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Training in Termite Treatment, Detection & Prevention

Ant Alates of all species including Termites leave the nest after rain and around a full moon and fly off looking to set up a new colony.

Termite Detection is a very specialised field and requires a lot of training and experience to become qualified. Despite all of our Inspectors being qualified in Termite Detection we still undertake training sessions with all of the technicians to ensure their knowledge is up to date and to allow them to learn from each other.

Always check that the technician doing your Termite Inspection, Termite Treatment or Termite Barrier is a Licenced Pest Controller with the relevant Insurances in place. We have all of this paperwork available to show our customers at any time they request it.

In January this year all of our technicians attended a property for training. What made this a perfect training example was the three different species of termites found within the home, coupled with the multiple entry points, the extensive damage and the fact that this Cypress Frame Pole Home with a Termite Barrier in place hadn’t had their termite problem detected before we were called in to do a PRE SALE inspection for the customer.

The “technician” (from another company) who installed the barrier at this property 3 years earlier had done a very cheap cash job for the homeowner. We suspect he had watered down the chemical involved in the Chemical Termite Prevention Barrier Significantly! Added to that issue the homeowner had built in underneath their pole home without adding any physical barrier in place around the poles. This allowed the Subterranean Termites to come up through the walls right from underneath the home without detection. Then without an Annual Termite Inspection of the property there was no trained professional checking to see if the barrier was still intact.

When you are buying a property it is vital that you have a Pre Purchase inspection Carried out…. But we also recommend our customers who are selling their property have a Pre Sale inspection carried out. This will identify all of the issues your purchaser will see on their report… but before they’ve had an inspection done. This allows you to fix any issues and repair anything necessary to give you the best chance at selling your property.

Ongoing training is vital to our operations to ensure we provide the best service to our customers. We are always researching new techniques, technologies and scientific data and have even been involved in field work with the providers of the products we use. This video we filmed with Bayer Australia is a perfect example of our partnership with industry leaders to provide information and training.

If you would like to see some more of our informational videos then head over to Youtube and view the Stevie Redback Pest Control Pty Ltd Channel.

Or Call our office on 1300 665 665 and one of our friendly team will be happy to answer your questions.

Rodent time again!

Common Rat found on post at a customers home in Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Its that time of year again when Rodents are at their most active in and around our homes. Of course Rodents are an issue all year round but during the colder months we tend to be more aware of them as they head into our homes/workplaces looking for a warm place to start a family…

Rodents spread disease and it is really important that they are kept away from our homes and most crucially our food preparation/storage areas. So what can you do? There are a few things to know about Rats and Mice to ensure you adequately protect your home.

  • They are Prolific Breeders
  • They love dark damp places with lots of debris
  • Once they find a home they are reluctant to leave as other Rats will attack them coming into their territory
  • They fit through really small spaces!! Mice fit through 6-7mm and Rats 20mm
  • They are mistrustful of changes in their environment and can take a while to take a bait or approach a trap
  • They do alot of damage inside a home and can ruin wiring, insulation and even plasterboard.
  • Predators and “scents” won’t chase them out.
  • They spread disease.. and we’re not just talking the “Plague”
Rodent Burrows

The most effective form of treatment is prevention! Keeping them out of your home is key! Once they gain entry it can take a long time to get the problem under control. So block up entry points to your home. Expanding insulation foam is best as it ensures the whole area is blocked. Wire Mesh is the next best thing if it is an area that needs ventilation. Steel Wool can also be used to pack out a hole around a pipe. Limit their access to your roof. Trim back overhanging branches and foliage that provide a bridge into your home. Install a special “guard” around the power lines coming into your home so they can’t walk along the line straight into your roof. (These are available from most hardware stores)

Perfect Rat breeding ground!

Limit the areas they can nest in and around your home by removing all debris and clutter. Minimise the things they can use for nesting such as fabric and paper and cardboard as they will tear this up into small pieces and create a warm environment for their babies who need to be kept warm while mum and dad are out foraging for food. Choose the type of roof insulation for your home with this in mind as wool insulation and spray in particles create a great nesting environment. The rolls of insulation have less loose debris that can be used for nesting.

Ensure there isn’t any water source for rats or mice to drink from. This includes fixing dripping taps, repairing plumbing leaks, removing containers of water and ensuring there isn’t alot of water siting in pot plant saucers.

