Anyone else being driven insane (and inside) by bugs?

diggerdee zone 6 CTAugust 1, 2014

What the heck is it this year? Since the first day I went out in the garden this season till five minutes ago, every time I'm outside there are swarms of little gnats or something. They are driving me absolutely crazy!

Usually they are around in the spring and then seem to disappear. Not this year. I've been wearing a long sleeve shirt over my tee shirt to keep them off me, but they still land on my face, my glasses, fly up my nose and in my mouth - yuck! It really has affected my gardening this year, as I've come in early many days when I planned on spending the whole day in the garden. Its awful.

I'm not even sure what they are, exactly, but I've gotten bitten, and don't know if it's from them or mosquitoes (the bites itch!)

I told my husband I was going to get one of those mosquito hats that you see in the old movies when people are in the jungle. He told me I didn't have the nerve. I told him yes I did. I might look ridiculous, but I'm sure I don't look any better constanty waving my arms around my head!

Dee

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oldfixer

Lucky city folk, no bugs here. Spray/towelette repellant?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:30PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Yep--same where I am. I want to go walkabout my established, mature garden beds and am back indoors within 10 minutes. I've only noticed them when they get in my face but they're aggressive and are back within seconds after I swatted them away. I've decided to admire my garden beds through the windows.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:49PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Yup, there are lots of bugs here, but there always are. I do own one of those netting hats, and wear it whenever the bugs are getting into my face and ears (along with my pants tucked into my socks during tick season.) I look fairly dorky for a good chunk of the gardening season, and much of my garden is within 30 feet of the road, so most of my neighbors are familiar with my gardening attire.

For me comfort triumphs over appearance. (Though it is a bit disconcerting when I discover that I've forgotten to untuck my pants when I go into town.)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

We've had terrible mosquitos the last few weeks and they were definitely keeping us inside. They seemed to have simmered down this week though. I can actually go outside in the garden for a few hours without being covered in mosquito bites or bug spray!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Persimmons(6b Southern Mass)

The bugs that have been claiming territory in my yard this year in massive hoards are the dragonflies and ants. I can't seem to do so much as pull a weed without disturbing a few dragonflies. Ants have colonized almost every inch of garden bed.

Luckily, the aphids are almost undetectable this year. That's a big change for my garden since last year, when a few plants died from aphid consumption alone. So aren't cucumber beetles: they seemed to destroy every cucurbit I grew last year but I haven't seen a single one yet this year.

I try to interplant a variety of plant families next to each other and in between each other through my garden beds. I'm finding that this is helping to confuse plant-predatory bugs and is increasing the number of bug-predatory bugs that are attracted to the wide variety of smells and colors.

Our indoor plants got struck with a bad case of fungus gnats earlier in the year but that seems to be dying off as we eliminate the bugs.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:47AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Be happy for the dragonflies, Persimmons! They're eating swarms of nasty little biting insects!

The gnats, blackflies, and mosquitos have been fearsome here this year too, but most especially around twilight. I've been sorely tempted to invest in one of those flopping brimmed hats with mosquito netting too, Digger and Babs!

I'm guessing that the predatory wasps have arrived here and are feasting on the red lily beetles, because my tiger lilies have re-bounded and look as healthy as they did in the distant past. That is one insect I'm pleased to have here.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:15AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Dee, Every time I go outside they are dive bombing my eyes and ears and they don't leave me alone. It's always been like that for me and when I seem to wear a baseball cap they come around more, ya, I know that sounds weird but weird things happen to me. I try to sit on my deck at night and get eaten alive by the mosquitos and it's always been like that too. I want to try that mosquito trap that's been going around facebook with the soda bottle, yeast, water, and brown sugar. I also got loads of gnats in my houseplants as spring approached and was always swatting them in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:54AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

By the way, I have seen an electric battery powered tennis racket fly swatter that shocks the bugs if they touch the netting on the racket.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:56AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Richie, I tried wearing a baseball cap and it was worse - the darn things kept landing on the underside of the brim, and I could see them out of the corners of my eyes (the tops of my eyes? :) ) and it drove me nuts.

