Gnats blamed for killing small birds - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Gnats blamed for killing small birds

BARRY, Ill. (WGEM) -

You know it's been a bad year for gnats, but what's been a nuisance for us, has been deadly for some animals.

So why are some animals at risk from a very small bug?

If you walk outside this time of night, whether it's by the river, or even outside your house, the first thing you'll notice are the gnats.

And while they're definitely an annoyance for us, they're actually very dangerous to small farm animals.

"We thought something had gotten in the cage, but after doing a little bit of research, we realized it was the gnats that had killed them," said Marie Woods.

Woods and her family raise ducks on their farm near Barry.

This month, they've lost four ducklings because of the sheer amount of gnats this year.

"They block their airway and it basically suffocates them," said Woods.

To try and prevent losing anymore ducklings, Woods put fans in front of the cages to keep the gnats away.

Dr. Drew Kaiser with Katherine Road Animal Hospital in Quincy says what Woods and her family is experiencing, isn't uncommon.

He says smaller birds like chickens and ducks have tiny airways and when gnats swarm, they can get stuck in their nostrils, making it nearly impossible for them to breathe.

Another reason why gnats are so bad, Kaiser says we aren't just dealing with this year's eggs.

"Two years ago when we were so dry, the gnats eggs couldn't hatch, and now they can hatch and with that and all the moisture we had these past few months, boom they're there," said Kaiser.

While Kaiser says there is no full-proof way to get rid of gnats, he says using repellents, or even fans can help.

Either way, Woods hopes the gnats leave, so she doesn't lose anymore ducklings.

"They say once it warms up the gnats will go away, and we won't have to keep a fan on the ducks," said Woods.

Kaiser says if you have small ducks or chickens, some insurance agencies do offer coverage should you lose an animal to gnats.

Kaiser also wants to warn that if you keep pet birds outside, they could also be susceptible to gnats.



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