Limit food sources. Make sure that their options for food are minimal! Put all of the food in your pantry in glass jars or very heavy duty plastic as rats will eat through plastic eventually. You do need to be more careful with glass in your home as opposed to plastic which doesn’t shatter when you drop it.. If your home isn’t very hospitable to them when they do their initial recon they may not choose it as the perfect place to live…. maybe bothering that neighbour you don’t like.

There are a list of natural deterrents listed on the internet but once you have a mouse or rat they usually won’t leave because you introduce these deterrents to the environment. These are better thought of as one weapon in your “deterrent” plan. I have had some success with peppermint tea bags discarded around problem areas and peppermint essential oil sprayed around… You could plant some plants that are said to be deterrents such as: Mint, Sweet Pea, Lavender, Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Catnip, Camphor Plant, Elderberry. Having a cat or dog that is a good mouse hunter isn’t usually a deterrent in and of itself as they are used to sharing their environment with a predator.. which is why they find small inaccessible areas to set up house.. your ceiling or walls are their favourites.

Deter them from your home by Limiting Food and water, Blocking Entry using Natural Deterrents and having a good hunting Pet.

What can you do once they move in?

Once Rodents have moved in you will need to attack the problem on multiple fronts. Block off access points to food. Ensure there is no pet food left out or other food sources available to them. Set up traps and Baits in areas they travel or close to their nest if yo know where that is. Place the baits and traps inside a box with a clear entry and exit so that they feel safe to enter this space. Make this area really attractive by putting a little bit of an alternative food source loose in this area and put a small shallow container with water in it. It may take a while for them to trust this new thing in their environment. If you are using baits the rodent will go looking for water after it has consumed the bait and providing the water source will hopefully mean the dying rodent will die there where you can easily access the dead body for removal. Otherwise if they crawl in between your walls and die you will have an awful smell to deal with.

Be really careful if using poisons!

If handling baits be aware that rodenticides are extremely dangerous. Don’t be blase! Wear disposable gloves when placing baits and removing dead bodies! Make sure the baits are not accessible to other creatures. It is imperative that small children, our natural wildlife or your pets aren’t poisoned too! Baits should be placed inside lock boxes. The dead rodent is also a danger to other creatures as the poison remains active for several days. It can take several days from ingestion of poison to death making the slower rodent more likely to be captured by predators.

If you are suspicious your pet may have accidentally ingested poison this site is a great resource for information:

What does your Pest Control Expert do?

Our technicians will assess the level of problem you are experiencing and give you their best advice on methods of attack. We would usually install bait stations that are not accessible by children or pets in areas frequented or commonly travelled by the pest. These baits will only be consumed if there are no more palatable and previously trusted food sources available.. so just laying out baits isn’t enough.. you also need to remove other food sources. A full rodent program can be instigated if the issue is a large infestation. This will involve monitoring and re baiting regularly.

If you are in the Greater Brisbane Area Call 1300 665 665 if you’d like our advice.

The Importance of a Pest Inspection before moving into a new home..

Moving home can be extremely stressful; packing your life up and relocating to your new dream house takes a lot of time, energy and money. The last thing you want is to discover that you have a cockroach infestation hidden in the walls, or wasps in your roof. A pre-purchasing inspection could save you a significant amount of strife later on.

Check before you buy

Have the inspection carried out before buying, as you never know what kind of beasts are sneaking around. It’s entirely possible that the previous owners were completely unaware of an infestation, so it’s always best to check. If there are any creatures present in your potential new home, you will be able to either reconsider or deal with the infestation before damage is done to the house.

Don’t overpay

It is also true that conducting an inspection before buying may alter the price of the property. If the seller is aware that you may need to pay for repairs and pest removal, they will likely give you a much more generous price on your new home.

Prepare your budget

If you know there is an infestation before moving house, you can prepare financially for the cost of removal. This means you can consider this in your overall moving budget – there will be no nasty financial surprises after making yourself at home!

Know what you’re buying

Some infestations are far more difficult to get rid of than others and can exist due to the surrounding area. You should be fully aware if you are purchasing more than you can handle and if this pest problem is going to be a recurring one.

Hire a professional

You could try to do the inspection yourself, but it is very likely that you will miss important clues and signs of pests. In the long term, it will likely save you a good deal of money to hire a professional initially.

This article was written in conjunction with Sydney office removalist Hire A Mover

Merry Christmas

Steve & Melinda and the team at Stevie Redback would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year.

