tell me they get bit and it\'s quite painful. The bracelets have a strong citronella smell, so I need to find a long lasting citronella spray for my pens.

I also searched a couple of places for citronella geranium plants, I used to grow them for sale when I was employed as a greenhouse grower, but didn\'t find any. I like their aroma, but many complained they stank, and the owner would only let me grow a couple of hundred due to the complaints. They were one of the few plants that always sold out completely though. The ones buying them said they placed them around patioes and decks for mosquito free evenings, and I used them myself for the same.      

greeneggsandham

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2011, 11:34:56 PM »
Quote from: SteveH
My neighbor reported loosing a few more birds; they were older hens that liked to bask in the sun in the afternoon and evidently got caught too far from the safety of his fan protected coop.

The fan, by the way, works perfectly for me, and even kills a few as they get sucked through it; my 7 survivors usually stay either right behind it or in front of it. The youngest pullet came running out thinking I might toss treats at the far end of the pen.................. and ran back even faster. LOL

The bug zapper is completely plugged every day by 10 A.M. now. I\'ve discovered that bug band bracelets work to some degeee for myself. I gardened with them on yesterday, and had to raise them near my face occassionally, but I know they were working................................. I had just enough time to take them off and wash my hands and face before heading to a meeting yesterday, and with them off, a swarm was on me before I got to my van. They don\'t bite me [thank you God] but I inhale them and they make my throat scratchy and voice hoarse. Others tell me they get bit and it\'s quite painful. The bracelets have a strong citronella smell, so I need to find a long lasting citronella spray for my pens.

I also searched a couple of places for citronella geranium plants, I used to grow them for sale when I was employed as a greenhouse grower, but didn\'t find any. I like their aroma, but many complained they stank, and the owner would only let me grow a couple of hundred due to the complaints. They were one of the few plants that always sold out completely though. The ones buying them said they placed them around patioes and decks for mosquito free evenings, and I used them myself for the same.      


That gives me an idea.  If you had a citronella scent or oil, why not apply it to a cloth attached to the hen?  I have some hen aprons here and I\'m thinking that just may be the thing if I have to deal with those gnats here.
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 01:54:27 AM »

http://www.mosquitobarrier.com//

Someone on another forum was enquiring about the product found at this link. It\'s just garlic juice, but better than any garlic spray I ever tried. According to the info, one of the only four retailers in my state was located 16 miles from me. Turned out he was actually a custom applicator, not a retailer, but furnishes it to a greenhouse that retails it just 4 miles farther away.

The guy was honest enough to say he had not yet discovered if it works on blackflies/buffalo gnats, as advertized, but it\'s great on ticks and mosquitoes. His 2010 customers are back this year, so far they\'re mostly park districts and people wanting a safe spray for their recreation areas. He said to respray in 30 days, or after 3 inches of rain, which ever came first. He also recommended adding canola oil and Palmolive dish soap to the mix for added punch. A quart is just under $30 and treats about 1.25 acres when mixed at 3 oz per gallon of water. I mixed 2 gallons and sprayed a coop, the pen, about 50 feet around the pen, my deck, and around the house. My poor 7 chickens left the safety of their fan shortly after I sprayed......................... if it lasts even half as long as advertized I\'ll be pretty grateful. Since I\'ve already been bitten by a deer tick that was carrying Lymes [I\'m on antibiotics now] just getting rid of the mosquitoes and ticks would be a major blessing.

jerryse

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2011, 10:10:01 AM »
There was a article in the Peoria journal star paper 5/23/11 about these buffalo gnats.It says improved water quality in the rivers is the reason for the increas in these gnats.They spend most of their life cycle in the water.

Guest

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2011, 04:37:05 PM »
Quote
improved water quality in the rivers is the reason for the increas in these gnats.

Ironic isn\'t it? I\'m sure government regulations have slowed the pollution of our creeks and rivers here, but suspicion loss of industry along the rivers, or streams that feed them, has played a huge role also.

The gnats were greatly reduced in the pens today. I gave them a second dose, and will spray out further tomorrow. The chickens are now gunshy; they venture out, but just one or two buffalo gnat near just one chicken\'s head will send them all running to the fan.  

John

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Buffalo gnat control?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 10:39:14 AM »
I had never heard of them, so I did a search and they are what we call black flies.