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In my part of the world, the Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011 isn't any big deal as regards the water itself because my area is far above it. HOWEVER, for this reason, local real estate is highly desirable by the residents of our few low-lying areas (aka swamps), and most of those residents are undesireable wildlife. Among the least desireable of these swamp-dwellers is the gnat Simulium meridionale, AKA the "buffalo gnat", which normally lives fairly close to the River's edge. Thus, as the River has come up, so has the gnat, so that even my place 200 feet above the current waterline is overrun with them. I've never seen them this bad in all my life, even at other times of high water.

 

In the mornings, you can see them swarming in their millions over the pastures. They form amorphous, translucent, tan-colored clouds, despite their main body color being black. I suppose the color is from their wings, which catch the most light. Just to walk outside during the day requires most folks wearing safety glasses, a bandana over the nose and mouth, and even earplugs, because the damned gnats bum-rush every hole in your head. And of course they also bite which is painful to most folks. For some reason they don't bite me, but I've been getting many in my eyes and ears so have had to wear the safety glasses myself. It's been just plain miserable to go outside lately. Hounddogs won't come out from under the house until it's dark. Plus, everybody's chickens are dead. The infernal gnats suffocate them by crawling up their nostrils by the thousand. I'm talking a plague of Biblical proportions here.

 

Anybody ever hear Captain Beefheart's "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on my Knee" ? That explains current conditions here better than I can.

 

BUT, thank the Dark Gods, solace has come. It turns out the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned bufflalo gnats hate the smell of vanilla. It doesn't even have to be real--imitation works just fine. So, if you ever have a gnat problem, get yourself a bottle of imitation vanilla extract. Then rub a tiny amount all over your head. You can either pour about 1/2 a cap's worth on a palm, rub your hands together, and then rub your head, or you can pour the extract into a spray bottle and give your head a squirt on each side. This is MUCH cheaper and MUCH safer than chemical repellants, plus smells way better.

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This song would also fit your situation, I think. The torture never stops

 

One of my favorite songs :drinks:

 

Problem is, you can't make a dungeon in Lousy Anna because you can't dig a hole that deep without hitting water, and even if you could, there's no stone to shore it up with. Lousy Anna is nothing but mud all the way down to Hell, where there's a thin layer of baked mud brick just above the fires. So we do all our torturing above ground, usually back out in the swamp someplace :grin:

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Sounds horrific BH. Just one of natures feak occurances by the sound of things, a perfect storm for gnats.

 

Closest I can imagine is a storm cloud of midges. We don't have a cure exactly, but feeding them a steady supply of tourists stops them hunting outside their normal territory, and most of the time they leave the rest of us alone.

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Nasty creatures. I'm used to seeing lots of mosquitoes and gnats here in the summer. They love wet environments, and the swampy terrain we have in our forests here is ideal breeding ground for them. But too much is too much. If you have to wear glasses, then it's definitely too crowded there.

 

It's interesting how some people seem to attract all the bloodsucking insects in an area, while others are hardly ever bothered by the bugs.

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It's interesting how some people seem to attract all the bloodsucking insects in an area, while others are hardly ever bothered by the bugs.

 

 

I have a theory that if you let yourself get agitated, you must release some chemical which makes them attack you more. Best thing to do is try to relax and lower your pulse rate.

 

I'm like BH though. I get bitten a little bit, but nothing like as much as other people. And when I do get a bite you'd hardly notice a reaction, neither midge or mosquito. I've seen some people get terrible lumps and bumps. I might be less prone to bites, but I still wouldn't fancy my chances with malaria or a scorpion though, or any of those Aussie spiders that hide in your boots or under the toilet seat. I would feel so cheated to lose my life to a bug you could squish underfoot.

 

Thing I hate the most are ticks though. Horrendous little things. We don't get them frequently, and thankfully my dogs seem to be quite leathery in their hides. The ticks get their jaws into the skin but can't seem to burrow in to any great extent. Twist them slowly and out they usually come. We used to have a collie and when she got a tick it would burrow right in deep and all you could see was the ticks arse, and you had a hell of a job getting them out. Hateful, disgusting little things with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. The funny thing is too, (and she's the only dog I've seen do it), but for some reason she would often get a slug caught in her fur when she'd been outside in the dark. It would freak the bejesus out of her. She'd panic and freak out until you got the slug off. She was a very clever collie, but really didn't like slugs. It was one of those things you'd think was funny until you saw how upset she was.

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Hateful, disgusting little things with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever.

 

I don't have anything to add to that, except that those bloody things also spread diseases, and not just harmless diseases, but really dangerous ones like Lyme borreliosis.

 

Mother Nature has all kinds of strange things inhabiting this little planet.

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I don't have anything to add to that, except that those bloody things also spread diseases, and not just harmless diseases, but really dangerous ones like Lyme borreliosis.

 

On top of that, they've got nerve poison in their bite. Not surprising, being as they're close kin of spiders. For some reason, they don't use their poison all the time, and not everything or everybody is affected by it. However, for them that are vulnerable, it's highly debilitating. Our last dog had it bad. Just 1 tick on her and she couldn't stand up, let alone walk. She'd just lie there twitching like she had Parkinson's. But get rid of the tick and she'd be running around just fine within the hour.

 

Around here, after a few years, pastures tend to get overrun with bitterweed. Cows will eat it only if there's nothing else and it makes their milk bitter, so if there IS anything else, the bitterweed proliferates, so eventually you have to disc up the whole pasture to get rid of it. But this weed has 1 redeeming feature--ticks hate it. So, if you have the misfortune to get covered with "seed ticks" (that is, you brush against a bush where a bunch of tick eggs of just hatched, so you're covered in nearly microscopic baby ticks), you can brush them right off with a stem of bitterweed.

 

Mother Nature has all kinds of strange things inhabiting this little planet.

 

2/3 of all living species are parasites. And some parasites exercise a type of mind control over their intermediate hosts, so they're more likely to get eaten by their final hosts. Pretty creepy. I recommend the book Parasite Rex, by Carl Zimmer (http://www.amazon.com/Parasite-Rex-New-Epilogue-Dangerous/dp/074320011X) if you really want to get creeped out.

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Back to the original topic, I have a few questions

 

My computer is not far from a window and I turn the air conditioning off when the evening cools down to save money :heat: . Even went so far as to build shrouds for the two windows in which I have my fans so as to draw out air higer in the rooms, thus lowering the overall temps (and reducing the noise, slightly) :idea: . Problem is the bugs small enough to fit through my window screen seem to lo-o-o-ove this great big panel of light in front of me (any idea how annoying it is to chase that aircraft off in the distance only to have it fly right off the screen? :blink: ) and my warm body. Will spraying the screen with vanilla keep the pests from crawling through and pestering me? Or will it just attract even more of the little bug-gers? And what concentration of vanilla will make this work?

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Can't answer you von Baur, but I once had a similar problem.

 

Many years ago I used to do architectural drawings. No computers back then, just tracing paper on a drawing board. I had left the room for a time, forgetting the window was open, and returned to find a swarm of midges attracted to the white surface of the drawing board and spot lamp. It was crawling with them. You couldn't sweep them away or place anything on the drawing for fear of squishing them, and thus permanently ruining the drawing. Even a tiny amout of moisture, water or a squished bug, can destroy tracing paper because it makes it warp. All I can say is thank heavens for vacuum cleaners.

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Thanks for the info Bullethead. Gnats seem to be out in force this year. I watched a orbital mass follow my 2 1/2 year old around the yard. She held her hands over her ears sayin' "daddy the mosquitos are biting me"

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