FAQ's Biting Midge
What Attracts Midges to Bite?
Biting midge are predominantly attracted CO2 that your body emits both from breathing out and sweat lactate which escapes your skin. The heat produced by your body is also an attractant for a biting midge to dive in for a blood meal from a warm blooded mammal.
When do midges start to bite?
Intertidal biting midges are most active at dawn and dusk. Close to breeding sites they will bite throughout the day. In southeast Queensland biting midge activity is often greatest in spring and autumn although high activity will also occur throughout summer.
The moons lunar cycles greatly affect the presence of biting midge and their pest habits.
The below video outlines the attached Biting Midge Calendar available for download, which was created to assist you in preparing for camping or fishing trips, outdoor bbqs and parties or even late afternoon walks or picnics down by the water. This will assist in giving you an idea of possible Biting Midge activity levels at certain times of the year and how you can best prepare for these times.
Where do midges breed?
There are many species of biting midge within Australia that cause a pest issue, so depending on the species that are present in your locality will depend on where exactly they will be breeding.
The majority of pest biting midge species along coastlines of Australia, the preferred location is the mud/sand/silt that is exposed between the mid and high tide water marks in tidal areas. There is an exception to this, with a species which breeds in the mulch and leaf litter of parks, gardens and bushland which is sometimes referred to as the Bushland Midge.
Generally, the adult Female lays batches of eggs containing between 30-100 eggs, on surfaces such as silt, sand, mud, decaying leaf litter, damp soil or other organic materials. Larvae then hatch from the eggs a few days later in water containing high organic content. The larvae go through four (4) larval stages, before into pupa. Shortly after that, the adult emerges, and females go in search of a blood meal to sustain their eggs to continue the cycle. The whole life cycle takes 3-10 weeks, depending on species and environmental conditions, particularly temperature and seasons.
Do Biting Midge Carry Diseases?
Biting Midges are not known to transmit any diseases to humans however they are known to transmit some types of livestock vector borne diseases such as is a viral disease called Bluetongue virus (BTV) which is spread by biting insects such as Culicoides midges.
Humans may have varying reactions to their bites. Midge bites usually result in acute pain, itching, irritation and localised swelling. Itching may commence immediately after the bite, but often not for some hours later. Most people who suffer bites are unaware of being bitten at the time before reacting. Some people however, may have a severe reaction to the bite which may result in them blistering and weeping and even anaphylactic type symptoms. These reactions may last for several days to weeks. If you experience severe reactions from the bites of Midges, seek medical attention to help relieve symptoms.
How to Avoid Bites.
The following precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by midges.
Midges prefer humid overcast conditions with minimal air movement, so outdoor fans can help, the Increased air movement discourages midges from landing and biting.
Use insect repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely – We recommend NoBites Personal Insect Repellent – This is an all natural deet free product which works extremely well against biting midge for over 6 hours. www.nobites.com.au
Make sure window and door screens are installed correctly to create tight seals so that insects cannot enter. There are ‘Midge Screens’ available but can limit airflow into your home.
Finally, treat your yard with No Mosquitoes Biting Midge and Mosquito Barrier to form a residual insecticide interception barrier surrounding the areas you like to use regularly.