|Buffalo Gnat (courtesy IL Dept Public Health)|
"... black flies bite using their mouthparts like scissors to cut into skin and lap up the blood. This results in painful bites that can produce bleeding, itching, inflammation and swelling, as well as allergic reactions that can be life-threatening."This year, reports that the blackfly population has been higher than usual have come in from other farmers in Iowa, as well as locations in Illinois and Oklahoma. And, I am sure there are plenty of other locations I just have not noticed. In some locations, there have been reports of buffalo gnats killing poultry and a couple of the eagle chicks in Decorah succumbed to these varmints as well. A few years ago, we lost several ducks to blackflies, so we can attest to the veracity of these reports. Birds can look great in one instant and decline rapidly to a point where they cannot be resuscitated.
|Kennedy uses the 'cover up' approach to pest control|
|The Thistle Eradication Forces (TEF) know how to dress for success|
We've found about all you can do to protect yourself is to cover up. That means we're wearing long sleeves, glasses, ear protection and bandanas - even when temps get into the 90's (F).
For those that are looking to chemicals for help - never mind. See the following from the Ill Dept of Health page:
"Black flies are difficult to repel. Suggested “home remedy” repellents, such as vanilla extract, have not been scientifically proven effective. DEET-containing repellents that deter mosquitoes are much less effective at repelling black flies and have even been reported to attract the flies. Permethrin-containing repellents labeled for application only to clothing offer some protection.
The application of pesticides for black fly control often meets with limited success. In some situations, liquid residual pesticides may be effective when applied to surfaces where flies land. Fogging in the form of ultra-low volume (ULV) treatments like those used for mosquito control can be useful in some circumstances, but provide only temporary relief."
- Yes, buffalo gnats DO hit your glasses or goggles with enough force that you can hear and feel them tapping on it.
- No matter how hard you try, you cannot ignore a gnat that flies into your eyes, ears, nose or throat.
- A gnat bite IN the nose can give you a nose bleed.
- Gnats tend to find the borders/edges of clothing but usually do not go beyond that.
- Once you've been bit by a gnat, many more gnats are going to go for that spot or that area of your body. It's probably best to make an adjustment early rather than trying to 'tough it out.'
- We're all looking forward to the end of blackfly season.
- Blackflies do not taste all that bad if you give them a good 'chew.'