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Gnats

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Ben Tex

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Gnats

by Ben Tex » Sat May 24, 2008 1:54 pm

Hello All,

First post here-- a little history. I'm a native Texan who lived in the California bay area for 4 years from 1997 until 2001. While there, my wife and I fell in love with good wine, making many trips to Napa and Sonoma. As empty nesters, most evenings would begin on our patio with a bottle of good California wine. When retirement took us back to my native south Texas, we soon discovered a new phenomenon. We learned we couldn't comfortably enjoy a glass of wine on our patio without gnats flying into our glasses and swimming around. Then we learned to "fish" them out with napkin corners, and then cover our glasses with napkins, coasters, cd cases, paperback books, etc. I assumed this was more the rule than the exception across the country, since more of the country has lush foliage and some humidity than not. I was talking with a fellow wine lover from Michigan the other day, and he said he had never experienced it. My questions to the forum are: where do you live? do you ever drink wine outdoors? do you ever experience the gnat problem I described? if so, how do you address it?

Looking forward to communicating with all of you on this, and many other topics.

Take care,

Ben
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Gnats

by David M. Bueker » Sat May 24, 2008 2:09 pm

I run into it during the summer. It's just part of the romance. :wink:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Gnats

by Jenise » Sat May 24, 2008 2:31 pm

Ben Tex wrote:Hello All,

First post here-- a little history. I'm a native Texan who lived in the California bay area for 4 years from 1997 until 2001. While there, my wife and I fell in love with good wine, making many trips to Napa and Sonoma. As empty nesters, most evenings would begin on our patio with a bottle of good California wine. When retirement took us back to my native south Texas, we soon discovered a new phenomenon. We learned we couldn't comfortably enjoy a glass of wine on our patio without gnats flying into our glasses and swimming around. Then we learned to "fish" them out with napkin corners, and then cover our glasses with napkins, coasters, cd cases, paperback books, etc. I assumed this was more the rule than the exception across the country, since more of the country has lush foliage and some humidity than not. I was talking with a fellow wine lover from Michigan the other day, and he said he had never experienced it. My questions to the forum are: where do you live? do you ever drink wine outdoors? do you ever experience the gnat problem I described? if so, how do you address it?

Looking forward to communicating with all of you on this, and many other topics.

Take care,

Ben


Ben, welcome to the forum! I live on Puget Sound, on the Washington side of the British Columbian border. Sitting outside, glasses of wine will often catch a gnat if left unguarded. But notice I used gnat, singular. When I lived in Saudi Arabia in hot, humid conditions on par with Houston, that would be gnats plural. Practically had to drink with a hand over the glass.

So effective is wine in attracting the buggers that when fruit fly stowaways come into the kitchen on purchased fruit, I deal with that by setting up a decoy glass of wine (that I sweeten and add a drop of detergent to in order to break surface tension and make them sink--don't want any escapees!).

Whereabouts in Texas do you live?
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Keith M

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Re: Gnats

by Keith M » Sat May 24, 2008 2:55 pm

Ben Tex wrote:if so, how do you address it?

Welcome, Ben. Long answer to your question, but . . .

When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we had difficulties deciding on a 'wedding favor' to place for our guests on the table. In general, I hate the idea of wedding favors as it obligates the hosts to spend money usually on cutesy stuff that I, being me, would prefer not to have in the first place. We racked our brains for something that would be both fitting/appropriate for a wedding (my wife's concern) and functional/useful (my main concern). We racked our brains for months, nothing came to mind.

We made a trip to Milano a month or so before our wedding and my wife hopped into a little woodworking shop and saw some plain-looking but very nicely carved wooden discs, about 3 inches in diameter. She proposed to me that she could paint them using different colors to make them look quite smashing. I had no doubt in her artistic abilities, so though I couldn't really see any function for the discs, I knew they would be attractive, a personal gift from us, and would not break the bank (and it was getting too close to the wedding to think we'd ever discover the perfect 'functional' gift).