The coming year (2020) see’s us celebrating our 21st Birthday. Twenty One Years in business.. what a milestone. I think the whole team is proud of the business Steve and Melinda have built, especially when you look at business statistics that estimate that 30% of new businesses fail in the first 2 years and by the 5yr mark 50% have failed. Only 44% of new businesses are still in operation at the 10 year mark.

The idea of creating a business that is focused on clients and doing a great job at a fair price has been at the core of our business since its inception and continues to drive how we do business.

With our 21st Birthday on the horizon the business is set to expand some more with new staff joining us in the New Year and many new projects on the horizon.

We would like to thank all of our loyal customers who have been with us over the years, many since inception and we look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

If you would like a quote on any Pre Construction Termite Proofing, Post Construction Termite Proofing, Termite Treatments, Termite Barriers or Pest Control please don’t hesitate to call our office on 1300 665 665.

PLEASE NOTE: Our office will close at 3pm on Friday the 20th December 2019 and reopen 8:00 Monday the 6th January 2020. 

Pigeons, the messengers in WWI & WWII

On this Anzac Day I decided to focus on an animal that was once a hero and now is not… During World War I and World War II keeping up the breeding numbers of pigeons was vital. Sadly today pigeons are not as useful as they once were. In fact today they are a nuisance in many instances. Now we often get calls from customers needing us to provide bird proofing solutions to protect their solar panels from Pigeons and other birds. In some cases we have had to relocate pigeons that won’t be deterred from a property. But once upon a time Pigeons were a vital tool of warfare. Pigeons were used to carry messages during WWI and WWII when radio communications were not as reliable or even patchy in some areas.

Before radio communications were invented pigeons were used as a means of communicating vital information from the battlefield (which is constantly moving to the stationary headquarters.

During World War II England and it’s allies used pigeons for many purposes…Such as communicating with individuals behind enemy lines including the Belgium Spy, Josef Raskin. It is estimated that they used 250,000 homing pigeons during the four years of the war from 1944 – 48. The US Army Signal Corps  used 600 pigeons in France alone.

The UK maintained their  Pigeon Section or Air Ministry during World War II and for a while thereafter. A Commitete was formed to make decisions about the uses of pigeons in military contexts with the head of the committee, Lea Rayner reporting that pigeons could be trained to deliver small explosives or even bioweapons to precise targets. Thankfully neither of these suggestions was taken up by the committee. In 1948 the UK military decommissioned its Air Ministry Division, stating that pigeons were of no further use.

During the war, owners of messenger pigeons could draw a special allowance of corn and seed, for their birds. As soon as the war ended this was cancelled and anyone keeping pigeons had to draw on their own personal rationed corn and seed to also feed their pigeons.  However, MI5, the UK security service was still concerned about enemy forces using pigeons for nefarious purposes. Up until 1950, MI5 ensured that 100 birds were maintained by a civilian pigeon fancier so that they were prepared with countermeasures if it should be necessary. The Swiss army didn’t disbanded their Pigeon section until 1996.

Pigeons have been a tool for human communication for a long time!

Carrier Pigeons have also been used as a communication tool outside of war with the 6th century king of Persia “Cyrus” using them to communicate quickly across various parts of his empire. Julius Caesar also used pigeons to communicate across the vast Roman Empire.

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 – 71 the besieged residents of Paris used carrier pigeons to transmit messages outside the city. More than 1 million letters were transported in this way during the siege from as far away as London. The attacking Prussian Army countered by employing hawks to hunt the pigeons. The French military used balloons to transport the homing pigeons past the enemy lines. (As Pigeons can only fly home… so you need to take them to your secondary location and they will fly the message home.. hence the name “homing pigeons”)

In the lead up to World War I pigeons were considered to be a vital tool in military strategy and planning…. And so they were put to work. Many pigeons died during this time in service of their country of origin and today they are commemorated on a plaque at the war memorial. The plaque celebrates all of the animals that have served in some capacity during war. This includes horses, dogs, donkeys and camels as well as the humble pigeon. The highest possible decoration for valor, the Dickin Medal was awarded to 32 pigeons, including GI Joe a pigeon from the United States Army’s Pigeon Service and to Paddy the Irish Pigeon for service during World War II.

