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Anyone else having problems with Buffalo gnats?

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

We found our hen dead last week and discovered our rooster was very sick yesterday. After taking him to the vet, we learned he was being eaten alive by buffalo gnats. The vet recommended dusting under feathers with 5% Sevin dust to kill the gnats and mites, covering comb and wattles with Vaseline to protect them from further bites, and rubbing or spraying the Avon product 'Skin So Soft' on his feathers as a repellant. He said the gnats are particularly bad this spring due to our rains.

Anyone else having this problem? Do you have any other suggestions or advice? We do not raise poultry - only have the one rooster now but may replace the dead hen with another hen or two later.

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Columbia, TN(Zone 7b)

Sorry to hear about your loss. I've never heard of Buffalo gnats.

MollyD

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Molly, I googled it - they are just gnats. Also known as black flies, punks, punkies, etc. Technically, they are very small flies and the females attach themselves to animals and suck blood sometimes to the point of death. They particularly like the eye, ear and nose areas. They breed in water and travel in swarms. That's about the extent of my knowlege. It's impossible to get away from them. We cannot even go on the side of the house where the chicken coop is because they are so thick. Our vet said one of his clients lost 50 chickens - they huddled together trying to protect their faces and suffocated. Apparently, they are becoming a serious problem in this area due to the excess rainfall. They like warm, moist environments. He also recommended letting the rooster free range for a while and spraying the coop with malathion. We've followed all of his advice except the Skin So Soft - need to locate an Avon rep. I also read some people put Campho-Phenic (sp?) on the chicken's head as a repellant.

We just tried to catch Dewey (the rooster) and doctor him again but he was not cooperative. Bet we looked pretty silly. Guess it will have to wait until he roosts this evening.

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Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

lemongrass and citronella oil work well too, jus about 8 drops in 8 fl ounces of corn or olive oil.

really sorry about your hen.

is there any way you could relocate the roo? move him into a dog kennel in your garage? since the gnats sound parasitic, they may move on after there is no host.

sorry to hear about this problem, and grateful for our drought i guess!

tf

Columbia, TN(Zone 7b)

fleursdefouquet'

Here's Avon's web site. They have a rep locator on it. I don't know if they also take orders there.
http://shop.avon.com/shopc/landing.asp?department=ereplanding&s=AV_GGL_BR&c=DigitalGrit&otc=avon

Hope that doesn't happen here. We have black flies here but up to now they've stayed away from the house and stayed up more towards the woods.

MollyD

McMinnville, TN

That is real interesting, I know my horse get eaten up by some pesty gnats I don't know if the same they bite his belly till it's raw. But you say you put SSS on the Hen? Full dose?
I wounder how that would work on horses!?

8153311LE

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I've not heard of that either Debra. I have often put a cat litter box out inthe hen house with diatamaceous earth in it forthem to use as a dusting box. I got one in the chick pen now, I had some loosing feathers, and I dusted them for mites. This is a natural thing, you can get at lowes.

it helps with the mites also.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the great ideas! Hadn't thought of keeping him in the garage for a few days. Bet we can work something out with a portable dog fence we used with one of our puppies. And the ditamaceous earth is brilliant! He digs huge holes in my flower beds and throws dirt everywhere taking his dust baths.

Thanks for the link, Molly, and I hope your gnats stay in the woods.

8153311LE, no, we have not tried the SSS yet. Our hen died from unknown cause but I suspect it was the gnats. We will try the SSS as soon as we locate some. Or maybe we will try the lemon grass and citronella idea.

I just went out to plant some flowers and was literally chased back in the house by the gnats. I had sprayed all over with OFF but that didn't help at all. They were in my hair, eyes, nose, ears, and biting my arms and neck. It's horrible! I read somewhere that they tend to be gone by May 1st. Sure hope that's the case here!

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

My goodness, suppose it's the wooded area? I've not had problems with knats, but I suppose if their that bad, that they would kill a chicken.

poor things......

I have little holes all over my flower gardens cause my chickens free range from about l2 noon on . there are off limits areas that i have to chase them out of once in a while. I hate the holes they make dusting and digging for bugs

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

another thing to consider is get a duck. they eat flying insects, go nuts over gnats!

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Tamara - that's ironic. We got our chickens to eat bugs! Ticks in particular. LOL! A duck couldn't begin to eat all the gnats around here. There are bizillions. I went to the Farm Co-Op this afternoon and they say it's a widespread problem right now because of our wet Spring. They also recommended SSS.

BTW - just to let anyone interested know ..... the vasaline on his comb, waddles, and around his eye area does help. It acts as a barrier. He seems to like it when we add fresh vasaline in the evening. I put Campho-Phenique on my outer ears and neck when outside this morning and it seemed to help - also had cotton in my ears and a mask over my nose, wore long sleeves and gloves. LOL! Haven't found any SSS yet so may try a little Campho on Dewey's head and back tonight.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

gosh Debra, you do have them bad don't you. I feel for you.

kathy

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Kathy, they are unbelievable - but supposed to be short term. They should be gone by RU time! :)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

LOL that's good, we're havingalot of catapillars all over the place. gazillions of them

(Zone 6b)

That sounds like a nightmare.

