Biting midge season to start

It is the time of the year again, when biting midges come out in force. High numbers are expected from 5 to 11 August (2019) coinciding with the full moon cycle.

Director of Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz advised Top End residents and visitors to avoid midge bites by covering up, using insect repellents and avoiding mangrove areas where biting midges are present, especially late in the afternoon and early in the morning.

“Cover up with a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks and shoes and apply DEET or picaridin-based insect repellents to exposed skin,” Ms Kurucz said.

“Mosquito lanterns and insecticide barrier applications in backyards also help to reduce numbers.”

Highest biting midge numbers will occur within 1.5 km of extensive areas of NT coastal mangroves.

“Due to increasing tides, peak biting midge activity will occur from now until the first heavy monsoonal rains occur. Numbers are highest three days before and after full moons, and to a lesser extent around new moons.

“The itchiness biting midges can cause is due to the chemicals contained in the midge saliva injected into the human skin.

“Although biting midges do not transmit disease, people should avoid scratching the bites as this can lead to secondary bacterial infections and unsightly sores.”

While soothing lotions and ice packs may provide relief from itchy bites, severe reactions may require medical attention.

Source: NT Government