gnats killed my chickens, HELP!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by debbyluvschickens, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. debbyluvschickens

    debbyluvschickens Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    eastern arkansas
    Please help!!!

    I lost 3 chickens today, and 2 more are not doing good at all!!
    I am so upset it, I hope and pray SOMEONE knows what to do!!

    There are little bugs all over their heads, my mother in law called them buffalo gnats. They are biting them and making them bleed, the 2 that are still alive but badly bitten, have very white faces and appear to be very weak. I washed their faces with warm water, and got all the bugs off and made them a nice comfy bed in the house, but dont know what else to do for them. The dead ones still have bugs on them. They were acting fine yesterday, I saw a few of the bugs flying around the yard though. The ones that appear to be okay, I left outside (only because mean old hubby said so, but he works tomorrow and what he dont know wont hurt him). I dont know if this is good or bad, but I rubbed some baby oil on their faces to try and keep the bugs off. Im not sure if that was such a goos idea now, but I wasnt thinking too clearly then.

    So my question is..what killed my chickens? THe bugs? What do I do about them? And did I mess up putting baby oil on the other? Do I need to go out and get them and give them a bath? Okay that was more than one question but......HELP!!!
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    sounds like blood sucking insects...

    Could be two things here (or a combo of both...)

    It could be the blood suckers literally sucked so much blood out that it cause severe anemia. I saw a show one time about how mosquitos can take up to a pint or more of blood per day from large animals like caribou!

    And/Or they bit the chicks, causing a small wound and the others started pecking.

    Sorry about your chicks...
  3. spudchild

    spudchild Songster

    Jul 11, 2007
    Really, I have no idea, but the bath probably won't hurt anything. Use warm, not hot water. If they are still alive tomorrow go to tractor supply or whatever type of livestock supply store you have and get anti-biotic ointment for them right away.

    Good luck!
  4. debbyluvschickens

    debbyluvschickens Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    eastern arkansas
    I was also thinking maybe the bugs made them anemic, anyting to do for that..if they make it through the night?

    neosporin work?
  5. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    Around here we call them turkey gnats. I suppose they call them that for a reason. I know from experience that their bite HURTS. Much worse than a mosquito bite, I usually hide in the house when they are bad and we live in town.

    I can only imagine how bad they get in woodsy areas or the country. Sorry I cant help you, but if your poor birds are gettin bit that badly by them, I am sure they are quite miserable.
  6. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    ok I found this...

    note at bottom, scary..

    "Organic control: Natural diatomaceous earth and plant oil products, herbal skin treatments for people. Vanilla sprays seem to be effective. See Appendix for formulas.

    Insight: Certain species may be gray or yellow. Turkey gnats and similar species have caused severe problems for cattlemen along the Sulfur River in northeastern Texas and Arkansas. In 1990 the pest spread into East Texas. According to Extension entomologist James V. Robinson, turkey gnats have been responsible for large kills of backyard poultry flocks. They also bite people."

    Also be VERY careful and dont use oils on your birds, they are very sensitive to many things that we wouldnt normally give a thought to, also dont use anything with Lidocaine or Benzocaine, any of the "caine' products can kill your birds.
  7. mhoward92

    mhoward92 Songster

    Oct 5, 2007
    thndr has a good post ... i second that post. They are also called Blood gnats. go to your local store (like TSC) and pick up some skin meds that your mix with water. lots of times you will find this in the lice and mites prevention area of the medicine. (for chickens). I wish you luck. keep us updated. oh yes. and keep the dead chickens away from the rest of your flock and the 2 that are not doing so well. I might try spraying your yard or around the chicken coop (keep the chickens away from the spray for at least 2 days)
  8. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I got this E Mail...from my aunt. Im not sure how well it would work on those gnats...but cheap..and worth a try.

    Mosquito Spray...Worth a try

    I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared. The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well. It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. During the summer, I don't leave home without it.....Pass it on.

    OUR FRIEND'S COMMENTS: I tried this on my deck and around all of my doors. It works - in fact, it killed them instantly. I bought my bottle from Target and it cost me $1.89. It really doesn't take much, and it is a big bottle, too; so it is not as expensive to use as the can of Bug-spray you buy that doesn't last 30 minutes. So, try this, please. It will last a couple of days. Don't spray directly on a wood door (like your front door), but spray around the frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house.

