- GNAT BIOLOGY
- WHY ARE GNATS A PROBLEM?
- GNAT REPELLENT FOR USE ON PEOPLE
- GNAT REPELLENTS FOR THE YARD
- HOW TO TREAT GNAT BITES
- BEST GNAT SPRAYS FOR THE HOME AND YARD
- GNAT CONTROL FOR INSIDE THE HOME
- GNAT SPRAY FOR OUTSIDE IN THE YARD
- FOGGING FOR GNATS – THE BEST GNAT CONTROL
- THERMAL FOGGERS FOR GNATS
- BEST GNAT CHEMICALS FOR FOGGING
- HOW TO TREAT OVER LAKES, PONDS AND RIVERS
- CONTACT US
Gnats are prevalent throughout most of the world and in general, considered to be a pest. Gnats are in fact really flies but because of their small size and other behaviors, people don’t generally think of them as such.
Gnats thrive outside when conditions are both moist and warm. However, due to their small size and ability to both reproduce quickly and in many situations, gnats can easily be found thriving inside most any structure. This article will explain some basic biology about gnats, detail why they are a problem in and around the home and then offer ways to treat local infestations.
GNAT BIOLOGY ^
As stated above, gnats are actually flies. They go by many names including punkies, punkys, buffalo gnats, buffalo flies, eye gnats, black gnats, black flies, hippelates flies, no-seeums or just plain old “nats”. Most gnats can bite bit unlike mosquitoes or noseeums, the bite can be undetectable.
For gnats that bite, females will need a blood meal in order to become fertile. Once she feeds and mates, egg laying will begin with hundreds deposited before she dies. Though she will look for moist damp areas on which to lay her brood, each species will take advantage of prime locations which can vary from region to region. One region may find eggs common throughout salt marshes and streams; another area may find the eggs on animal droppings or rain ditches. Flower pots which accumulate standing water, along with gutters, rain barrels, old tires and buckets all can hold more then enough water to provide the needed moisture for gnats to successfully grow and thrive. Once eggs hatch, larva will feed for 2-3 weeks and then undergo metamorphosis in a cocoon like stage called pupa. Once they fully mature, they will hatch out as adults with males immediately taking to wing to find a female.
WHY ARE GNATS A PROBLEM? ^
The adult stage is the one which people find to be so annoying and persistent. Eye gnats will regularly land on or around ones eye and nose; black flies or buffalo gnats will land anywhere they can find skin on which to suck blood. Fungus gnats are always looking for decaying matter and for that reason, tend to swarm around a persons exhales which means in their nose.
Regardless of which gnats you have, they can mount attacks in swarms. And though not particularly a fast flyer, gnats are hard to kill. They are elusive and yet persistent.
GNAT REPELLENT FOR USE ON PEOPLE ^
If you are going afield where gnats are active, consider some type of preventive application for either your skin or your clothes. A combination of several products will prove to be most effective but results will vary from region to region. For the skin, use some MAXI DEET or DEET LOTION. Both of these materials will repel gnats and other flying insects and keep them off your skin.
The first formulation is a 100% and just a few squirts will provide all day protection. Lightly mist any exposed skin and allow to dry naturally.
This formulation uses just 20% Deet but because its in lotion form, treatments will be “rubbed” into your skin and overall, last just as long as the more concentrated spray on form.
Treat clothing with PERMETHRIN AEROSOL for added protection. This product is repellent to most insects and is a great help at keeping ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats and most any biting insect away. Its odorless and designed for use on hats, shirts, shorts, pants and shoes. Spray garments once a day to insure long lasting protection.
If you prefer “non-chemical” protection, or if you don’t want to treat your skin or clothing directly, the use of either BUG BANDS or BITE SHIELDS will prove helpful. The Bands are designed to fit around your wrist and ankles and release a light Citronella odor; the Bite Shields are usually attached to your belt and offer better protection overall.
Bug Bands come in 3 colors and will last up to 40 hours afield. Ideally suited for kids or anyone not wanting to be sprayed; seal opened bands in zip lock bags once in use to protect the active from dissipating.
Bite Shields are about the size of a cell phone and designed to be used around the waist. They release a non-chemical repellent sure to keep mosquitoes, noseeums and gnats away. Refills will last up to 100 hours and these units run on two “AA” batteries. The unit comes with 2 refills included (the cell phone pictured is not included but is shown to give perspective to the size of the unit).
