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Protecting Oneself from Biting Midges

There are a number of strategies which can be used to fend off the effects of biting midges. When outdoors, the most effective under any circumstances is the use of DEET (which works well for all biting flies) but make sure to read and follow the instructions, especially for young children and those with sensitive skin. Wearing lighter coloured clothing (white is best) helps to reduce attacks and generating as little heat as possible also improves one’s situation (not an easy task when in the lowland tropics!). Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants will obviously help and some people even like the protective hats which have a surrounding veil attached that are available commercially. These can work well, especially in cooler weather. However, the main pest species of Culicoides that are in the tropics are in lowlands and these clothes and especially a veiled hat will make most people uncomfortably hot.

When camping or living in areas with many biting midges, it is vital to use a closely woven mesh screen to stop invaders. A mesh size of 4900 (per square inch) will stop most biting midges, but to ensure that even the smallest cannot feast on you, a mesh size of 10,000 is necessary.