Midge season is back, Redland City Council says

BITING PESTS: A Redland City Council officer conducting mosquito control.
BITING PESTS: A Redland City Council officer conducting mosquito control.

REDLAND City Council has told residents to brace for an increase in midges in the coming weeks, with the tiny flies back in swarms as summer approaches.

Midges are most active between September and April, especially in areas near mangroves and intertidal zones.

Regional Mosquito Management Group chairman Paul Golle said that unlike mosquitoes, which council was able to treat, there were no midge-specific insecticides available and no chemicals approved or safe for use in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, where biting midges bred.

"Using chemicals where the midge larvae live could also harm fish and other marine creatures," Cr Golle said.

"Council has a marine parks permit from the state government that allows us to use certain chemicals in the marine park environment, like the ones we use for mozzies, but the permit does not allow for the use of chemicals that are effective on midges.

"Thankfully, unlike mosquitoes, midges are not known to transmit any human diseases in Australia."

Cr Golle said council was partnering with industry research bodies and other councils to keep up to date with the latest research and practices in midge management.

Midge populations vary from year to year and can depend on temperatures and rainfall, and some people react more severely to bites than others.

Redland Bay resident Kerrie Matveyeff told the Redland City Bulletin last year that her son's skin could take months to recover from bites.

"Normally it takes about two to three days to come up and they'll come into a big pustule and generally turns into an infection," she said.

"We bought our house last February and basically between the hours of early morning and from three o'clock onwards we can't go outside.

"We're not in a position now to sell and buy again but it really does make it hard to live in Redland Bay."

In a Redland City Bulletinpoll last year, nearly 90 per cent of voters said they had noticed more midges in the summer of 2018/19 than in previous years.

Cr Golle said while biting midges were endemic to the area, residents could take measures to protect themselves during the peak breeding season.

These include:

  • Wearing insect repellent and long, loose-fitting clothing if heading outdoors at dawn and dusk.
  • Installing fine mesh fly screens where midge are making their way through into homes. Fly screens can also be treated with UV stable insecticide.
  • Increasing air flow around your home.
  • Keeping vegetation surrounding the house to a minimum to reduce insect-harbouring areas.
  • Privately initiated barrier treatments from qualified pest controllers.