Punkys are prevalent throughout most of the world. Punkys are really flies but because of their small size and other behaviors, people don’t generally think of them as such. Punkys 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.
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JUST WHAT IS A PUNKY ANYWAY? ^
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 bite. Females need a blood meal in order to become fertile and once she mates, will lay hundreds of eggs. 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.
ADULT PUNKYS – THE REAL 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. Essentially that is all the females want; blood. They will seek this from any mammal they can find and people will often times be their prime target. Though not particularly a fast flyer, gnats are hard to kill. They are elusive and yet persistent. Swatting at them will rarely get them to leave. In most cases you will have to leave the immediate area if you wish to get relief. The use of a HAND HELD ZAPPER can help; since these pests tend to stay in territories, once you kill off the ones which are active around you, others won’t come too quickly.
Hand Held Zapper: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/hand-held-zapper
PUNKY REPELLENT FOR 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 Deet will prove to be longer lasting of the two.
Deet 20% Lotion: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/liquid/deet-20-lotion-6-oz
Additionally, treating your clothes with some PERMETHRIN AEROSOL will help. This product is repellent to most insects and is a great help at keeping ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats and most any biting insect away. 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 fit around your wrist and release a light Citronella odor; the Bite Shields are usually attached to your belt and offer better protection overall.
Permethrin Aerosol: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/aerosol/permethrin-aerosol-6-oz
If you plan on being at one location most of the time, then some 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 4″ CANDLE will last over 30 hours, the 6″ CANDLE will last over 65 hours and the JAR CANDLE will last 75-85 hours. Excellent for decks and patios, these candles can be brought on camping trips and picnics. If you experience bites or expect to be getting bit during a field trip or other outdoor activity, bring some BITE SWABS. This material will both take away the itch and help the wound to heal.
Conceal Candle: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/fumigant/conceal-candle
Conceal Jar Candle: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/fumigant/conceal-jar-candle
PUNKY REPELLENT FOR THE HOME ^
Adult gnats are a major problem around homes. Their sheer persistence can ruin a family picnic, outside get together or any attempt to just go outside and relax on your deck or in the yard. Punkys can make cutting the grass or working in the garden a nightmare. Their bites won’t heal quickly and when they fly into your mouth, ears, nose or eyes, they can bite and sting making for some very uncomfortable conditions. Fortunately there are many repelling and control options available for use in these areas. What will work the best is generally most dependent on the level of activity or local populations. For mild levels of activity or where gnats are not too dominant, there are several repelling treatments that can prove to be helpful.
PUNKY REPELLENT is the simplest material to apply and will repel several types of nuisance biting insects for 2-3 weeks. Be sure to apply it approximately 12 hours prior to any event if you are attempting to keep the area gnat free during a specific time. Also, don’t water over it in order to get the full benefit of the application.
Another repellent that works well on flying biting insects 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 CONCEAL so they work at optimal level.
Mosquito Blocker: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/electric/mosquito-blocker
PUNKY CHEMICALS AND EQUIPMENT ^
Though repellents will work well when local populations are not extreme or excessive, there are times when chemical applications are 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, it is best to do some kind of liquid, mist or fog application throughout their season to keep numbers in check. There are many options available for treatment; try to match the area needing treatment with the right sized equipment and chemical form so that you aren’t spending too much time retreating.
PUNKY PRODUCTS ^
For small areas, like enclosed patios or decks, PT-565 XLO or PT-MICROCARE will prove effective. Both are aerosols that contain pyrethrin; the PT-565 will kill instantly but leaves no residual. The Microcare will last 2-4 weeks and is much better suited if you intend on spraying surfaces as well as the air. The Microcare is good to use on any surface gnats will land like screening or around windows or lights. Since gnats will regularly seek such places on which to rest, treating such areas can prove to have a big impact on their activity.
Another aerosol good for surfaces is FLYING INSECT KILLER. This formulation uses a newer active ingredient. It has a slightly stronger odor when applied but its stronger then the other two options. Plus, it’s water based. This means there is less chance of any staining if you have to treat local surfaces. The 565 and Microcare use the more traditional solvent systems which can react with some finishes and glass so if you plan on treating inside a lot, use the Flying Insect Killer. But the one limiting thing about all three aerosols is that they must be applied over and over.
Flying Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/flying-insect-killer
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 METERED 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. Just set the machine up and replace the Aerosol as needed. This set up is excellent for porches, patios, decks, basements and any small area which has gnats, mosquitoes or other flying insects throughout the warm summer months.
