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Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Isabel is still under the weather, so I wouldn’t expect a morning briefing today. I’ll start the conversation by pointing to this story by my old pal Sean Crawford

If you’ve spent much time outside recently, you may have been fighting off swarms of flying insects. Buffalo gnats, also known as black flies, often show up this time of year and can stick around for several weeks. They’ve been very active this spring.

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, females bite because they feed on blood to produce their eggs. The bites can produce itching, bleeding and swelling as well as allergic reactions that can be life-threatening.

The flies are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled by people and animals, and also to perspiration, fragrances and dark, moving objects. They are most active just after sunrise and before sunset on calm days.

There isn’t a lot you can do to avoid them.

They’re everywhere.

According to IDPH not much repels the creatures and DEET may actually attract them.

Total eclipse, spectacular geomagnetic storms, a double cicada brood event and now ‘very active’ buffalo gnats. Great.

Anyway, talk amongst yourselves.

       

15 Comments »
  1. - The Dude - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 5:46 am:

    I sprayed myself mad with DEET on Saturday because they were everywhere and it did absolutely nothing.

    Went and tried Buggns or whatever that stuff is and instantly sent them out of my face.

    I think the key is to wear a hat and spray the brim of the hat along with the neck. That sort of builds a zone around your head where they leave you alone.


  2. - former southerner - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 6:57 am:

    I hope Isabel is feeling better soon!

    This blog always inspires thought and Rich’s “under the weather” note inspired me to look up the origin of this phrase which apparently started back in the days of sailing ships when sailors who felt ill were sent below deck or “under the weather”.


  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 7:07 am:

    I stumbled across another fun thing last night about bugs.

    There appears to be a mite which explodes in population with cicadas. There was a huge outbreak of itchy rashes with an unknown cause in the Chicago area during the last emergence in 2007, and people soon got to work trying to identify the cause.

    Long story short, there is a mite which feeds on the eggs and larva of cicadas which undergoes a huge population explosion during these emergence events. The mite also causes annoyances in people, but nothing deadly. Just a lot of itching and rashes.

    https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/items/18258


  4. - Sangamo Girl - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 7:39 am:

    The gnats are a good news/bad news deal.
    “It may seem like there are more buffalo gnats nowadays than there used to be. This is likely due to cleaner bodies of water. Since our waterways have been becoming cleaner, we have seen an increase in their populations.”
    https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/good-growing/2021-05-06-buffalo-gnats-and-how-avoid-being-bitten


  5. - jimbo26 - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 7:42 am:

    Bought some VBS spray at Ace Hardware in Springfield that has no DEET in it and it works.


  6. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 8:03 am:

    Sending healthy wishes to Isabel.


  7. - Dog Lover - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 8:38 am:

    Buffalo gnats will kill chickens by clogging up their nostrils. We lost a couple that way.


  8. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 8:52 am:

    And Isabel comes through and posts anyway. Feel better.

    Blair Hull is no longer the biggest spending self funder in a US Senate primary as David Trone spent about $48 million of his own money also losing yesterday. Adjusted for inflation they spent about the same amount.


  9. - Amalia - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:03 am:

    went down a rabbit hole of an Ag board on the gnat issue. Absorbine Jr. and vanilla were two recommendations. And no DEET. searching to buy some VBS spray now, thanks jimbo26


  10. - Central Ill - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 9:20 am:

    I get an allergic reaction from those little suckers. Buggins works for me!


  11. - TJ - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 10:00 am:

    I feel like the gif of John Travolta awkwardly looking around regarding the cicadas. Haven’t seen (or heard) squat so far in Normal.


  12. - Matty - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 10:44 am:

    =The flies are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled by people and animals, and also to perspiration, fragrances and dark, moving objects=

    Welp, that explains why they chase me on my daily runs!


  13. - Leslie K - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 11:38 am:

    All this gnat talk makes me feel less creeped out by my ant explosion. Healthy lawn + not well sealed AC access=ants in my kitchen. Thankfully Windex is doing the ‘emergency’ job while my exterminator’s work yesterday is waiting to take effect.


  14. - Lurker - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:44 pm:

    “The flies are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled …”
    I did not realize this is why they seemed like they are staying on my face for my walks and runs on the trail. I wonder if wearing a mask may deter their activity around my face? 🤔
    Also, Buggins seems to work so I’ll spray it on my neck and head area.


  15. - Anon221 - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 12:55 pm:

    I use crushed catnip that grows all over the farm and smear it in my horse’s ears and face. The mint oil really seems to work. And learned that tidbit about the clean water from Phil Nixon in 2008 when the floods were occurring along the major rivers in Illinois. Was working up around the Quad Cities outdoors and those buggers flew into your nose and ears like crazy.


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