Are the gnats still bad in your area

chaddsford_serfJune 14, 2005

The gnats are still really bad in Chester County. My kids dont like to play in the yard because of them. Is there anything that can be done to eliminate them? Where do they come from and why are they so bad this year? Will the situation get better as the summer progresses?

Sorry for all the questions, any help would be wonderful.

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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

I'm getting the gnats in SW Chester too. My other problem is flies that normally feast on cows. When the cows are not in the right field, I am the substitute cow. I'm going out in a bit and hope the cows are out.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 10:04AM
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pennycp(Z6 SE Penna)

The gnats are bad in NW Montco also. They are so bad that I dreamt about them Saturday night after a day in the garden. It was horrifying...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 12:07PM
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garden_grammie(SE Pa.)

The gnats are bad this year! They are even able to come in thru the screens and then die on the windowsills. I have to rinse off the deck furniture every morning because everything is just covered. What's with that! Yesterday when I was sitting outside admiring my beautiful garden, my shirt and shorts started to get cover with them! Uck! Do they stay all summer?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 3:39PM
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BJR76(Z6 SE PA)

Without knowing your exact locations or seeing the "gnats" you're talking about, your problem is hard to determine for sure. Black flies are the little gnats that tend to swarm around your head, bounce off your forehead, crawl in your eyes, ears, nose, and (for some people) bite very hard to feed on your blood. Some folks don't get bitten at all. Some folks have bad reactions to the bite, and others just find them annoying.

Pennsylvania DEP operates the largest black fly suppression program in North America. However, even with such a large program, not all areas are covered. Each individual county must resuest to participate in the program. There are, I believe, about 33 counties (out of 67) participating right now. In southeastern PA, I know that Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Philadelphia DO NOT participate in the program. Berks, Bucks, Northampton, and Schuylkill do.

Black fly larvae grow in rivers and streams that are fast moving, well oxygenated, and generally clean. The biggest single producer of black flies in PA is the Susquehanna River. Many other large rivers also support black flies in PA. Black flies are often cited as having up to a 30 mile flight range from where they emerge (hence the state run river/stream sprying program). The state calls it a suppression program because there is no feasible way to control or eradicate all the pest black flies (buffalo gnats, gnats, whatever you want to call them); about all they can do is keep the numbers low and hope that keeps most people (residents and tourists) happy.

I would suggest contacting your county (try contacting the county office that handles mosquito control) or your regional DEP office if you continue to have problems. Just remember, if your county doesn't participate in the program, the state won't be doing control work there.

Program fact sheet:
www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/ watermgt/WSM/Facts/FS1838.PDF
Note that the DEP office listing on this sheet is out of date. Check DEP's website for current addresses/phone numbers.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:55PM
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BJR76(Z6 SE PA)

List of counties where treatments occur and the waterbodies that are treated (this list chages yearly):

http://www.depesf.state.pa.us/news/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=459546

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 1:13PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

There were a few here in the earlier part of the season. Now it seems they are out in full force, a nice little cloud around your head. I got ONE bite so I'm not going to complain a whole lot, plus it doesn't itch... my only complaint is it leaked blood for a few minutes so it looked worse than it was.

I hate the flying up the nose and into the eyes part. ewww.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 12:08PM
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