Gnats 2014

Asked October 10, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT

Why are the gnats this year so bad? I have never experienced this since I lived in the South. They fly into your eyes, ears and mouth, and even in my hair, I believe are biting my scalp. You can't get away from them, they seem to follow you and always around your head. Insect sprays do not effect them. This year they are so bad you can't work in the garden. I live in the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA. Did our area not get sprayed this year? It's just horrible, can't even go out in the yard. Very interested and thankful for your answer. Linda Renaldi

Northampton County Pennsylvania urban integrated pest management pests

1 Response

Insects such as flies, gnats, mosquitoes and all their relatives thrive in warm wet conditions - exactly what we had all summer in Pennsylvania. There was an even supply of moisture, even in July. The larvae of flies and gnats need moist, warm decaying organic material - so they ARE going to be everywhere during times where that is provided to them. There is no reason to broadcast pesticides all over the environment - it would not stop this sort of thing anyway. It is a grin (or grimace?)-and-bear it kind of situation - plus try to do what you can near your place to maximize drainage and minimize standing water & WET, decaying organic matter (e.g. leaves in the rain gutters). Some of these "gnats" - of which there are lots of different species which all behave differently - congregate in the air at the tallest point, which may be your head! I have found that if you put on a hat with something extended from it on the back, it helps. The buggars fly up away from your face. I also have a netted veil that I use in places where there are "no-see-ums" - the worst gnat there is. Not perfect solutions but they help!
Lyn, PA IPM Program