Biting midge season to start

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Department of Health

Itis the time of the year again, when biting midges come out in force. Highnumbers are expected from 5 to 11 August coinciding with the full moon cycle.

Directorof Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz advised Top End residents and visitors toavoid midge bites by covering up, using insect repellents and avoiding mangroveareas where biting midges are present, especially late in the afternoon andearly in the morning.

Coverup with a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks and shoes and apply DEET orpicaridin-based insect repellents to exposed skin, Ms Kurucz said.

Mosquitolanterns and insecticide barrier applications in backyards also help to reducenumbers.

Highestbiting midge numbers will occur within 1.5 km of extensive areas of NT coastalmangroves.

Dueto increasing tides, peak biting midge activity will occur from now until thefirst heavy monsoonal rains occur. Numbers are highest three days before andafter full moons, and to a lesser extent around new moons.

Theitchiness biting midges can cause is due to the chemicals contained in themidge saliva injected into the human skin.

Althoughbiting midges do not transmit disease, people should avoid scratching the bitesas this can lead to secondary bacterial infections and unsightly sores.

Whilesoothing lotions and ice packs may provide relief from itchy bites, severereactions may require medical attention.

A2019 calendar detailing expected biting midge pest periods is available at:

https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/emergencies-injuries-and-accidents/bites-and-stings/insects-of-medical-importance

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