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Gnats!! What, where, and why???

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  • Gnats!! What, where, and why???

    Ok, does anyone have any good info on these awful creatures? They are just terrible here this year already!!!

    I have not had much luck finding out useful info on these little buggers, pun intended, and was hoping for some COTH wisdom!

    What do they eat? Are they "eating" my horses?

    Where do they breed? Are they breeding in my manure like a fly? Or somewhere else?

    Anyone know what eats them? Does anything eat them!!

    My horses are safe in their stalls, but for the few hours in the late afternoon they are out before dark, the gnats drive them nuts. I can't even stand to be out there either as the gnats send me running for cover too! Other than leaving them in til dark, is there anything I can do to help lower the gnat's numbers? I know they will never all go away, and most years just a few squirts of a good flyspray keeps them at bay enough for the horses to deal with them in the afternoons, and I have had good luck with SWAT too, but what else can I do? I'm willing to try just about anything at this point! If only someone made a "fly predator" for gnats!!
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  • #2

    draining nearby swamps can help, but might be impractical.
    Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


    • Original Poster

      Great, according to that article I'm screwed!!

      I live by a river that has plenty of marshy areas. Also says they can breed in manure too. That at least I can get a handle on by having it removed. Also says they love coastal areas, yep, screwed again!

      Looks like I better load up on more SWAT!
      Check us out on Facebook at EVER AFTER FARM


      • #4
        I know that bats will eat mosquitoes. Will they eat gnats, too? My DH tried to make some bat houses to combat the mosquitoes that came from a very slow flowing creek in our backyard when we lived in Ohio. Unfortunately, he did not have any luck getting any bats to move into them.
        When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


        • #5
          OP, you must live near me, because after this weekend when it got up to the 70's and the gnats came out in full force, I was going to start this exact same thread!

          If no one else has any good ideas, I may go back to what worked for me up north; smearing the prone areas (in my boys, it's the chest and prepuce) with vaseline. It's messy, especially when they roll a few times and get caked with dirt, but super effective. The gnats can't get through it to bite.


          • #6
            Don't confuse gnats with black flies, which breed in clear running water. They are common in the NE and will drive both horses and people crazy. Fly spray your horse, long sleeves and bug spray for you. Some use something similar to bee-keepers nets to keep them off. They love to crawl under the edge of helmets!!!
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • Original Poster

              I'm in north FL, so I don't think they are black flies.

              I was wondering about bats too. I do have some around, I could not find anything that specifically said they do eat the gnats. Anyone know if they do?

              It's the ears/face that they go after, tried flymasks, but no luck. They just get under them, plus my youngsters just pull them off of each other anyway. As in they don't last more than 15 mins!

              I think my first order of business is to remove my manure. It is in the works anyway and whether or not it helps with the gnats, it can't hurt. Plus other benefits. You know, I can pretty much deal with all the other bugs here, but the gnats bother me more than any other of the many bugs here!
              Check us out on Facebook at EVER AFTER FARM


              • #8
                I don't know if your gnats are the same as my gnats, but I get them something terrible here too! they like to eat the tender inside of horse ears and bellys. Hate 'em! the good news is they seem to be short lived. we get them when the weather warms up and its wet (i have a creek running though property) but they disappear when it gets too warm. of course then the big bugs take over. so, too cold - no gnats, too warm - no gnats. I use the fly masks with ears in the spring and fall, it helps.


                • #9
                  Gee, so nice to see this thread-NOT!

                  Originally posted by appstarz View Post
                  I don't know if your gnats are the same as my gnats, but I get them something terrible here too! they like to eat the tender inside of horse ears and bellys. Hate 'em! the good news is they seem to be short lived. we get them when the weather warms up and its wet (i have a creek running though property) but they disappear when it gets too warm. of course then the big bugs take over. so, too cold - no gnats, too warm - no gnats. I use the fly masks with ears in the spring and fall, it helps.
                  My horses are bugged(pun intended) like appstarz-ears and bellys and sheath area as well.

