Saturday, May 28, 2011

Buffalo Gnats and Eye Gnats.. Kate and Keet Richards at it again

 The bugs are out in droves. The last 2 weeks the bugs have been coming out in what seems like clouds that make time outside uncomfortable. 

 Eye gnats, sometimes called grass flies or as kids we called them eye-lickers, make a cloud around your head. They fly into your ears, nose, eyes, hair repeatedly and swatting brings you maybe one second of relief. A beekeepers veil would probably be really helpful to keep them away while you work. I've been rocking the Hee Haw bridal look with netting on a straw sun hat. 

 Buffalo gnats as well are out and about. They sort of look like tiny house flies, but bigger than eye-lickers and they bite! Their bite turns into something like a mosquito bite, but larger and itchier. My husband isn't allergic to mosquitoes, so when they bite him, nothing happens. When the buffalo gnat bites, their saliva is an irritant and creates those itchy big bumps. They are also not something to be trifled with as they go after many animals and have killed poultry.

 While the eye-lickers are out for essentially the summer, buffalo gnats stick around for a month. So if you see some goofy freckled Hee Haw bride chasing poultry, produce flailing about wildly.. it's just me in my mid-life crisis garden.

 We have a solid white keet and I named it after my friend Kate. Mainly because I like writing notes on her facebook wall or send her messages, but also it is a nod to "Taming of the Shrew". We have a pied keet that I named Keet Richards. Rather swarthy and disheveled, it is always causing a stir. Keet Richards and Kate are the ring leaders of this feathered mob. 

 Keet and Kate frequently can be found partying on the top of the brooder box. They like life on the edge. They are above the common peeps. They are out-of-the-box thinkers.

 To give a dark spot in the brooder for the birds to sleep (cause I was a dummy and got the white light. A red heat bulb minimizes pecking and lets them sleep more comfortably), I draped an old shirt over the corner. 

 Keet and Kate, when busted, will jump on to the shirt, slide down and hop into the box. It makes me laugh every time because you can't help but think of those cheesy action movies. The character jumps over the edge... lands on a cafe awning.. slides.. and gets to safety below where they can disappear into the crowd.

Meanwhile in the garden things are still wet. Wet, wet, wet.. and from the look of the clouds.. soon to be a bit more damp. The pole beans are sprouting. A few washed up in the rains, but I sowed it pretty thick so no biggie. 

 The wet weather also is triggering powdery mildew along with the pesky pests.. so out comes the spray bottle of baking soda in water. Changing the ph helps nerf powdery mildew, but you have to catch it quick. If you wait until it looks like a talcum powder truck jackknifed in your garden.. you waited too long. 

 Now is also the time to check under leaves here for eggs of various unwanted visitors... namely squash bug eggs. I've been popping them off into a container and then chucking it in the freezer to kill them. I am hoping the guineas find them tasty when they are old enough to roam the garden.

If you don't know what the eggs look like.. check here for information about them. The eggs are on the underside of the leaves.  

1 comment:

  1. The only thing really growing in my garden are the pole beans it seems. Let me know how your guineas work out predator wise. I may get some next Spring if they survive well.