The buffalo gnats currently plaguing Mississippi prompted David Carter, director of the Adams County Extension Service, to address what poultry farmers can do to combat the insects.

Gnats, although typically harmless, have grown so rapidly this summer in the state that they have caused poultry fatalities from toxic shock syndrome, blood loss from bites and, if inhaled, suffocation, according to Carter's article in The Natchez Democrat . Buffalo gnats have also been linked to transmitting leucocytozoonosis.

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Carter recommended the following:

  • Provide shelter or move poultry indoors during the daytime (gnats are daytime feeders and do not like enclosures).
  • Apply permethrin-based, on-animal products labeled for poultry use.
  • Have a fan blowing on the birds to increase air movement.

Carter predicted the gnat population will decrease within the coming weeks since adult gnats only live for three to four weeks and cannot survive the hot southern summers.