Refills are sold in 2 packs and will provide up to 100 hours of protection.
GNAT REPELLENTS FOR THE YARD ^
If you plan on being at one location most of the time like a deck or patio, then Linalool Candles can really help. Made with essential plant oils, these candles will effectively “block” you from biting pests like gnats. The burning process will release a nice odor to people which is citrus smelling. In the process the Linalool will permeate the area making biting pests like mosquitoes and gnats not able to locate targets. The 6″ CANDLE will last over 40 hours; the 8″ CANDLE over 50 hours.Excellent for decks and patios, these candles can be brought on camping trips and picnics.
Want a more “controlled” burn? Get the JAR CANDLE. The 2.5 oz will burn around 12 hours; the 15 oz 60-75 hours.
GRANULAR REPELLENT FOR THE TURF AND GRASS ^
For open areas like flower beds, mulch and grass, apply GNAT REPELLENT GRANULES. This slow release granule will last 2-3 weeks and is safe for use most anywhere around the home. It won’t kill any insect but it does keep them away. For best results, apply them no more than 12 hours from any “big” event. Use 1 lb per 800 sq/ft. Packed in two sizes; the 5 lb jar will cover up to 4,000 sq/ft and the 25 lb pail can treat up to 20,000 sq/ft.
Another repellent for the yard that works on gnats, mosquitoes and noseeums is the MOSQUITO BLOCKER. This device is simply set out around the area you want to protect and will slowly release a natural material which essentially “blocks” gnats, mosquitoes and other pests from scenting you as a target. By preventing their natural ability to scent targets, Mosquito Blockers will prevent the gnats from knowing you are present and will go elsewhere looking for food. Keep them filled with fresh BLOCKER REFILLS so they work at optimal level.
When used around a deck or patio, you’ll need at least two units. When used to protect people out in an open yard, use 3 units set up in a triangular pattern. Each unit comes with one refill as well as the 2 “AA” batteries needed to power them on. Refills will last as long as they’re moist; typically 30-45 days.
Renew cartridges as needed; sold in 2 packs they’ll typically last 30-45 days.
HOW TO TREAT GNAT BITES ^
If you’ve acquired gnat bites or expect to be getting bit during a field trip or other outdoor activity, bring some BITE RELIEF SWABS. This material will take away the itch and provide instant relief. They’re packed in handy “1 dose” vials and are easy to carry afield.
Each 10 pack has enough to treat 25-50 bites and works instantly to take away the discomfort of most any insect bite.
For lingering damage to the skin, GENES SOOTHING CREAM is an all natural ointment that works wonders. It will help your skin heal and during the process take away any unpleasant discomfort. Packed in 8 oz jars, apply some in the evening before retiring to help enable your skin to both heal and feel relief.
BEST GNAT SPRAYS FOR THE HOME AND YARD ^
Though repellents can provide gnat relief when local populations are not extreme or excessive, there are times when chemical applications will be needed. This will usually be the case when there are just too many areas around in which the gnats can breed and multiply. The constant renewal of adults means there will be aggressive competition for food which means repellents won’t work well.
When such conditions exist around your home, its strongly suggested you treat the outside to reduce these numbers. This can be done using a liquid for small yards but in general, fogging will be the most cost effective and efficient way to treat. And for inside the home, space spraying with aerosols will be required.
GNAT CONTROL FOR INSIDE THE HOME ^
For inside the home, enclosed patios or decks, PT-5656XLO can be applied for quick control of any flying pest. PT-565 will kill gnats instantly but leaves no residual so expect to use it 2-3 times a day. It can be used safely in the kitchen and other parts of the home too; one can can treat the average home many times.
To treat the average 15 foot by 15 foot room, spray PT-565 into the air for 5-8 seconds. People and pets can come into treated rooms within 5 minutes with no hazard present after the application. Pyrethrin is extracted from the chrysanthemum plant and there will be slight odor detectable following the application.
For light infestations, this is OK but if you have small areas that will need treatments through the entire season, consider getting an AEROSOL MACHINE and CLEAR ZONE AEROSOL. The machine can be configured to release a blast of the Aerosol on a timed basis so you don’t have to worry about doing the treatment yourself over and over which is required when using 565.
