Control biting insects yourself
Biting midges or no-see-ums, often fly in swarms and are ferocious biters. Like mosquitoes, only female midges bite, taking blood to provide a source of protein for their eggs. Females typically bite at dawn or dusk, often in dense swarms, and usually in the vicinity of water, marshes or rotting vegetation. Where they bite you will depend on the species. Some species will attack you around the head and eyes, while others attack the ankles, often crawling up the body under clothes.
Midges are especially troublesome in coastal areas, and are more abundant around mangrove swamps and salt marshes. Which is why they love Florida. With its temperate climate and regular rainfall, Florida provides ideal habitat for both mosquitoes and midges, and is home to 47 species. Unfortunately mosquito control districts in Florida are not funded to provide control of biting midges so it’s a case of DIY.
Installing window and door screens will help keep these bugs from venturing inside your home. However, as most biting midges can pass through regular 16-mesh insect wire screen and netting, a smaller mesh size, is required.
Insect repellents, typically those containing DEET are also effective for use against midges. But check the label and apply only as directed. Botanical insect repellents (containing citronella, eucalyptus and other plant extracts) may also provide some protection.
To reduce the number of midges in your backyard, trapping is one of the most effective methods of control. Research has shown that biting midges, like many species of mosquito, are attracted to CO2. However it’s not the only cue they follow, they’re also attracted to blue light and Octenol. Octenol by itself is not attractive but appears to act as a synergist with CO2 to increase catches. In a study to test the effectiveness of CO2 on biting midges, the results showed that CO2 + Octenol + Blue light produced the highest capture rates.
Our multi-attractant Ultra mosquito trap combines both CO2 with UV lights and can be used with Octenol attractants. If you are battling mosquitoes and midges then the ULTRA is our recommended trap. USDA entomologist, Dr Daniel Kline conducted comparison tests using Mega-Catch™ Ultra traps in the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge, on the west coast of Florida, and recorded the capture of 10,000 biting midges in one day.