Once we returned home, she painted them in various stages and left them on our sideboard to dry. One evening we were enjoying a bottle of wine, but the bugs were out in force. We kept swatting them away, but they were quite fierce and it was annoying. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse and had a Eureka! moment. I said 'aha!' and looked my wife in the eyes, but though she knew I had made a discovery, she didn't know what it was. I walked over, picked up one of the beautifully-painted discs and plopped it on top of my glass. Voilà!

We had some stickers printed up that said "In vino veritas . . . nec insecta" with our names and the wedding date. Our wedding was held on an outdoor patio in Vermont in August and it took about 45 seconds for our guests to figure out the purpose of the discs before they were balanced on top of every person's glass.

We have enough left over to keep them lying around the house for us and guests--who are usually subjected to this same story of the discovery of their purpose!
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Ben Tex

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Re: Gnats

by Ben Tex » Sat May 24, 2008 3:37 pm

Thanks all for the welcome and the great information. Still welcoming other innovative ideas. We deal with it very often here and I suspected others had too. Thanks again.

Ben
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Cynthia Wenslow

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Re: Gnats

by Cynthia Wenslow » Sat May 24, 2008 3:58 pm

Welcome!

Not much of a problem over here in Santa Fe, Ben. A couple weeks ago I thought I saw some in an unwashed wine glass on the counter. Nope, just sediment.

Edited to add that we do this all the time in the nice weather. The evenings here are perfect for dining outside.
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Redwinger

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Re: Gnats

by Redwinger » Sat May 24, 2008 4:17 pm

Yup, we get 'em here in Central Indiana also. We cover the glass with 2.5 inch square of light weight "cardboard". A side benefit of this approach is that it seems to capture/concentrate the aromas.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Gnats

by Robin Garr » Sat May 24, 2008 4:21 pm

HI, Ben, and welcome! We rarely sip wine outdoors, but as a trivia point, I'm surprised no one has pointed out that (at least according to legend), Spanish tapas originated out of a similar need. Supposedly they were invented as small dishes to cover wine glasses. The snack on top came later.
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Ben Tex

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Re: Gnats

by Ben Tex » Sat May 24, 2008 4:28 pm

Hi Robin. I DID hear that once. I think it was on the Food network where someone gave a recipe for some sort of garlic toast slices that would be kept on top of the wine glass to keep gnats out, and they mentioned that it was how tapas began. I had forgotten. Thanks.
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Re: Gnats

by Dale Williams » Sat May 24, 2008 7:52 pm

Better gnats than yellowjackets. I'll never forget a lawn concert where hornets were in love with my Spatlese.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Gnats

by David M. Bueker » Sat May 24, 2008 7:53 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Better gnats than yellowjackets. I'll never forget a lawn concert where hornets were in love with my Spatlese.


Been there, stung that.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Ben Tex

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Re: Gnats

by Ben Tex » Sun May 25, 2008 7:15 am

By the way, I just noticed Jenice's final question. I live in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio. Thanks to all for the responses.

Ben
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Drew Hall

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Re: Gnats

by Drew Hall » Mon May 26, 2008 9:19 am

Plenty of Gnats here in Belair, Maryland and boy do they love wine. We do the aluminum foil cover which works fine.

DRew
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Gnats

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon May 26, 2008 10:05 am

No Gnats up here, too cold!!.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Gnats

by Paul Winalski » Mon May 26, 2008 10:17 am

I don't have trouble with gnats, but I sure do have trouble with fruit flies.