I'm with Tamara on the natural remedies, if they are possible. I have had problems with my apple tree and some kind of flies, and have been reading that flies hate basil. Maybe gnats hate basil too, it would be inexpensive and harmless to try it.

I do know that oregano kills lice, if you boil it 10 minutes in water, cool and apply. I am not certain about other insects, but I have been washing my dog in oregano and it does seem to help fleas and ticks.

TF I think that's great how you have learned these natural remedies. I appreciate and respect that more than you can know. After reading about DE from so many on here, I bought some of it too. However, I need to check out if I bought the right kind. Somebody else posted not to buy the kind that is for swimming pools. Not sure what I have, but it says Codex approved or something. Guess you all have heard that they plan to take away our vitamins and natural products with some international law called Codex? I was shocked when I saw that word on my DE bag.

Fleursdefouquet, I sure hope things calm down there soon. If it were me I would probably boil some basil and oregano and pour it on the rooster, along with everything else suggested that might help. Surely one thing or the other will work. Poor little fellow, sounds terrible what they have gone through. :( Hope he gets better soon.

TF we had rain a few days ago. I caught some rainwater. :)

Karen

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

i had a rain barrel out, but it didn't seem any fuller! it's empty now, i potted up tomato plants!

Luther, MI(Zone 4b)

TF, we finally got some rain yesterday. Red flag alert for fires has gone done. Have a rain barrel, but it isn't set up. DH slacking. (I haven't told him to set it up yet).

Just heard about a remedy for mosquitos, don't know if it works yet, but will try it out. Listerine...the original one. Might work against flies and gnats, too. With getting the rain like we did, the mosquitos will be out in force over the next few days, so I will have an opportunity to try this stuff.

GG

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Do you gargle it, then breath on them???? Just kidding! LOL!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

rotflmbo!

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Hey! I was outside working this am and even went around the chicken coop side of the house. No gnats!!!!! They must have moved on. THANK GOODNESS! They still come up out of the ground when it's disturbed (as in planting - ugh) but the cloud-like swarm near the coop is gone.

I did dab some Campho-Phenique on Dewey last night after lathering up his comb with vaseline. Poor guy, he looks so bad. All greasy from the vaseline and his comb looks awful. The gnats actually chewed a couple of lesions and it's discolored. I'll try to take his photo and post it. Just don't tell him he will be on the world wide web looking like this - he's quite vain.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Ididn't realize that about oregano, that means it's some bad stuff ha? LOL

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Here's the little greasy guy. It's hard to tell from the photo but his comb is in bad shape.

Thumbnail by fleursdefouquet
Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

poor baby

Ridgeway, VA

Have you tried DE yet? Put some DE and sand together and let him "dust Bathe" in it!

Columbia, TN(Zone 7b)

I found out those Buffalo gnats are called black flies here and they've arrived in droves! If you stay still too long they get in your eyes and ears. Try to talk and they get in your mouth! Ugh! Happily dry weather kills them off for the year.

MollyD

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Hey everyone - I have something that might help you all!.....
Years ago, I bought a wide brimmed straw gardening hat with a bug net that was made to go over it. The mosquitoes were so bad up at our cottage (Northern Michigan) that NO ONE could go outside at any time during the day! I put a heavy, long sleeve cotton shirt on with jeans, socks, gardening gloves, and Muck Boots (I have a FYI re: Muck Boots below), and sprayed my clothing good with Cutter bug repellent, -- along with my gardening hat and bug net which I did not spray, and I no longer had a problem working outside in my garden!! Boy, the flies, gnats, and mosquitoes swarmed all around my net but they couldn't get through it, and I didn't get one (1) bite!! So, that being said, here are a few links for hats with bug nets, full body bug nets (if you buy one of these you have to post a picture of you wearing it!! lol), and Muck Boots. Hope this helps!! ......Wonder if you could make a body net for chickens? Or at least put them in a chicken tractor and cover it with this bug net fabric until the flies are gone for the season, then they could go back to free ranging...
Let me know if you get a hat with a bug net and Muck Boots! You'll LOVE them!
:) Glenda

PS: Just for the record, I have not purchase anything from the following companies before. I bought my hat and Muck Boots locally.