Pigeons were not only important to the Army and Airforce but also to the Navy. In fact they were considered an essential element of naval aviation communication and when the United States commissioned its first Aircraft Carrier the USS Langley in March 1922 the ship included a pigeon house on the stern of the ship.

Today Pigeons aren’t a tool of war but their contribution has not been forgotten.

In October this year the staff at the Australian War Memorial started to notice the disappearance of poppies from the tomb of the unknown soldier. On investigation it was discovered that a broody pigeon was building a nest against one of the stained glass windows of the War Memorial, with the poppys she was stealing. Out of respect for their service the caretakers at the memorial have left the Poppy Nest in place.

A Pest to Suburbia

Now pigeons are considered a pest in suburbian environments causing damage to solar panels, security cameras and other property. If you would like us to quote on Bird Proofing your Solar Panels to ensure nesting Pigeons don’t make a mess of your panels give us a call on 1300 665 665.

A Bee Hive in the Wall!

On Friday the 1st October Stevie Redback Pest and Termite Control were asked to attend a bee infestation within a bedroom.

The Hive that was discovered in this bedroom wall was 6 months old. Our Operations Manager, Allan Holland attended the site and involved our local aparist.

Everyone should be informed and educated that the spraying/poisoning of bees will cause you more problems due to the decomposition and resulting invasion of a treated hive. A poisoned hive will cause a disgusting mess of runny melting honey and honeycomb and bees and eggs etc and then the maggots and other creatures that will be attracted to the resulting mess will bring their own issues to the mix. This runny gooey mess will ruin your floors, walls and any furniture or fittings in the vicinity.

The pictures depicted here show a perfect hive removal and relocation process. Where ever possible a hive should be saved not killed. There is a worldwide decline in bee populations which we at Stevie Redback are passionate about stemming. Did you know Bees were recently declared the most important creature on earth? (see this article at The Science Times if you’d like more info: )

For any advice or questions on appropriate pest management including non chemical pest rectification call Stevie Redback Pest & Termite Control


Who is looking after your Rental Property?

One of our technicians recently discovered this termite riddled property when the new Letting Agent (who we work in conjunction with regularly) requested we do an Annual Termite Inspection.

On arriving onsite our technician inspected the property and was shocked to see such extensive active termite activity that hadn’t been identified before it got to this stage. He estimated it would of taken 2 years for the house to get to this state. Unfortunately the structure of the property has been severely compromised and this property is no longer inhabitable.

As there is no insurance to cover this the Home Owner is now left with a property that cannot be rented out, which will require demolishing…. Which will reduce their Asset from a House and Land to just a block of Land… If the House and Land had a Mortgage over it this could leave the owner with a severe debt that isn’t supported by assets of equal or higher value.

How did it get to this?

In this case the Tenant either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to notify anyone. The Rental Agent didn’t do regular inspections on the property (though some rental agents wouldn’t recognise Termite Activity in the early stages, by this stage it is fairly obvious something is wrong) or the activity wasn’t noticed by them. The letting agent didn’t ensure a yearly termite inspection was done by a licensed professional termite inspector….Finally the homeowner didn’t keep on top of their own records to ensure the property was having at least an Annual Termite Inspection and relied too heavily on their letting agent to take care of things.

What should you do?

At a minimum we recommend Annual Termite Inspections of a property. This won’t stop termites but will in general let you know before the entire structure is no longer viable. There are however some species of termite such as Coptotermes Acinaciformis and Schedorhinotermes which are extremely aggressive and will consume hardwood. They can consume 9KG of pine per week…. so not much of your house frame left.

But my home has a cyprus or a treated wood frame or a steel frame SO I’m fine…. Aren’t I? Well yes and no… A treated wood frame will generally repel termites, but our technicians have seen homes where the termites have done damage to the treated frame. This is usually because the chemical the frame is treated with has a 25yr guarantee so if the frame is older than 25yrs the chemical could well of completely dissipated. Cyprus is not their favourite meal but they will consume it if there is nothing else available. Usually though a homeowner will believe their homes has a cyprus frame and on closer inspection our operators discover it is mostly pine with a few cyprus roof trusses. So a homeowner can be feeling a false sense of security.

How about a steel frame? OK this one is definitely protected from termite attack.. however the door frames, window sills, skirting boards etc that are wood are not protected. Termites will eat plasterboard down to the paint work!

Whats the best option to protect your home?

