We have a home on the bay in Worcester county and are experiencing a severe...

Asked August 26, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

We have a home on the bay in Worcester county and are experiencing a severe amount of small gnat-sized biting insects. I believe they are called biting midges. There has been an increase in the last three years. Prior to that I don't recall them being an issue. They can get through screening so we're not really able to use our screened in porch anytime around dusk or later. Is there anything that will deter these insects? Anything we can do to get rid of them? Are there any bats that eat them so that maybe putting up a bat house would help? Any repellents that have been known to work? Thanks much! Brian

Worcester County Maryland

3 Responses

citronella candles on the porch might help. I know that Pryethrum is an insecticide that is often used to control mosquitoes and other small annoying bugs and it would be great if it was labeled to be sprayed on the screening on the porch, but I don't think that it is on the label. Do you have a mosquito spray service? that might help, although a general insecticide applied over and over will cause an outbreak of plant mites, aphids and other insects.

We have a mosquito spray service, but that doesn't seem to be helping. We've also tried the citronella, also to no avail. It seems that these midges are unique.

Do you know if bats would help? Or purple martins? If either of those are known to eat the midges, we'd probably try to put up "houses" for them.

Thanks,
Brian

bats prefer larger insects but the birds will probably eat them up. after talking to an entomologist, I decided to do more research and found this university fact sheet that mentioned the "installation of window and door screens consisting of a mesh size smaller than normal window screen is much more effective in reducing bites because screens prevent female biting midges from entering dwellings." http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/bitingmidge.html and this, http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/biting_midges.htm