Midges

You can take a big step towards living with midges by making sure you are protected 

What are we doing?

Livingstone Shire Council conducts adult biting midge control by misting with approved products, including the natural insecticide Pyrethrum, in areas of the Shire to reduce the biting midge numbers to an acceptable level.

Interesting facts about midges

• Biting midges and sandflies are the same insect.
• Midges are present on all continents except Antarctica. Adults are about 1-2mm long, much smaller than  the mosquito.
• The midge life cycle from egg to adult, is no more than eight weeks.
• Midges do not breed in grass, trees or other foliage, they only harbour in these areas.
• Midges are not known to be carriers of any human disease in Australia.
• In overcast humid weather, midges are known to bite day and night.
• Midge numbers will increase around the time of the full and new moons. 

Only the female bites because she needs a blood meal to produce viable eggs. Midges are known as pool feeders  because they use their proboscis like a saw to create a tiny hole in the skin (into which a pool of blood can flow).  Saliva is injected into the pool to help the flow of blood. It is this saliva that causes the allergic reaction and itching. 

Useful tips

Personal reaction to bites varies from slight redness which disappears in half an hour or less, to severe inflammation.  If you react rapidly and the swellings are small, you are reasonably immune so treatment may not be needed and the swelling and itch will soon go away.

For these less severe cases, the following tips may help reduce the effects of bites:
• A hot bath may provide temporary relief.
• Antihistamine creams or lotions from the chemist are quite effective, but do not apply them when the skin  is broken.
• Some insect repellents also give relief to the bite, providing the individual’s skin is not sensitive to  the repellent.
• If you react hours or days later to a bite, whether you felt the bite or not, your immunity is poor and you are likely to be more severely affected.  If your reaction is very severe, consult your doctor.

Mosquito coils and most insect repellants are effective against midges