The biting midge problem is prevalent along the Queensland coastline. Biting midges are so tiny that they can often go unnoticed until you feel the bite. The impact on people from midge bites is due to allergens in midge saliva reacting on people of varying degrees of sensitivity and immunity.
Some Midge Facts
- The adults are about 1-2mm in length, much smaller than mosquitoes.
- Like her cousin, the mosquito, it is the female midge that bites. The female midge generally requires protein in the form of a blood meal to effectively develop her eggs and to complete the reproductive process. Midges are generally opportunistic feeders that will feed on birds and mammals. Humans tend to be the most abundant source of blood in many local areas close to wetland breeding areas.
- Midges frequent freshwater creeks, inter-tidal estuaries, canals and mangroves.
- Biting midges are generally most active in the evening and early morning. In overcast humid weather, they are known to bite all day and night. Biting midge numbers increase around the time of the full and new moons.
- Biting midges do not carry any pathogens in Australia that cause human disease.
- The number of midges in a certain area can be enormous – scientists have recorded more than half a million emerging from a two metre square area in just one night.
- Some species will travel in excess of 1km from breeding areas.
- The female midge detects carbon dioxide of exhaled breath and homes into its source for its blood feed. As the female midge follows the plume of carbon dioxide she also detects scents from her target that help direct her to her host.