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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Pesky gnat and biting midge problem abuzz in the area

Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008, at 6:09 AM

A light on my front porch covered with the gnats and biting midges.
Have you noticed the large number of pesky gnats and biting midges hovering around the area since the Great Flood of '08?

They are terrible and very annoying.

The midges bite causing little whelps to develop.

I noticed them really bad this weekend while trying to tend to my garden spot.

On Saturday night, my front door window glass was covered with thousands of them.

I ran into my vet (veterinarian) buddy, Dr. Ed Borter of Odon on Saturday afternoon and he says the number of fungus gnats and biting midges this year is up because of all the flood waters that have covered the region -- producing mounds of decaying materials like wood and old corn shucks when they receded.

Purdue Extension Service Educator Lindy Miller agreed and says they seem to be worse this year.

It makes sense and Doc Borter says that he's also treated several dogs in recent days with what look like to be numerous gnat bites to the ears.

A side note, Dr. Borter showed me some photos of a small fawn (deer) he helped rescue in the last two weeks from flood waters. It's a cute little thing that he's helping to nurture along. He plans to keep it for a while.

He's named it "River" -- to commemorate the recent great flood.

Back to the gnats, I noticed a guy in Odon on Saturday mowing his lawn with a large piece of mesh material draped over his head to keep the annoying and biting gnats at bay.

That's one solution, I suppose, but the guy really did look like some kind of an outer spaceman. And, does anyone know where to buy the mesh material that looks like the insect lining for a tent?

Material from Purdue Extension Service says the gnat and flying midges problem should be around for at least another two weeks or so.

Extension personnel offer the following recommendations for keeping the little bugs away from you:

*Use Avon Skin-So-Soft. - Safety Tip - This will make your hands greasy. You should wash them after applying it.

*Apply a thin layer of Vick's Vapor Rub to the brim of a hat. - Safety Tip - Do not apply to your forehead (Sweat will make it run into your eyes). Be sure to wash your hands after application.

*Original Listerine sprayed on exposed skin. - Safety Tip - Just like using Listerine as a mouthwash do not swallow the Listerine or spray into your eyes.

*Stuff dryer sheets in your clothing.

Greene County Foundation Executive Director Kerry Conway recommends rubbing one of those dryer sheets on your body to help with the situation.

I've heard that a mixture of vanilla extract and water has also been an effective repellent, used by construction crews, according to Nyle Riegle of Linton.

I guess none of these homespun methods are guaranteed, but they are probably worth a try if you intend to spend any time outdoors in the near future.

If anyone else has any ideas, leave a comment here, drop me an email or give me call. I'll be glad to share those with our readers.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at cpruett79@hotmail.com

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Or be close to someone that you can use a bait... I know that is not nice to say. Hey, Nick, Thank You for the tips, I just heard the dryer sheet thing just this week. I will give it a try at the local outdoor concert at the city park.

-- Posted by gary g on Sun, Jun 22, 2008, at 5:36 PM

I was told to mix a bottle of skin so soft with a gallon of vinegar and put in a spray bottle to spray on animals to help them keep from getting bit.

-- Posted by Terri C on Sun, Jun 22, 2008, at 9:27 PM

Vanilla extract poured on paper towel then apply to the skin works wonders!

-- Posted by fanofbloomfield on Mon, Jun 23, 2008, at 7:14 AM

I believe the gnats aren't the buggers responsible for the bites. It seems that biting midges like to buzz around with them. The midges are too small to be seen, but they are the ones doing the biting.

-- Posted by EggMan on Mon, Jun 23, 2008, at 7:17 AM

They're "gnot gnats"! Gnats don't bite and leave welts. Look closer, they are flies.

-- Posted by furball on Mon, Jun 23, 2008, at 9:58 AM

Cigars work very well.

-- Posted by Mr. Robato on Mon, Jun 23, 2008, at 2:09 PM

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