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Buffalo Gnats Creating Major Issues Near Red River

Buffalo Gnats Creating Major Issues Near Red River

CREATED May 21, 2014
by Chris Conte

FRANKLIN, KY. - At 1/8 inch long, Buffalo Gnats have been some of the smallest insects found across Southern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee but these tiny pests have created a big nuisance for farmers, residents and boaters near the Red River.

"They're a major problem. For whatever reason they find this area is a very good place to breed," Agricultural Agent Jason Phillips said standing on the banks of the Red River Wednesday afternoon.

They hardly bite but are incredibly attracted to CO2 that humans exhale when they breathe - causing them to typically swarm in the dozens in front of a person's face, making it nearly impossible to spend prolonged amounts of time outdoors anywhere near the Red River.

"I've met with farmers and homeowners where you can't even have a conversation outside they're flying around so much and in your ears and nose and mouth," he added.

It's been a problem for canoers and kayakers on the river, too.

According to Phillips, the State of Kentucky released a pesticide into the river three years ago to help kill Buffalo Gnat larval, a treatment he said that worked for a few years but now the problem is back.

"They will probably have to do multiple treatments along the river," he adds.

Phillips said that if the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Consumer Affairs office gets enough complaints this year they may consider deploying the treatment next spring.

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