    Now these are Good Mosquitos!!!
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Truth About Buffalo Gnats
    Published: Jun. 18, 2007
    Source: Dr. Yvette Johnson, Dr. Ken Koelkebeck
    An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Mandy Barth, [email protected].

    With summer fast approaching, outdoor enthusiasts and animals alike are finding themselves plagued by insects the moment they step out the door. One such culprit is the buffalo gnat, or black fly--an insect that is far from picky about its choice in prey, attacking anything from people and pets to livestock and poultry.

    Buffalo gnats are blood sucking flies from the Simuliidae family. For the flies to produce eggs for reproduction it is necessary for the female of the species to consume a blood meal from its human and animal prey.

    Unfortunately for us the bite of a buffalo gnat can be more serious than dealing with unseemly bug bites and incessant itchiness for the next week. Recently, according to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members Dr. Yvette Johnson, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Ken Koelkebeck, Department of Animal Sciences, several poultry have died and more than 40 people have sought medical attention as a result of buffalo gnat attacks.

    Generally in humans, the bite of a buffalo gnat causes the same annoying symptoms of a mosquito bite: pain, itching, and swelling. However, if the individual that is bitten is allergic a single bite may warrant immediate medical attention, since such allergies can cause more serious complications.

    Unfortunately, the effect of black fly bites can be more severe for animals. According to Drs. Johnson and Koelkebeck, "livestock and poultry are sometimes killed by the flies when bitten by large numbers of them. Death can be due to anaphylactic shock, toxemia, blood loss, or suffocation when the flies are inhaled." The bites of certain species of black flies are also responsible for transmitting a blood-borne parasite that affects poultry called leukocytozoon.

    The month of June is peak black fly season since the adult flies emerge during late spring and early summer. The eggs of the buffalo gnat are laid in running water; however, once the adults emerge they have been known to travel over 10 miles in search of a meal. This means that few areas in the Midwest are safe from black fly attacks.

    To protect yourself and your animals from black flies it is important to understand them. Dr. Johnson explains that black flies are daytime, outdoor feeders so the best form of protection is avoidance.
    However, if you do venture outdoors she recommends that you wear light colored clothes and long sleeves. You may also gain some protection from the use of Permethrin treated clothing and insect repellants containing DEET, but Dr. Johnson warns that only limited success has been seen with these products.

    Protection for pets is as simple as keeping them in your house as much as possible during the daytime. Animals that are housed indoors are at a much lower risk of being bitten even if the building is not fly-proof. Whether poultry and livestock are housed inside or out, the use of Permethrin-based fly control products is recommended. Dr. Johnson also recommends that poultry be kept indoors in a darkened barn during the day, using fans or some means of cooling to prevent overheating.

    For more information about protecting your animals from black flies contact your local veterinarian.

    this link has photos (to help identify):

    from the MERCK manual:
    "Simulium spp (Simuliidae), also known as buffalo gnats and turkey gnats, are bloodsuckers and transmit leucocytozoonosis ( Leucocytozoonosis) to ducks, turkeys, and other birds. They are most abundant in the north temperate and subarctic zones, but many species are found in tropical areas. They often attack in swarms and cause anemia and death of birds either directly or through disease transmission. Control is extremely difficult because immature stages are restricted to running water, which is often some distance from the poultry farm. Larval control can be achieved with applications of temephos, chlorphoxim, or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis during early spring before adults emerge. Screens of 24 mesh per in. (2.54 cm) or smaller are required for adult control. Measures recommended for mosquito control in houses are applicable to black fly control. "
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  10. I'm so sorry you have lost your birds, here in Canada black flies and certain gnats can bleed out a deer, elk or moose and it's a terrible death.

    Among the many good suggestions you are receiving, consider keeping your birds in while you treat them, if possible, and hanging a No-Pest strip in the coop(s)- they're available from Black Flag, Vapona, TSC, Home Hardware and other places. Over the roost is a good place- avoid over food/water.

    They also work to rid homes of fleas and can be used in conjunction with diatomaceous earth and baby oil.

    Good luck with this, again, I am so sorry.

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