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No-see-ums in NYC rooftop garden

Posted by windowsilly NY (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 26, 10 at 15:37

I live in NYC, in a brownstone, with a roof garden where neighbors have everything growing in pots including roses, vegetables, corn, pine trees, you name it. Well, the tenants on the top floor of the building have been attacked by an infestation of no-see-ums, or midges, or punkies or sand flies. It's a tiny gnat that bites ferociously and leaves with you a nasty, itchy welt.

For beginners, I've ordered new screens for my apartment to keep them out, but I worry about what to do with the plants in their soil pots, where, no doubt, these bugs are laying their larvae. I'm thinking of getting a good broad-based pesticide and spraying the surface of the soil all over plants on this roof.

Any one out there have experience with this problem? Could you recommend a pesticide to kill the larvae or any other measure?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: No-see-ums in NYC rooftop garden

For starters, broad spectrum pesticides are not likely to do the job for you. Control of these little pests needs to be a multi-faceted approach.

Biting midges/no-see-ums, etc. require moisture in order to breed. Most species aren't necessarily aquatic, but high levels of moisture is a must. Container growers need to be encouraged to be watchful about that.

These insects can all be controlled in the larval stage by the active ingredient found in common mosquito dunks : Bacillus thuringiensis var. Israelensis. Bt-I can be purchased as mosquito dunks, or in a granular form, or in a liquid form called Gnatrol. All of them need to be prepared and used when watering the plants normally. Bt-I, again, is a larvicide.

To avoid attracting the adults in the first place, it is always recommended that yellow lights be used instead of those that give off white light.

RE: No-see-ums in NYC rooftop garden

What rhizo said! I would have suggested the Bt(i) also.

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