The best option is to install a Post Construction Subterranean Termite Barrier. This will create a chemical barrier around your home to repel termites from subterranean or underground attack. If you have a barrier that was installed in the pre-construction phase this type of barrier forces the termites out to an entry point that is visible so can be seen on inspection. Often a post construction barrier is still a good idea even if you have a pre construction barrier installed

Fire Ant Eradication Course

National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program by Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Fire Ant

Our managers, David Cloake and Allan Holland recently attended a course held by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to be trained in the eradication of Fire Ants.

Examples of Fire Ants

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries must be notified if you find Fire Ants in and around your property. “The Biosecurity Act 2014 which came into effect on 1 July 2016 aims to ensure a consistent, modern, risk-based and less prescriptive approach to biosecurity in Queensland.” This Act sets out a current approved risk management plan for Fire Ants and clearly states that under law they must be notified of Fire Ant activity. In an effort to control the spread and to ultimately eradicate this introduced pest the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have set up biosecurity zones and treatment options.

Fire Ant Nests

It is extremely important that you don’t attempt to treat these pests yourself. The treatment plan is very precise and adheres to strict guidelines on the types of chemicals to be used and methods of treatment. If you attempt to treat Fire Ants yourself not only will you be in violation of the act but you are potentially causing a larger problem. If not treated in the correct manner the ants will notice the threat, evacuate their queen and relocate the colony to another area. Added to this there is also significant risk to your own safety as these ants are aggressive and swarm when their nest is disturbed. Each ant can inflict repeated stings that are extremely painful and have in the past caused an anaphylactic reaction.

In the past all treatment was carried out by the DPI. A decision was made to train local pest control companies to aid in the war on fire ants and hopefully eradicate the problem altogether. Our Managers attended the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program recently to obtain Technical Information and Training in the DPI approved methods of identification and treatment.

If you do find Fire Ants on your property call 132523 or visit to report the biosecurity hazard. At this time the DPI will come to your property and treat the infestation free of charge. There may be a wait time for DPI technicians to attend your property of up to 10 – 12 weeks. If you would like to have the issue dealt with in a more timely fashion give our office a call on 1300 665 665 for advice and one of our trained operators will assess the issue for you . If we attend site to identify if this is a Fire Ant issue this will be a free call out (subject to change). If it is deemed to be a Fire Ant issue we will provide a quote for us to treat.

Termite Treatment vs Termite Barrier

What is the difference between a termite treatment and a termite barrier?

Termite activity anywhere on your property is concerning. The best way to protect your property from termites is to install a Barrier. There are two kinds of barriers. There is a physical barrier which is installed in the construction phase of your building (older buildings didn’t have any termite products installed as it wasn’t invented yet.). if you are unsure you should get your licenced pest controller to inspect your property and advise you. A physical barrier doesn’t completely stop termites from entering your property but it does force them out to a more visible entry point.

The second type of barrier is a chemical one. This barrier acts more like a moat protecting a castle. The chemical that is installed around your property repels termites (subterranean termites) from tunnelling into your property from below.

If you have termites on your property and they need to be treated the treatments we would chose are what are referred to as colony control products. For you this means the product is carried back to the nest to wipe out the whole colony. This isn’t an immediate result though and could take up to 14 days to take affect…. These treatments don’t deter other Termites from moving in and taking up where the last colony left off… Any Thalates (teenagers) that leave other nests in your area (up to a 3klm radius) will see an unprotected property with no “moat” a home already set up (empty nest) and a yummy food source (your house) and move in.

The only way to deter termites from your property is with the installation of a Barrier. Give us a call on 1300 665 665 and we will provide an obligation free quote so you can protect your home.


Managing Biting Midge.

There are over 4,000 species of family Ceratopogonidae, the family of biting midges.  Of the 11 species in South East Queensland there are five species which are major pests.  Each species has a different breeding habitat.

Culicoides subimmaculatus:  breeds in open mangrove areas.   

Culicoides marmoratus:  breeds in algae covered mud in salt marshes or below mangroves.  

Culicoides ornatus:  breeds in tidal creeks associated with the Brisbane River.  Active dawn and dusk only.

Lasiohelia townsvillensis:  traditionally breeds in rainforests, but now occur in urban situations where rainforest conditions are mimicked by well watered gardens with mulch, compost heaps etc. Generally appear after heavy rains, and early winter rain may lead to an outburst in spring.  This species is known to bite all day.

