Biting Midge in Australia
Midge season is in full swing and you may have noticed that every spring and autumn the biting midge or ‘Sandfly’ as it is sometimes referred to is the enemy of outdoor activities and camping holidays and often result in barrage of nasty bites. As the female insects seek blood meals to lay eggs, and if you are unfortunate enough to be close by, you’ll most likely feel her wrath. Luckily, there are no midge borne diseases associated with humans in Australia, but the best way to avoid scratching for weeks is to arm yourself with knowledge.
Our Australian biting midge fact sheet and infographic outline the key ways in which you can protect yourself and what to look out for.
Although there are around 14,000 species of midge around the world, the Culicoides is the genus of the insect that is the most likely to attack. The wingspan of a Biting Midge is tiny compared to mosquitoes and are almost not visible to the naked eye.
If you have wondered why midges seem drawn to humans, it is because they find the carbon dioxide in our breath and excreting from our skin irresistible. Midges can detect Co2 from 200 metres away and their ideal meal times are between 5am and 9am in the morning and 4pm and 8pm in the evening. To avoid being bitten you can stay inside at dawn and dusk, or apply some NoBites to exposed skin.
Boring a Hole In You
Biting midge draw bloody in a different way to mosquitoes, cutting the skin in hole saw biting action and sucking up the blood through a feeding tube. It all sounds horrific, but it would take a swarm of around 20 million midges to drain the blood from the body of a person.
The Cool Hangouts
The Biting Midge doesn’t like direct sunlight and instead it thrives in shaded, damp places such as bushland and mangrove forests.
Midges have the fastest beating wings in the animal kingdom at about 1000 beats per second but despite their speed, tiny wings mean that even a slight breeze can throw a midge off track. Where wind speed is higher than 10kmph, midge can’t travel, so be careful of those calm areas for your picnic.
Like a Moth to a Flame
Like most insects, the Biting Midge is drawn to light. If you leave doors and windows open at night with lights on, you can be sure that Biting Midge will become an unwelcome guest.
Cover Up and Apply NoBites
Exposed skin is the ideal landing spot for Biting Midge, so the less skin that is exposed, the better. Wearing light long sleeves and long pants will reduce the risk of bites.
It has been shown that some lucky people are naturally not attractive to Biting Midge and in fact, 1 in 7 people are less likely to being bitten than others. The best way to protect against the Biting Midge is to use NoBites personal insect repellent which works by producing a natural shield, rendering you invisible to these holiday wrecking creatures for over 6 hours.
Now, armed with this handy information you can head outdoors knowing how to protect yourself and your family when out enjoying all the Australian outdoors has to offer.