-Paul W.
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Thomas

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Re: Gnats

by Thomas » Mon May 26, 2008 11:23 am

I consider gnats and fruit flies good protein to pair with wine...
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Re: Gnats

by Howie Hart » Mon May 26, 2008 12:10 pm

Thomas wrote:I consider gnats and fruit flies good protein to pair with wine...
Yeah - they don't really drink that much.
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Redwinger

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Re: Gnats

by Redwinger » Mon May 26, 2008 12:15 pm

Drew Hall wrote: We do the aluminum foil cover which works fine.
DRew

I'll have to try that as I've been having a problem with invading space aliens drinking my wine.
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Re: Gnats

by Robert Reynolds » Mon May 26, 2008 12:33 pm

Reminds me of the old story of the South Georgia garden party, during which the host and hostess keep getting complemented on the delightful bite the sprinkles of black pepper added to the potato salad. Later the wife worriedly confides to husband, "I didn't put black pepper in the potato salad!" :shock:

Gnats in the Deep South are a fact of life, but they aren't quite as bad North of the Gnat Line, which in Georgia runs along the ancient seashore (aka the Fall Line), roughly from Columbus to Macon to Augusta, bisecting the state. South of that line, one learns to continually wave one's hand over the plate and glass, more for the gnats than flies, and to breathe through one's clenched teeth to "strain out" the little buggers. Otherwise, every breath will get you a mouthful of live protein.

The hand waving gets much more vigorous when someone notices the cloud of gnats swarming around the backside and privates of the hounds lounging in the shade around the gardens. :shock:
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Re: Gnats

by Robin Garr » Mon May 26, 2008 12:41 pm

Robert Reynolds wrote:Gnats in the Deep South are a fact of life

I've always admired the name of the Savannah minor-league baseball team, the Sand Gnats.

You've got to wonder about their team cheers. ("Go, Gnats!"?) And I find it particularly difficult to imagine what the team mascot might look like ...
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Re: Gnats

by ChefJCarey » Mon May 26, 2008 12:48 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Robert Reynolds wrote:Gnats in the Deep South are a fact of life

I've always admired the name of the Savannah minor-league baseball team, the Sand Gnats.

You've got to wonder about their team cheers. ("Go, Gnats!"?) And I find it particularly difficult to imagine what the team mascot might look like ...


Kind of a sad, somewhat pendulous creature.
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Redwinger

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Re: Gnats

by Redwinger » Mon May 26, 2008 12:58 pm

ChefJCarey wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
Robert Reynolds wrote:Gnats in the Deep South are a fact of life

I've always admired the name of the Savannah minor-league baseball team, the Sand Gnats.

You've got to wonder about their team cheers. ("Go, Gnats!"?) And I find it particularly difficult to imagine what the team mascot might look like ...


Kind of a sad,........

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Re: Gnats

by Covert » Mon May 26, 2008 9:12 pm

Ben Tex wrote:do you ever drink wine outdoors? do you ever experience the gnat problem I described? if so, how do you address it?


Ben, my empty nest wife and I enjoy a second home on a lake in the Adirondack Park in northern New York State. This weekend, we took our canoe to another lake and were attacked by swarms of gnats, which happens all over the park this time of year, I am told.

But when we returned to our own lake, and opened our wine on the back deck over the lake, there wasn't a single insect noticeable all evening. Someone might suggest that we have life killing radon or cyanide, but that isn't the case. The lake, for example, is full of fish and other life. For some reason, our lake front is totally free of any kind of noxious insect, while the other lakes are not. In five years, I can not remember being bitten once on the deck at any time of the day or night. It is a mystery that I thought about again this weekend.

So I am inspired to research the situation a little bit, and if I find out anything interesting, I will post it.

Congratulations on knowing how to spell gnat. I wanted to write the word a while back and it took me five minutes to figure out how to spell it - knat, natt, etc.
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Robert Reynolds

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Re: Gnats

by Robert Reynolds » Tue May 27, 2008 12:24 am

There are worse pests than gnats. I talked with my Dad this afternoon, and he recounted having killed a 4 1/2-foot-long copperhead snake this morning, between his house and my sister's (she lives just down the hill from him). Talk about something to disrupt a bbq party, a copperhead would have been just the thing to do so!
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