Cedar Gnat Conditions

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Nick

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Biting midges, no see ums, cedar gnats, whatever you want to call them. They were really, really bad throughout much of the San Rafael Swell last weekend. Curious if anyone was down there this weekend and can report how they are now? I'm particularly curious about The Wedge/Buckhorn Wash area (asking for a friend).

Thanks!
 

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Nick

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Also, any recommendations on dealing with them? Deet doesn't seem to help much.
 

b.stark

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Dont know if it works on all kinds of gnats, but here I use vanilla extract when gnats are bad. Works way better than deet, and smells much better. Have to reapply regularly if you're sweating a lot.
 

IntrepidXJ

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Camped in Buckhorn Wash on Friday night and floated the San Rafael River on Saturday and thankfully we didn't have any issues with cedar gnats....but it was much cooler out this weekend and usually they like warmer temperatures.
 

Nick

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Camped in Buckhorn Wash on Friday night and floated the San Rafael River on Saturday and thankfully we didn't have any issues with cedar gnats....but it was much cooler out this weekend and usually they like warmer temperatures.
Thanks for the report. It wasn't very hot last weekend and they were horrendous west of Muddy and down at Hidden Splendor.
 

Nick

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Dont know if it works on all kinds of gnats, but here I use vanilla extract when gnats are bad. Works way better than deet, and smells much better. Have to reapply regularly if you're sweating a lot.
Delicious. Thanks.
 

Brendan S

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I have pretty extensive gnat experience working outside in western CO and eastern UT and pretty much nothing works except a stiff breeze and surrendering to a headnet. There was a guy that used to work with us that went to hilarious lengths trying various deterrents and nothing worked (I'm having flashbacks of him walking around with like a whole box of dryer sheets attached to his clothes and pack).

People often mention specific habitat conditions but IME specific locations seem to matter more and some areas just seem to be worse that others. Weaver Ridge on the CO/UT border has some of the most insanely bad gnat conditions you'll ever see and 30 miles east in the Piceance Creek area you hardly ever see a gnat. Same PJ habitat, similar elevation, and it's the same every year.

I'm assuming this year is going to be especially bad with all the moisture. Our very unscientific observation over the years is that it seems like in a normal year you have a pretty dry June and then a few consecutive 100+ degree days seems to fry em off but not looking good for that scenario this year.
 

Yvonne

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they were pretty bad in Zion and at Yant Flats the last week or so.
Waiting for a stiff breeze and temps above 100F, that's when they usually disappear.
Had to wear a head net in both locations


Dont know if it works on all kinds of gnats, but here I use vanilla extract when gnats are bad. Works way better than deet, and smells much better. Have to reapply regularly if you're sweating a lot.
lavender oil spray works well, too. I'm allergic against DEET so I always use alternatives.
I also have to try Vick WapoRub, this works the best against deer flies. Maybe it helps against gnats as well
 

Stephanie B

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Ran Entajo Canyon (outside Moab) this morning and my face is dotted with red gnat bites where I failed to apply bugspray. We're camped on the north end of Moab where the mosquitos are persistent and the odor emanating from the marshy areas alongside the Colorado isn't pleasant. But, was in Road Canyon, Butler Wash, and Westwater a few days ago and really didn't find bugs to be a problem.
 

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fossana

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I did a literature search in hopes of finding a repellent less nasty than Deet. A few articles mentioned the effectiveness of lemongrass oil/Citronella. The data was conflicting on eucalyptus oil (which is in my mosquito repellent), at least one study saying it acted as an attractant. I don't know yet whether the lemongrass oil results are generalizable to the southern UT species of Culicoides or human body chemistry, but it's worth a try. Will report back.
 

regehr

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How about permethrin-treated clothing? This does well against some bugs, not sure about cedar gnats.
 

Brendan S

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While walking, a lightweight sun balaclava (of course along with long sleeves and a hat) works to keep them out of your ears/neck/etc as well as being less messy and more effective than sunscreen IME.

Tomorrow as I slowly creep along doing LPI vegetation transects I'll probably be rollin with a headnet. Physical barriers FTW (though I'd be pumped if someone actually found something else that works...haven't seen it yet and have seen lots tried).
 

fossana

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How about permethrin-treated clothing? This does well against some bugs, not sure about cedar gnats.
Permethrin appeared to work in some vet studies with cattle and horses, not in at least one. One interesting thing is that some researchers (e.g. Logan et al) have been doing tests with naturally occurring human chemical repellents, like 6MHO (6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one) and geranylacetone ((E)-6,10-dimethylundeca-5,9-dien-2-one).
 

Nick

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This has been an awesome thread. I'm heading out to do do Westwater this weekend. Anyone been down that way recently that can report on the bug situation?
 

b.stark

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Tried some lemongrass oil based repellant over the past couple weeks. Not enough gnats out here to say on them, but for myself and several family members it was a bust for nebraska mosquitoes.
 

fossana

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Tried some lemongrass oil based repellant over the past couple weeks. Not enough gnats out here to say on them, but for myself and several family members it was a bust for nebraska mosquitoes.
Consumer Reports found that the REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus spray works fairly well for mosquitos (I didn't find it helpful for cedar gnats though).

I hiked up in the Pine Valley Mountains after work this week. The cedar gnats were around, but not as bad as earlier in the season.
 

Nick

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I camped on BLM land north of Westwater and on the river near the Little Dolores River confluence. No cedar gnats but plenty of non-biting gnats and moths, and then quite a few mosquitoes on the river. I'll take all of that over cedar gnats any day.
 

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