- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Researchers, farmers, community members and county officials gathered in Escondido yesterday to discuss clouds of eye gnats that have been plaguing residents of south Escondido and Jacumba for the last few years, reported Gary Warth in the North (San Diego County) Times.
UC Cooperative Extension advisor James Bethke, a nursery and floriculture expert, moderated the San Diego County Eye Gnat Research and Education Symposium.
"We don't need to have crop-dusters flying over Escondido to deal with this situation," Bethke said.
However, he conceded, there still is much researchers do not know about the eye gnat.
"I was very amazed to learn that almost nobody is researching this," Bethke said.
UCCE research associate Bryan Vander also spoke at the symposium. He said people have been trying to fight gnats since at least 1932, when a researcher in the Coachella Valley made an 8-foot-tall trap for $76 that reportedly caught 109,777 gnats a day.
Vander said UCCE researchers have designed a smaller, less-expensive trap that has proven effective against eye gnats. A plastic bottle is filled with a mixture of raw eggs and water that has been left till it emits a "pungent smell." Complete instructions are posted online.