Martin Watch Data and Season Totals

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Evan337
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Overall, this was the best season I've ever had. I offered 112 cavities. Had 57 active nests. 54 were successful. 3 failed. 295 eggs laid, 269 hatched, and 237 fledged. It was the worst year I have ever experienced with buffalo gnats. If it weren't for the time off due to Covid I wouldn't have been able to be as proactive in taking measures to mitigate the losses. Two of the three failures were due to gnats. A couple of other 5 and 6 hatchling nests only fledged 1 or 2 because of gnats. The housing systems that performed the worst with the gnats were my trio grandpas. I think this is dues to proximity and interconnected cavities for ventilation. The T-14s and Gourds performed really well with the gnat onslaught and had the highest occupancy and fledge rate success. I think I have a really good system/solution going forward with the gnats but it requires daily monitoring.

On another note, is there a way to upload the excel file on the site? I established the colony but it looked like I would need to enter each cavity and check individually. That would take forever. The link below has the complete spreadsheet with some additional tabs I created to calculate running totals.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7c75zzvek5md2 ... .xlsx?dl=0
Dave Duit
Posts: 1822
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Evan,
Here are two solutions to your gnat problem by two very knowledgable purple martin people. First from Louise Chambers
" Look for absorbine jr fly control products, often sold for horses - use on the outside of the housing only. Ultrathon 3M product lasts longer per treatment if you can find it. Inside nests, some landlords said using pure vanilla extract on a cotton ball under the nest helped. Could not hurt to try that too."
And then from Tim Millard from Iowa. " Dear sir I personally have to put up with gnats every year . I use absorbine jr. soaked into cotton balls put two in each nest down in nesting material. I do this every couple days if they are really bad spray outside of house or gourd with horse spray only on outside. If you don't stop them they will kill all your young ones . Believe me ,I know from experience! It works , here to help Tim millard " Best of luck my friend.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Evan337
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

That was basically my strategy. Sprayed every other day and even then at times it wasn't enough. I did vanilla soaked cotton balls in the cavities. Even used peppermint oil on cotton balls. The biggest problem with the cotton balls is that the martins would remove them quickly. It was raining cotton balls at one point! Hahaha!

On the trios I started putting them in the ventilation holes at the tops of the entry plates and blank plates. On the gourds they fit nicely above the troyer tunnel wing entrapment guards. On my T-14's for next season, I am going to staple a 2" x 2" piece of hardware cloth on the inside of the door above each crescent entry hole. I will only staple the bottom side leaving three sides that aren't stapled. This should work as a holder for the cotton balls. Once the cotton balls are secured, it's easy to soak them daily with fresh vanilla or peppermint oil spray to keep the scent fresh. I lost a total of 32 nestlings. Unattended, I think that number would have been closer to 100 if not more.
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