Gnat Control

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mill-j, May 14, 2018.

  1. mill-j

    mill-j Songster

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    Wow, gnat season is here again! I was hoping we could skip it this year due to the late spring. But no. they showed up and are meaner than I have ever seen them before. There are not as many, but they are agressive(possibly due to a very late spring).

    Several years ago we noticed a gnat is reluctant about flying through 1/4in hardware cloth and by replacing all the chicken netting on the chicken tractors, we no longer had any problems, even though the gnats were terrible.

    This year is different though, the hardware cloth merely slowed them down and before we realized,the gnats had killed a dozen half grown chickens in one afternoon. So we consulted a friend who free ranges his chickens, and his method proved to work.

    Vanilla is a natural gnat repelent but it didn't last long enough to be very effective for free range. So to make it last longer mix it with peanut oil(any oil used for cooking should work) and add some essential oils such as lemongrass, tea tree, lavendar, etc. Put this mixture into a cleaned out soap/pop bottle to make it easier to use(vanilla and oil dont mix so youll have to shake well just before using). Than Hang a wire above your feeder and hang a clean rag or towel down to where if a chicken is eating, it gets its head against it. Now lightly soak the rag with the mixture(dont get it in the feed).

    And thats it. All the chickens that visit the feeder will get a light coating of the repelent on their heads. You have to add some repelent to the rag several times a day.

    So far 100% success! They're so much more active now :)

    I'm interested what fellow BYC members do to keep these killers under control. Feel free to post your solutions to your gnat problems in this thread.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  2. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd In the Brooder

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    This is amazing! I use essential oils all over myself to repel bugs, but it never occurred to me to add more oil to help it stick longer! AWSOME idea!
    PLUS! I was just thinking it might be a great idea to actually wipe down all the wire surrounding the coop during months heavy pest infestations? I'm gonna try it! Thanks for the heads up!
    I read about your Buffalo Gnats and how they're also called Black Flies. What miserable little beasts they sound like!
     
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  3. mixedUPturk

    mixedUPturk Loves Hatching

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    Very neat idea thanks for directing me to your thread!
     
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  4. llombardo

    llombardo Crowing

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    Nice idea, but my crazy chickens would tear the cloth down within seconds. Maybe apply it manually? Would it have to be reapplied multiple times or should one good wipe down work?

    I put vanilla extract behind my dogs ears and that works. So maybe with chickens too?
     
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  5. mill-j

    mill-j Songster

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    Aug 22, 2017
    Yes, this year the gnats were not nearly as mean as last year, so we just manually applied it with a spray bottle, it works. In mild conditions once a day is good enough.

    Plain vanilla is a super gnat repellant(the best I've ever seen), but it evaporates pretty fast.

    As far as the cloth, if they tear it down you probably don't need it. Last year the gnats were so bad the chickens would sit with their heads under the cloth when we first put them up:)
     
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  6. Joe1962

    Joe1962 Chirping

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    A friend of mine lost 12 out of 14 this weekend. She said their faces were covered with gnats. Mine are free range but I have 7 week olds in the coop in their own enclosure with a run. I hung Bounce laundry towels all over the wire on the main run and put them around inside the coop. They still come out to forage but don't stay out long. Seems to be keeping the gnats out for the most part. Mine are Bantams if that makes any difference. They were getting torn up before I used the bounce. I tried spraying them with an organic repellent that has vanilla in it. Worked for a bit but did not last. I will try this method also.
     
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  7. mixedUPturk

    mixedUPturk Loves Hatching

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    :eek: jeez im sorry to hear about your friends losses! I remember talking to u earlier in the wk, maybe last wk, i hope your able to keep them at bay!:fl:fl:fl
     
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  8. Joe1962

    Joe1962 Chirping

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    I just did a test. I stood out side the coop/run for a few minutes, the girls came out cautiously long enough to get a treat then went back in. I was just getting covered with gnats as well as the girls. Then I went inside the run serounded by Bounce dryer sheets and did not have one gnat land on me. None flying inside the coop or the run.
     
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  9. mill-j

    mill-j Songster

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    :thumbsup Isn't it funny that the best gnat repellents are cheap and easy to get? I've seen many a "bought" repellant fail miserably.
     
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  10. Joe1962

    Joe1962 Chirping

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    The girls and little ones are doing fine. They get tortured when they come out but as soon as they retreat to the run, no problems.
     
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