Hat with bug net. Watch the video to see how it works:
http://www.concealmentindustries.com/

Full body bug net:
http://www.websoft-solutions.net/Mosquito_Jacket_bug_Jacket_p/bjacket1.htm

Muck Boots (which if you Google "Muck Boots", you'll find lots of places to buy them):
http://muckboots.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TMS&Category_Code=DLYG

FYI about Muck Boots.... They are as soft as your favorite slippers, 100% waterproof, the rubber is VERY soft so you never have to 'break them in', they have an outstanding tread on the bottom that keeps you from slipping in mud, wet grass, etc., and, I don't know how they do it, but your feet never stink after wearing them all day! I've had mine for years now and apparently, you can't wear them out - or at least it takes many more years to do so. I bought both of my parents a pair of Muck Boots (they're in their 70's) and they LOVE them. They wear them (almost) everywhere - year round! Muck Boots are a gardener's "Must Have". They come in several styles so check them all out. The link I have above is to the pair that I have. .....Enjoy! :)

Columbia, TN(Zone 7b)

Glenda_Michigan,

I have the Muck Shoes and they're my favorite footware! I want to get some Muck Boots next since there are times when the water is high or the ground is too mucky for the shoes. You're right, feet don't smell in them. Don't know why but that's a good thing.

MollyD

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Glenda, thanks for the links! The netting is a great idea. Wonder if I could make my own hat net? Shouldn't be too hard to do. Now you've got me thinking about a net for the chicken coop. Hmmmmmmm.......

You're right, Molly, they are called black flies. Only learned this after googling gnats. Whatever they are called, they are AWFUL! Even though ours have thinned out dramatically, they are still biting. Two days ago my left ear was 2x the size of my right ear and bright red due to 3 gnat bites. And still itches like crazy!

scrambleme, (love the name) that's a good idea about the DE and sand. Kathy, wasn't it you that said you keep a pan of DE for your birds to dust in?

Ummmmm ....... BTW .......... is anyone interested in a very friendly, highly social, 'keeps you in stitches' rooster?????? We have just adopted a stray dog and will be bringing him home from the vet this afternoon. We've decided to try and find a home for Dewey so the dogs can run outside of the fenced yard. Kathy Ann, wouldn't you like a rooster that follows you around like a puppy? He even runs along behind me in the Kawasaki Mule (4 wheel vehicle). When he follows me in the Mule I don't know whether to laugh because he's so silly looking or cry because he's so pathetic (ie:lonely). You could take him home with you from the RU!!!!!!!!! :)

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Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

he sure is lovely!

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

He could be yours ............. :)

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Here's more info about Dewey: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/844653/

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Fleurs,

For whatever it's worth, my netting is very fine, soft and pliable, and has VERY tiny holes so that the smallest of bugs can't get through it. I found insect mesh fabric at http://www.mosquitocurtains.com/home/mosquito-netting.html?gclid=CPfn3bXLlZMCFQIIFQodg2Imew

Make sure you scroll all the way down their page.
:) Glenda

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks, Glenda. That's interesting. The no-see-um netting is really nice for porch screens.

Alexander, AR

fleurs,

I live just down the road from you, and I am having trouble with these buffalo gnats for the first time ever. Yesterday I had 2 dead pullets, and there are 2 more that look like they aren't going to make it.

I don't know what to do! I'm afraid I'm going to lose all my young chickens. I dusted heavily with DE, but I've heard that doesn't really do much. Maybe rub some tea tree oil on them?

Can you buy citronella plants to put in the coop? Are they poisonous to birds?

I'm really worried about what this is going to do to my young flock!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

are any of you by chance reporting these losses to any agency? county extension agent, State Ag Dept or University? i just think if i worked at one of those places, i might be needing some stats on just how bad these gnats are and what their economic impact is.

i am very sorry to hear folks are still losing chickens to the flies... ;-(

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Hi Virginia and welcome!

TameraFaye is right (thanks for the suggestion TF) - I'm sure various agenicies want to know numbers and have much more advice than I can offer. Our vet did suggest putting a fan on them. Can you do that with your chickens? The moving air keeps the gnats at bay. We just had the one rooster and covering his comb and around his eyes with petroleum jelly helped. We never did get the Skin So Soft - the gnats were mostly gone by the time I found a source. Allowing him to free range let him get away from the worst of them. Good luck!

Did you get the info about the recent Round-Up held here at my home last Saturday? We would have loved for you to join us. I'll dmail you with more info.
Debra

Foley, MO

Virginia spray the inside of the poultry house till all the gnats are dead, then keep your birds inside and spray the swarms when they get bad with Pyretherin(SP) spray. These gnats are deadly and you WILL lose all of your birds. The dusting does not work. I don't know about the citronella, but this problem is widespread and the spray has been the only thing to work for me. Even then you still have to be vigilant and check on your hens. They will leave when it gets warmer and dries up, but who the heck knows when that may be.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Just got bitten behind the ear again while trying to work outside. We seem to have a fresh batch of them. Arrrrrgh!

Columbia, TN(Zone 7b)

Ouch! That's a nasty spot. Paul got me some stuff that takes the itch away when you tangle with poison ivy. That seemed to slow the itch down and in two days of using it the itch went away.

MollyD

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

During the worst of it earlier this spring, I got bitten twice behind the same ear. It was so red and swollen - very noticeably larger than the other ear. It looked pretty funny - but itched like crazy! Cortizone cream didn't seem to phase it. So far, (knock on wood) this one doesn't itch quite as bad.

I stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought some tulle to make DH and I gnat netting for our heads so we can work in the yard tomorrow. This should be a hoot!

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