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What's the buzz with all of these bugs?
Gnats have arrived
Gnats seem to be everywhere and on everyone in Southwest Wisconsin. Residents have recently come up with many different solutions on their search for relief from the tiny bugs.
It must be officially summer in Wisconsin. Road construction has begun, sun screen is on sale at the local pharmacy and it seems nearly every bug in the world is out in force.
Probably the winged thing getting the most buzz this summer has been the clouds of gnats swarming everything with a pulse in sight.
It also seems that everyone has been so desperate for some relief that a whole lot of unusual remedies have been cropping up.
“I’ve had people telling me Vicks Vapor Rub in their ears and elbows works, my sister used pure vanilla and water as a spray,” Hartig Drug in Fennimore employee Michelle McClimans shared. “We’ve been bombarded with people coming in and buying Bug Soother and Bug Protector, we can hardly keep it on the shelves. Someone also came and bought BioFreeze (a pain reliever liquid roll on) because they said the menthol in it helped.”  Other remedies reported have included a blend of mouth wash and Epsom salt, Absorbine Jr., pure vanilla, imitation vanilla extract, Avon’s Skin-So-Soft, Bounce Dryer Sheets, vinegar, garlic oil, light colored clothing, geranium oil, old fashioned bug netting and frantic hand waving.
Typically,gnats are touted as a harmless non biting variety of fly, more akin to the fruit flies that will likely be cropping up over the brown bananas in the hot summer. But anyone in Wisconsin knows as of late that the biting gnats exist.
These are actually considered to be a black fly, but sometimes called a Buffalo Gnat, turkey gnat, or the other variety called no-see-ums.
Whatever the case or whatever they’re called, Wisconsinites are certainly driven crazy by their presence.
The influx of theses pests can likely be attributed to flooding and a late, wet spring.
Gnats of all varieties tend to like areas that are full of fungus and moisture. They tend to swarm right at dusk or when their mating grounds, like tall grass are disturbed. Although their life cycle is short, only about four weeks, one female gnat can lay up to 1,000 eggs during it’s lifetime. Females tend to do most of the blood feeding, right before laying their eggs.
If intense itching is keeping you awake at night and impressive red welts weren’t enough,  intense swarms and prolonged feeding can occasionally result in “black fly fever” which is accompanied by headache, nausea, fever, swollen lymph nodes and aching joints.
Humans aren’t the only ones suffering from the recent outbreak of bugs. Chickens seem to suffer from the swarms as well. Boscobel Dial Editor David Krier reported in his Under the Bridge column last week that a “local, free-range chicken enthusiast” lost over a dozen birds. Struck down dead after the relentless gnats clogged their nostrils to the point of suffocation.
 A historical report shows that a severe outbreak in 1931 in Arkansas killed more than 1,000 mules as well.
As the mercury climbs, local residents should start seeing some relief as the annoying fliers don’t seem to fare well in temperatures 80 degrees and above.

However, mosquitoes and ticks seem to tolerate the heat just fine!