Issue 1, April 24, 2018

Here They Come... Buffalo Gnats/ Biting Midges

I truly enjoy the transition from winter into spring, as plants are pushing up through the ground, the daffodils, crocuses, and tulips in bloom.  The trees bring on the next show of color with redbuds, magnolias and crabapples in full bloom and then the green leaves emerge. The temperatures are finally nice enough that we can break out those short sleeves; we can work in the yard and start preparing for the garden or the landscape improvements for the season.  With the copious amount of rain and warm temperatures brings a not so nice little friend back to wreak some havoc on our ability to enjoy the outdoors. Buffalo gnats/ Biting Midges will be back in full force with the rising water and the warm temperatures; we have the perfect storm for a population explosion from these winged biting beasts.

If there is an upside to these buffalo gnats, it is that they are most active under calm, overcast conditions, and tend to bite just after sunrise and just before dusk. However, we have a reprieve in that they typically are only around for a 3-4 weeks until the temperature warms up and excess waters recede.

The biggest effort on our part is attempting to control these midges when we are outdoors.  There are products labeled for mosquitos and biting flies, but not any specially labeled for biting midges/buffalo gnats. Repellents containing DEET (diethutoluamide) or permethrin provide only limited protection. Be sure to read and follow all the labeled instruction so that they can be the most effective for you and your pets. In lieu of keeping your pets and yourself indoors throughout this short season, it is good idea to schedule outdoor activities to avoid daily peaks of the biting, cover up with loose fitting or light colored clothing, and avoid potential breeding sites. 

I love spring and it is probably my favorite season, but I can't deny I could do without the blood thirsty mosquitos and the annoying biting midges/buffalo gnats.  If you should have a reaction to a bite, be sure to contact your physician immediately.  In the next few weeks, be sure to stay protected whether you choose to stay indoors or arm yourself with repellents. (Maria Turner)

Maria Turner

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