Use 1 machine per 400 sq/ft of living space. Machines are powered by 2 “D” cell batteries and will release a small amount of product every 15 minutes which will constantly be working to keep your home gnat free. Most homes will require 3-6 machines and refills of aerosol to be renewed every 30 days.
Refills will last 30 days; Clear Zone is odorless making it ideal for use in the home.
GNAT SPRAY FOR OUTSIDE IN THE YARD ^
In general, its best to fog for gnat control in the yard. But if you have a small yard – 2500 sq/ft or less – you could try using CYONARA RTS. This concentrate comes with it’s own hose end sprayer. Basically you just hook it up to a garden hose and it’s ready to go. Cyonara is labeled for use on Vegetable Gardens, handles a broad range of insects and is odorless. If you don’t mind dragging the garden hose through the yard, Cyonara should provide 1-2 weeks of gnat control and is easy to apply.
Each jug of Cyonara can treat up to 16,000 sq/ft so expect to use approximately 1/3 of the jug when treating 5,000 sq/ft. This means one jug will be enough to provide 3 treatments of a yard this big; plan on treating once a week until the problem is resolved. After things are under control, treat every 10-14 days to make sure they don’t get re-established.
FOGGING FOR GNATS – THE BEST GNAT CONTROL ^
Now if you want to treat 5,000 sq/ft or more of yard, fogging will be the way to go. Anyone that fogs will find this method to be much faster compared to spraying liquids. Additionally, you’ll be using a lot less material to get the same area treated compared to liquid sprays. This is true because you’ll be able to “stretch” your liquid mixtures to cover a lot more area. Basically you’ll use about 1/10 as much chemical which means you’ll save on chemical costs and on time.
You’ll also get way better coverage because mist applications get most every side of any plants being treated so gnats and their eggs won’t be able to hide or be “missed” in the landscape.
WHY USE A FOGGER FOR GNATS? ^
For those of you who don’t know, Foggers or Mist Blowers are small devices that pump out a “mist” (looks like fog) which is a great form of treating any landscape. It’s highly effective because the mist these machines create will cover plants, turf and hard to reach areas way better compared to liquid applications.
There are many foggers and mist blowers to choose from and we have a large range that can be used effectively for small lots of 5,000 sq/ft or less right up to big lots that can total several acres. Just be sure to get a machine that will handle your property efficiently so it won’t be “stressed” or cause you to work too hard. These two conditions will in turn lead to poor product performance and/or a tendency to not treat enough because the work is too “hard”. A properly fitted fogger for your property will enable you to treat the area in very little time and save on the cost of chemical so it’s always better to oversize the machine compared to the work load it will have to handle.
For example, the author has about a 1 acre lot which he regularly treats for mosquitoes, gnats and other flying pests. Using his machine of choice (the Back Pack Mist Blower listed below), he’s able to treat the entire area using 2-3 gallons of mixed material in just 8-10 minutes. About half of this area includes his house and well manicured lawn; the other half is mostly a wild area full of overgrown weeds and other plants. He originally treated his yard with liquids and had to pump 20-30 gallons out over this same area to get adequate coverage. That process used so much more chemical and took upwards of an hour to accomplish. Now he gets better results at a fraction of the cost.
WHAT SIZE FOGGER TO GET? ^
For small yards 5,000 sq/ft or less, go with the MINI FOGGER. This unit has a 32 oz holding tank and is strong enough to shoot the mist 15-20 feet.
The FM6309 has fixed rate of chemical flow which is generally okay. But the FM6208 has a dial setting allowing you to turn it to low, medium or high. This is handy for when you need to make delicate applications but its also good for cleaning out the unit prior to storage. Simply turn the chemical control switch to “off” and let the fogger use up what’s in it’s system and you can then store it for a few days without worrying about the insides getting clogged.
Good for 10,000 sq/ft for up to an acre, the FM6309 has a 1 gallon tank and can pump out 1 gallon per 10 minutes.
If you need volume control (low, medium and high), go with the FM6208. It too can pump out 9-10 oz per minute and has a 1 gallon holding tank.
For some users, being able to “cut the cord” is important. So if you’d like a completely portable unit, get the BACKPACK MIST BLOWER. This device has a 3.5 gallon tank and is powered be gas. Perfect for 1 acre or more, this unit can blow a mist 50+ feet and plenty powerful to handle most any job. Simply fill up the tank, make sure you have enough gas and you can go wherever the gnats may be hiding! Great for property where being free from electric cords is necessary or if you have a lot of areas to treat on a regular basis but need to move from one point to another as you treat.
