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Midges amongst the foliage. (Culicoides)

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Midges amongst the foliage. (Culicoides) Reply with quote

Midges amongst the foliage. (Culicoides)
by GPI

Dusk is the time of day when you will often see people out walking for fitness or else relaxing in their garden with a glass of wine after their days work. I suppose I would be similar, as when I have time on a warm dry evening I often grab an hour or so in the garden, catching up on a bit of weeding, dead heading, watering etc. But I am seldom alone!

You see I often have my small friends the midges (Culicoides) to keep me company. The biting of these miniscule pests is at best a distraction, and at worst bad enough to make you want to tear your hair out whilst running screaming through the bushes flapping your arms wildly. My occasional midge attacks are not even that bad, compared to what many of you who live beside wooded areas have to put up with each dawn and dusk.

I hate to see nice evenings wasted, so I did some research on how to prevent midge attacks in the garden, which I will share with you now.

Midges are more attracted to you if you wear dark colours especially black; this is possibly because wearing the colour black you resemble the insects usual landing pad, a tree trunk. If you wear light colours, it will reduce the amount of midges swarming around you.

Cover up.
Cover your arms, legs and all available flesh when midges are active, this will prevent the initial bites, which lead to a full on blood banquet. Anytime a female midge is allowed undisturbed to drink your blood she releases a chemical called a pheromone, which highlights you as dinner on legs to other the midges, who swiftly arrive in their hundreds.

Smoke them.
Smoking cigarettes is not to be encouraged for the good of your health, but it is one of the oldest ways of driving away midges. I believe that the smoke interferes with the midge's ability to pinpoint man and beast through the carbon dioxide they expel whilst breathing. During my evening stints in the bog, I was always jealous of the unbitten smokers, but not jealous enough to take up the habit, thankfully.

Repellent plants.
There are quite a few easy to grow plants that midges avoid like the plague, so much so that many of the commercially available anti midge sprays and creams have harnessed extracts from these plants. Most herbs for instance exude aromatic oils that midges detest, you can try growing any of the following yourself....
lemon balm,
basil, and oregano.
Pick a few leaves from these plants, roll them between your palms and rub them onto your exposed flesh, exercising caution if you have sensitive skin and avoiding contact with your eyes.

Don't forget to rub the leaves into your hair as well, so that your new lingering odour hits the midges from all sides. The scent may not be very effective in attracting the opposite sex down the local niteclub, but when the midges attack, that's the last thought on your mind.

Any queries or comments on Midges amongst the foliage. (Culicoides), please post below.

Midge (Culicoides) image courtesy
Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget to have a smouldering piece of turf beside your patio as this will deter them - wthout the need to light up 20 B&H.

Or when your outside light the bbq, to have this smoking away.

When we were yougn we used to have sprigs of levender put on string around our neck to keep the midges away.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:45 pm    Post subject: midge misery Reply with quote

Hi All

Great tips and very apt for the weather we are having at the moment. I can't think of anything more irritating that being eaten by midges (well maybe a few!)

There are two main ways to get rid of midges. Firstly to repel them with lotions and balms as mentioned then there is the attract method. The "attract" strategy of midge control is relatively new. High tech devices such as the Midge Magnet and MidgeEater emit carbon dioxide,likeGPI mentioned earlier - often with other added bait - to mimic human breath. This attracts the female midges in the area that are then sucked in and killed. In an area that suffers from midges, one of these devices can destroy many bagfuls of the pesky biters. Calor gas manufactures the devices and initially there was only one unit on offer. This was very expensive and for areas such as Glenveagh National park. Smaller versions are now on the market called Midg-it, which runs on a 5kg gas bottle. Once activated it will kill all of the female midges in your area leaving you free to enjoy the barbeque in peace. (not very good for a walk in the woods though!



if you are interested in raised vegetable beds and veggie growing I have a new website - We're busy on social networking too and have over 12,000 members in the group.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tips. Thanks

Don't kill me on the left
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