                  It's reminding me that I need to order some Farnam Roll On that I use in the horses ears and wipe around the sheath area here in western NY. It's not quite as messy as Vaseline in their ears. I also use Ultrashield Fly spray twice/day too.

                  Course right now the gnats aren't a problem YET! It's about 32 degrees F with a SE wind about 13 mph bringing the temp to about 22 F but that will be changing whether or not I like it.

                  I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                  • #10
                    On another thread we were discussing the no see 'em, gnats and flies.
                    The freedom 45 spot on for horses was brought up.
                    A few claimed it did nothing but others said it worked wonders.
                    I have never used it but think I will try it this year if my vet approves.
                    He wants to check on the ingredients first.
                    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                    • #11
                      Fly masks are your only hope

                      Trust me, I have lived in S Ga, 45 minutes from the Fla line all my life. NOTHING kills them. My horses all wear masks and so do I when they are really bad. Go to Gander Mountain and buy a gnat net....it goes over your hat or helmet and are usually found in the camping section. The ones that are just aggrivating, don't bite, raise their young in sand, is what I have been told. That is why there is a "gnat-line" up around north Ga where the clay is found.
                      I HATE summer and I am already dreading it.


                      • #12
                        See if you can find some spray with geranium oil in it, it actually repels them. Also Avon Skin So Soft added to your fly spray helps, otherwise lots of Swat, or keep them in during dusk and dawn.
                        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                        • #13
                          I've had very good success with the original, brown colored Listerine or the cheaper store brand copies. Because it's cheap I decided to give it a try and it does work for knats and mosquitos. Of course, I can spray twice a day because my horses are at home.

                          It's eucalyptus oil that really repels knat and mosquitos. You can buy that and add it to other sprays. Catnip oil should also work. But that stinky Listerine is quite good and the CVS of Safeway brand is even cheaper.

                          Oh, if you find a spot on your horse's chest or midline where the knats have gotten a sore or oozie sport started I suggest spraying the spot with Alushield. The knats will leave the spot alone and it will heal up. Alushield keeps bugs off of any sore, abrasion or minor cut and seems to stop the itching also.



                          • #14
                            Bumping this thread up to look for more ideas. My poor pony was eaten alive by the gnats the last couple of days.
                            I have historically had very good luck with GNatural cream but can not seem to find it anymore.
                            Her ears are not so much a problem but every place she has a hair swirl and around her teats. She is covered with large welts from them and very itchy.

                            Ideas for a product that might actually work that I can buy?


                            • #15
                              My barn is newly constructed, and due to having cleared the land next to it, and new growth not being there, I have a permanent wet area. (3" of rain 3x in the past weeks didn't help either).

                              My $0.02 on the manure + gnats situation... I do not have a manure pile, as I burn mine off daily and I still have the little monsters! Stripping the stalls everynight definitely helps, and spraying the bedding in my stalls with bronco has been keeping them at bay during the day. I think so long as you have the breeding environment, it's an uphill battle....


                              • #16

                                I used to use Farnam's Roll On in ears and around sheath areas to keep the gnats at bay but had trouble with it rolling on the last couple of yrs. This yr I've switched to Repel-X lotion (Valley Vet Supply) and no bug bites yet. It's a thin white lotion and not hard to apply. I wasn't sure if the gnats had hit our area yet but I can tell from your post that they have...

                                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                                • #17
                                  Thank you, MSJ. I will look for some of that. So frustrating.

                                  I was not totally aware the gnats were out in full force either, but my pony clearly is.


                                  • #18
                                    Give pony a big hug from me for having to deal with them.

                                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                                    • #19
                                      If you start getting gnats, or some pest resembling gnats in the house, then they can come out of gunky garbage disposals, or messy sink drains. In the case of the garbage disposal you have to take the rubber gasket out of the top, scrub all sides, and the entire inside of the disposal. For floor drains or unused sinks just dump warm water with some kind of disinfectant in it to clean the drain traps out.
                                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                      • #20
                                        Good lord, it's bad enough to have to deal with them in the barn. I'd hate to have them in the house. Yes, I've had those nasty little blood suckers bite me when I'm mowing or picking up the sacrifice paddocks and that hurts...

                                        I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.