If you have several acres to treat, consider getting a truck mounted machine like the MINI-LITE ULV. This machine can create ultra small particles so you use even less chemical compared to the machines above. It weighs about 29 lbs and can be mounted on any ATV or small pick up truck for large scale gnat control.
THERMAL FOGGERS FOR GNATS ^
For even less chemical consumption and more efficient treatments, consider one of the following thermal foggers. These devices use DEODORIZED OIL instead of water in their tank mix but the ultra small particle sizes they project will stay suspended longer than water based sprays and work best when you need to cover several acres.
For 3-5 acre lots, the SUPER HAWK will do the job. It features electric start, a 1.2 gallon tank and weighs just 16.5 lbs.
For 5-10 acre lots, the GOLDEN EAGLE is better suited. It features electric start, a 1 gallon tank and weighs 19 lbs.
For 10 acres or more, the BLACKHAWK TRUCK MOUNTED thermal fogger is well suited. It can be powered on by batteries or even wired into the truck’s battery for convenient remote on/off control. It can hold 3 gallons of mixed chemical and weighs in at 73 lbs.
BEST GNAT CHEMICALS FOR FOGGING ^
Once you decide on which fogger will fits your need, you’ll need chemical. We have found a trio of three products work best for gnats. In fact this trio works great for mosquitoes, biting flies, horse flies, noseeums, deer flies and more.
These chemicals can be used in either water or oil so they can be used in the cold mist blowers or the hot thermal foggers too.
The first product needed is our 6% PYRETHRIN. This active is extracted from the chrysanthemum plant and is extremely effective on flying pests. It works fast and is generally suggested for getting control of the initial problem so expect to use it for 2-4 weeks. The only limitation of this active is its short life; it only remains active for 30-60 minutes and then its gone.
Add 1 oz per gallon of water or oil.
The next active needed is a super concentrated permethrin. We’ve found TENGARD works well with the Pyrethrin. Permethrin is man’s attempt at copying the naturally occurring pyrethrin and though we were able to create a product that can last 1-2 weeks when applied outside, it doesn’t offer a quick knockdown like the pyrethrin which is why you’ll need both.
Add 1 oz per gallon of water or oil and expect use this active every time you treat.
The third active you’ll want in the mix is NYLAR. This special material is a “growth regulator” which means it intercepts or blocks the development of certain insects like noseeums, gnats, midges, mosquitoes and black flies. In the long run, using Nylar will effectively be able to stop the noseeums from reproducing. It will also last long so new ones entering the area won’t be able to lay eggs that will prosper.
The 10% NYGUARD will readily mix with the Pyrethrin and Permethrin and you’ll need to add 1/2 oz per gallon of mixed solution. You’ll only need to use this twice a month since it lasts longer than the other two actives.
The three actives above can all be mixed with water when using any of the cold mist blowers. But for thermal foggers, you’ll need DEODORIZED OIL.
HOW TO TREAT OVER LAKES, PONDS AND RIVERS ^
For sensitive areas around water ways, ESSENTRIA IC is a federally exempt concentrate made from essential plant oils that’s both safe and effective for a range of pests including gnats. This mixture will work just like a combination of pyrethrin and permethrin and though it doesn’t contain an egg killing agent, using it ever 7-14 days will get the job done without presenting a hazard to people, animals or aquatic life.
Mix 4-8 oz per gallon of water or gallon of oil for use in both cold and thermal foggers.
Gnats are a major problem for many areas of the world. Though prevalent during the warm season, if left untreated in the home they can prosper year round. Be sure to identify local breeding grounds if you want to treat effectively. Once such areas are located, spray or fog with Pyrethrin 6%, Permethrin and Nylar. Use some repellent on your skin and clothes if you are going somewhere off your property and expect to encounter them. Bug Bands and Bite Shields will help as well and if you do get bit, keep some Bite Ointment available for treatment. Though the Repellent options will help, they will prove to be short lived and won’t solve the breeding problem so use them only where problems are light. For maximum control, spray or fog on a regular basis and you will be able to get outside more often and enjoy the experience a lot more as well.
CONTACT US ^
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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