Mosquito numbers are low – but watch out for those biting midges!

Department of Health

While mosquito numbers have remained relatively low this dry season, it is around the next full moon that biting midge numbers will increase, with high numbers expected in NT coastal areas from 1 to 7 August.

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 insect repellents to exposed skin,” said Ms. Kurucz.

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

Between August and the onset of the first monsoonal rains, biting midge numbers will be high three days before and after the full moon and to a lesser extend around the new moon. Highest biting midge numbers will occur within 1.5 km of extensive areas of NT coastal mangroves.

“The itchiness biting midge bites 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.

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