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GNATS

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
The title says it all y'all! My chickens are being plagued with biting midges aka no see ums. I've never seen anything like it in my life. We have lived on our property for 5 years and NEVER had this before. Swarms of them rise from the grass and feast their little guts on my flock day and night. The chickens are so miserable they will not even come out of the coop they are so desperately trying to rid themselves of the gnats that are crawling in their faces and on their body. Does ANYONE have ANY ideas for helping get rid of or repel these little demons? I have 40+ chickens so rubbing vanilla on their faces daily wouldn't be practical.

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~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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post #2 of 7

As this is a new problem can you identify any changes from previous years to this that may be contributing to the issue - such as excessive wetness that was not previously an issue?  Is the grass higher than usual right now?   Identifying the cause of the infestation can be very helpful in eliminating it.

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post #3 of 7

The gnats or Biting Midges we have here in SE Louisiana hatch in a salt or brackish water environment.  They are usually much worse at dusk and dawn.  They are somewhat seasonal here, being worse in the spring and in the fall.  Gnats are a miserable pest.  Unlike a mosquito, which uses a needle-like protrusion to suck blood.  The gnat tears and rips at flesh to get you bleeding!

 

A 30% Deet application will repel them to an extent.  But here, they will literally swarm in clouds at times.  We hunt hogs during fall and in our mild winters.  I've already seen pigs show up with gnats so thick their eyes looked like ancient Egyptian makeup and their butt-hole looked like it had a black furry tennis ball stuck to it!!  I've already been in my stand and, the gnats so thick, I couldn't hear when the hogs were approaching.  We wore thick clothing and the head nets with the finest weave we could find.

 

You might could make sure, just like you would for mosquitos, you don't have any standing water around your place for them to hatch in.  Here, everywhere is standing water.  For hurricane Katrina we had 14 feet of standing water in our house.

 

I remember my Dad and grandfather would hang sacks from a wire, drenched with spent motor oil, to drag across the backs of the cattle, to help the them deal with the flies.  When the flies were at their worse, the cattle would literally constantly circle through the sacks.  I used to think it must've been exhausting to have to keep circling like that to get relief from the incessant, miserable pests.

 

I'm sure Deet is too expensive to soak sacks or rags with.  But you might try a using a few things soaked onto rags for them to pass through/under to get some relief?  Just having something to brush past their body, wiping the little devils off may give them SOME RELIEF?

 

I wish I had better solutions for you but.....

 

Good luck!  

Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

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Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

Reply
post #4 of 7

Just thought of something else.  Gnats are practically not an issue when it's windy.  If you were to cover your coop windows with the same small weave netting I mentioned and, have a fan blowing outward from inside the coop, the gnats are not strong enough flyers to buck-the-breeze.

 

This netting sounds like it may be the ticket?

 

http://www.skeeta.com/html/netting/mosquito_no_see_um_netting.htm

Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

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Married 46 years. Great wife, 4 sons, 13 grandchildren! 

 

He who laughs last thinks slowest!


Give me ambiguity or give me something else.   

Reply
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol Grey Mare View Post
 

As this is a new problem can you identify any changes from previous years to this that may be contributing to the issue - such as excessive wetness that was not previously an issue?  Is the grass higher than usual right now?   Identifying the cause of the infestation can be very helpful in eliminating it.

There were some gnats last year (due to the super wet spring we got here in SE texas), just nothing like this year. I've been thinking part of the problem at least is our septic field that has not been draining properly recently, and is all muddy. We live on 1 1/2 acres so the chickens are pastured all around the septic field. Need to go out there and get that fixed! 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

Reply

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigoledude View Post
 

The gnats or Biting Midges we have here in SE Louisiana hatch in a salt or brackish water environment.  They are usually much worse at dusk and dawn.  They are somewhat seasonal here, being worse in the spring and in the fall.  Gnats are a miserable pest.  Unlike a mosquito, which uses a needle-like protrusion to suck blood.  The gnat tears and rips at flesh to get you bleeding!

 

A 30% Deet application will repel them to an extent.  But here, they will literally swarm in clouds at times.  We hunt hogs during fall and in our mild winters.  I've already seen pigs show up with gnats so thick their eyes looked like ancient Egyptian makeup and their butt-hole looked like it had a black furry tennis ball stuck to it!!  I've already been in my stand and, the gnats so thick, I couldn't hear when the hogs were approaching.  We wore thick clothing and the head nets with the finest weave we could find.

 

You might could make sure, just like you would for mosquitos, you don't have any standing water around your place for them to hatch in.  Here, everywhere is standing water.  For hurricane Katrina we had 14 feet of standing water in our house.

 

I remember my Dad and grandfather would hang sacks from a wire, drenched with spent motor oil, to drag across the backs of the cattle, to help the them deal with the flies.  When the flies were at their worse, the cattle would literally constantly circle through the sacks.  I used to think it must've been exhausting to have to keep circling like that to get relief from the incessant, miserable pests.

 

I'm sure Deet is too expensive to soak sacks or rags with.  But you might try a using a few things soaked onto rags for them to pass through/under to get some relief?  Just having something to brush past their body, wiping the little devils off may give them SOME RELIEF?

 

I wish I had better solutions for you but.....

 

Good luck!  

We live in a swamp too--in fact our property regularly floods several feet deep, sometimes right up 10 feet from the back door (certainly not 14 feet deep though though holy cow). I have also noticed how the no see ums are worse in the spring at least. The mosquitoes around here will carry you off in the fall. Of course nothing wants to even be alive during our 105 degree plus summers (and 1000000 percent humidity).

I like the idea of them passing under rags. Perhaps I could use vanilla soaked rags. That's a really good idea. Probably couldn't do the mosquito netting; coop is mostly all open (my coop is in my profile pic) but I like the idea of fans blowing outwards. I could maybe rig up some solar panels and install fans on either end of my shelter. Thank you for the ideas! Really "got my wheels turning." 

Thanks for your help! :) 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

Reply

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

Reply
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by beetandsteet View Post
 

There were some gnats last year (due to the super wet spring we got here in SE texas), just nothing like this year. I've been thinking part of the problem at least is our septic field that has not been draining properly recently, and is all muddy. We live on 1 1/2 acres so the chickens are pastured all around the septic field. Need to go out there and get that fixed! 


Yep, that'll do it --- I know they say that all creatures serve a purpose, but there are a few (mosquitos, ticks, biting gnats/flies) that I could do without!  Sounds like you have a couple of good ideas percolating now, hope they give your flock some relief.

Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
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Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
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