Funny you mention that racket. Over July 4th weekend I went to my inlaws,and my FIL was sitting there and every so often he would wave this little racket around. I thought it was very amusing, reminding me of an old lady with her fan, lol, but then he told me it was for mosquitoes. I never had the chance to discuss it more fully with him, to see if it really worked or not.

It is just really bad this year. My garden has truly suffered because of them because I just can't stand to be out there. Friday evening was a delight because it was quite breezy, like before a storm (although it didn't rain for another 10 hours or so) and that bit of wind kept the darn things from circling my head constantly. If it wasn't such a logistical problem, or if I didn't move around so much while gardening, I'd plunk down a box fan in front of me outside while I worked. I certainly have enough heavy duty extension cords to do so; I'd just have to constantly reposition it every time I moved... hmm, might be something to consider, though....

Dee

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:32AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Dee, Dont'cha love it when they fly right into your eye and you can't dig them out! It is worse with the cap on. We must be giving off something they like!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:04PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I have a neighbor who wears a baseball cap with a blue cup fastened to the top that's covered in a sticky substance (Tangle-foot) that she assures me attracts and therefore traps deer flies. She just tosses the cup after use. I wonder if it works for other bugs.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:03PM
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tkln

The deer/horse flies were absolutely horrible here this year...much worse than I've experienced before...got hot fast and I think that made it worse. The dogs get it worse than I do though!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:18AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I was out watering the garden this morning and it was just unbearable. There are clouds of bugs just circling my head.

However, I was thinking about what some people above mentioned, and as I was in the vegetable garden I did realize that while the flying gnats are torturous, I haven't really had any serious bug issues in the garden itself (well, other than the red lily leaf beetle, for which not much can be done). All my vegetables are relatively free of bug issues. The deer ate the entire garden except the squash a few weeks ago, but it is rebounding now, and I seem to have some fungal issues with my tomatoes (septoria, I think) but honestly, no bug issues to really speak of.

Even in the perennial beds, the usual reign of terror by the oriental beetles, my arch nemesis, is not so bad this year. My echinacea look really good this year, and even my shasta daisies are relatively untouched by those foul fiends.

I'm trying to decide if it's a good trade-off - being tortured constantly by flying gnats and mostquitoes in exchange for having nicer looking flowers and more productive veggies... but I can't decide! Yeah, things look good, but if I can't stand to be out there to enjoy it, or to get chores done, is it worth it? The jury is still out!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:42AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I prefer the natural approach to repel them. I take about a dozen fresh basil leaves from my huge basil plant and crush the leaves in my hands. Rub on skin, crush and repeat. I was outside for a half hour and never had a single skeeter bite, hubby had on the Deet spray and he got bit.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:03AM
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chardie

Very buggy here in northeast CT also. The aphids were horrible--attacked my new viburnum, mock orange, hydrangeas, heliopsis (can't get rid of them on these). I got tired of spraying. Beetles weren't so horrible this year, but many ants, dragon flies, flies, bees of all kinds.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:56PM
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raee_gw

Here in my Midwest yard the mosquitoes are the worst I have ever experienced in my 2 decades in this house. We used to be able to play in the back yard without being horribly bitten. Now, I can't even take the trash to the can (unless I run) without getting 1 or 2 bites, much less garden without bathing in deet. They are so aggressive that they will find the tiniest spot that doesn't have enough repellent, and bite through clothes too.

I think that folks who say that a few basil, or mint, or whatever leaves work are just not naturally attractive to the pests. My neighbor was like that -- we could stand and chat, she would have no bites, I would have 4 or 5. I've tried the leaves myself with no sign of repelling mosquitos. They are in fact very thick in my herb bed which has lots of mint and basil.

I've tried eating more garlic but that hasn't helped.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:11PM
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