ORGANIC PUNKY CONTROL PRODUCTS ^
Two other aerosol options that recently came to market should be considered for sensitive areas or when treatments are to be done in gardens. ORGANIC FLYING INSECT KILLER is certified organic and can be used inside or outside for open space treatments. Use it as frequently as needed to control most any kind of flying pest. ORGANIC HOUSEPLANT KILLER is safe enough to be applied directly to plants making it the only aerosol you can apply to organic gardens, herb gardens or plants both inside and outside the home. Both are certified organic and bear the “organic gardening” logo and as such a product it means they won’t provide long term residual. For this reason you should expect short term control of gnats and nothing that lasts more than a day or so.
Organic Flying Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/aerosol/flying-insect-killer-14-oz
House Plant Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/aerosol/houseplant-insect-killer-10-oz
PUNKY CONTROL SPRAYS ^
If the aerosols aren’t big enough or strong enough to handle the area you want to protect, you will have to go to either liquid or fogging applications. Liquid treatments will be applied with a sprayer and though effective, there will be waste and time considerations. Liquid treatment is easy to do when you have small areas like a garden or under a deck that needs to be sprayed from time time. A good product for this type of application is VEGETABLES PLUS PERMETHRIN. This odorless concentrate is labeled for use right on vegetables and turf and it won’t hurt pets or people. It comes with its own hose end sprayer and is good for small to medium sized areas.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
If you want to get concentrates and use your own sprayer for the job, a combination of PYRETHRIN 6% and PERMETHRIN SFR will provide both quick knockdown and long lasting residual so you don’t have to spray continuously. Add some NYLAR to the mix and you will have the best finished spray possible; Nylar is a growth regulator and is the only material that will control eggs. Apply the mixture with one of our SPRAYERS which will do the job for small areas like 10,000 sq/ft or less.
6 % Pyrethrin: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/exciter-16-oz
Permethrin SFR: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/perm-sfr
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
We also have CYONARA RTS available which comes in 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, this is a good option.
Lastly, we also carry ORGANIC MOSQUITO KILLER which also comes in it’s own hose end sprayer. Certified organic by the NOP, Mosquito Killer will handle most any biting pest like gnats and is very safe to use. It’s only drawback is that as an organic material, it won’t be quite as strong as our other choices so if you choose to use it, expect to treat more frequently. Generally once a week should do the job.
Organic Mosquito Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/mosquito-tick-killer-32-oz-rts
PUNKY CONTROL FOGGERS ^
If you have large areas to treat, fogging is much faster to do and will “stretch” your liquid mixtures so you cover a lot more area and effectively use a lot less product. Most of our foggers can use our WATER BASED PYRETHRIN but it’s more cost effective to get the Pyrethrin 6% and Permethrin Concentrate to make your own. These water based formulations will work well in our of our foggers.
Fogger or Misters are small devices that pump out a mist which does a great job of covering plants, turf and hard to reach areas where mosquitoes and gnats like to hide. There are many to choose from; be sure to get one that will handle your property efficiently. For small areas measuring 5000 sq/ft or less, the MINI-FOGGER will suffice. For areas up to one acre, either the FM6309 or the FM6208 will do a good job. If you need the fogger to direct the mist in a very specific direction, the FM7807 will do the job.
The best “large area” foggers are systems that run on gas and can be carried anywhere. The BACK PACK FOGGER is handy because its self powered, can hold several gallons of mixed product and is carried on your back. It can treat large areas over an acre and it will do so efficiently saving in chemical costs compared to spraying.
Back Pack Fogger: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/foggers/solo-mistblower-backpack
For multi acred lots, get the THERMAL FOGGER. It relies on a “hot” fog and will release a mist that stays in the air much longer then the other misting foggers so you are able to treat larger areas effectively. For the Thermal Fogger you will have to mix up the Pyrethrin and Permethrin in some DEODORIZED FOGGING OIL since water can’t be used. You can also get some premixed material that comes in oil and is ready to fog. OIL BASED PYRETHRIN will prove to be more expensive to use but it works great. Some people like the fact that there is no mixing involved; just load it into the sprayer and start applying it. Regardless of the form you choose to apply, the Back Pack Fogger or our Thermal Fogger will prove to be the most effective tools for getting large areas sprayed.
Deodorized Oil: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/deodorized-oil
Oil Based Fogging Compound: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/insecticide-300-ob-gallon
Punkys 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 ^
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