Thursday, September 24, 2009


Yes, I was wondering what those things were flying up my nose…

Been wondering what those pesky bugs are that have been dive-bombing your eyes, flying up your nose and into your mouth as you try to enjoy your child's soccer game or a simple walk around the block?

And why they seem to be just everywhere?

Those pesky critters aren't just regular gnats, they are soybean aphids.

"They are a nuisance," said Dean Johnston, a naturalist with Forest Park Nature Center. "We just have to put up with them."

Johnston said the aphids seem in abundance because of the cool weather central Illinois has experienced this summer. And it's also the time of year when vegetation is beginning to rot.

"They like rotting vegetation," he said. "September typically is a high insect time, but when the frost comes, that ends it."

When aphids land on something, they probe it with their sucking mouthparts to see if it is good to eat. People with sensitive skin may feel a slight prick, but it is unlikely to leave a mark. Others are unlikely to feel anything at all.

However, Phil Nixon, an entomologist for the University of Illinois Extension Office, advises people not to wear yellow, or else they will attract even more of those tiny swarming bugs.

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