Biting midges are ferocious biters and can come out in annoying droves, especially if you live near a large water source such as a lake, beach, pond, or creek. These tiny critters are about the size of a pinhead, which makes them difficult to spot. Once bitten by midges, you’ll notice red, itchy welts start to appear. This is because these insects are bloodsuckers. But like their close relative the mosquito, only the females bite to take blood for producing eggs.
In Australia, there are more than 200 species of biting midges, but only a few of them are known to cause problems for people. When they attack, they do so in large numbers, leaving bites that are irritating and painful. Fortunately, this isn’t usually serious and can be managed with at-home treatment for biting midges.
Where Do Biting Midges Breed?
Adult biting midges live about 2-7 weeks and breed around the edges of water bodies such as rivers and ponds. The adult female midge will lay eggs in places like:
- Moist decaying material such as leaves
- Muddy, vegetated, or sandy substrates; and
- Damp soil
When Do They Usually Bite?
Biting midges usually bite around dusk and dawn, but they may also bite throughout the evenings. In cloudy days, they also tend to bite during daytime. Another interesting fact to remember is that, also like mosquitoes, biting midges are most active during and after a full moon and new moon.
How to Midge-Proof Your Home
Biting midges are very difficult to get rid of, in part because their breeding sites are typically very large. There are, however, some things you can still do to midge-proof your home and reduce the chances of them biting you and your family:
- Use screens with a mesh size below 16-mesh to keep the midges out.
- Always shake out clothing and sheets that are left out to dry.
- Make sure there are no open tears or holes in window and door screens.
- Use a fan in “high” setting in areas where people are staying.
- Implement a regular pest control maintenance around your yard and house.
- Vacuum every corner and nook of your home, especially carpets. Also, vacuum any cracks in the floors, ceilings, walls, and window panels.
- Close cracks or gaps in the walls, ceilings, door panels, etc. Biting midges love to breed in cracks.
- After cleaning the house thoroughly, use a DEET insect repellent and spray the house with it.
- Remove potted plants away from windows and doors since water attracts midges.
- Create a trap for them: Pour about one-half inch ACV (apple cider vinegar) in a glass. Add two drops of liquid dish-washing detergent to the vinegar. You can place several glasses of this mixture around your home. The biting midges are attracted to the vinegar and will drown while attempting to land.
- Soak an old rag or cloth in pine oil and hang them around as repellents.
- Use DEET insect repellents on you and your family to further repel midges and other pests.
Protecting Yourself from Midges Outside of Your Home
When going out, make sure to keep yourself covered. Wear socks, long-sleeved shirts, full-length pants or trousers, and hats or caps. Also, avoid wearing dark-coloured clothing since midges are attracted to dark shades. Following this clothing advice will not only protect you from biting midges, it will also help you avoid carrying these annoying insects inside of your home.