Culicoides molestus:  formerly found in estuarine areas where it was not classified as a major pest species.  Canal developments created an ideal habitat for this species.  The soft flocculated sand is an ideal place for the female to lay eggs, and the proximity of the human and dog populations provide a ready supply of blood meals.  Emergence of females begins 3 days before full or new moon, 50% emerge by the next day and emergence is completed on the day of the full or new moon.  Although the flight range is only 400 to 500 metres it has been found much further from any possible breeding place.  It has become a major pest of residents in canal estates.

Description and Life Cycle

Biting midges are very small, 1-3mm long.  Typically they are greyish, but more reddish when filled with blood.  The mouthparts consist of four minute cutting blades (that lacerate the skin inflicting sharp burning pain), enclosed in a fleshy sheath.  The eggs are roughly banana-shaped, with rounded ends and a surface variously adorned with minute projections.  They are rarely encountered in nature and are laid in batches of up to fifty in or near the larval habitat.

A tiny worm-like larva hatches and is the main feeding stage of the life cycle.  It grows from first to fourth instar, moulting each time, over a period of days, weeks or months according to species and environmental factors.  The pupal stage looks rather like a tiny legless blunt nosed lobster which breathes air through a pair of small respiratory trumpets at the head end.  It does not feed during this stage.  The adults emerge from the pupa after some days or weeks. If this is cyclical (eg related to tides) it will take place over several days with the males about a day ahead of the females.

Like mosquitoes, the female biting midge takes a blood meal to provide protein to develop her eggs. They are known as pool feeders because they use their proboscis like a saw to create a tiny hole into the skin into which a pool of blood can flow.  Saliva is injected into the pool to help the flow of blood. The direct impact on human health caused by biting midge is due to allergens in midge saliva reacting on people of varying degrees of sensitivity and immunity. Most people find the bites uncomfortable and distressing with the irritation leading to scratching and sometimes infected sores.

Biting Midge Facts

  • Biting midges are found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • Biting midges are extremely annoying but are not known to transmit disease in Australia.
  • Midge harbour (rest) in but do not breed in grass, trees or in soil or sand in the garden.
  • In overcast humid weather, they are known to bite all day and night.
  • Biting midges can detect CO2 from as far as 100 metres.  They also detect body heat and lactic acid generated during strenuous exercise.

Biting Midge Management (compiled from various South-East Queensland Local Government Brochures) What can and cannot be done to address the biting midge problem?

  • Biting midges are amongst one of the most complicated pest species to control and cannot be eradicated.
  • The larvae of midge exist in mud and sandy substrates which makes treatment near impossible whereas mosquitoes breed in water pools making their treatment simpler. 
  • There is currently no registered larvicide for biting midges, as the larvae occur in environmentally sensitive areas of the inter-tidal zone and dispersal patterns are poorly known.
  • The required larvicide dosage would also be environmentally damaging, affecting non targets. 
  • Councils treat mosquito breeding areas on public (and some private) land but do treat midge breeding areas because of the lack of environmentally safe treatments and limited effectiveness.
  • Insecticide application against adult midges is the only option available, however this method provides relatively short term relief and repeated applications are necessary. 
  • Adulticide fogging has limitations on its effectiveness as the mist/fog will only affect what it comes into contact with.
  • Research nearly a decade ago investigated the effectiveness of treating mosquito and midge harbourages in Hervey Bay and Redcliffe.  Biting midge are prone to desiccation in the heat of the day and rest in cool, shady areas such as the underside of leaves of shrubs and under stairs etc.  

Management at your property

  • If biting midges are a problem entering the house, smaller mesh size fly screens should stop entry. Screens can also be sprayed with insecticide to deter midge entering.
  • It is most likely that midge will enter dwellings on the sheltered side of the dwelling. Close windows on that side when midges are a problem.
  • Midges do not like to seek blood meals when a moderate breeze is blowing, so ceiling fans or other fans that increase air flow inside the dwelling may also decrease biting midge nuisance indoors.
  • Mosquito coils or plug in insecticide tablet burners may be useful during periods of severe midge nuisance.
  • Activities such as water hosing and digging soil attract biting midge. Avoid outdoor activities like car washing and gardening during the early morning and late afternoon when midges are most active.
  • Wear light long sleeved clothing when outdoors during midge activity periods, usually early morning and late afternoon, to minimize exposure to these insects.
  • Personal insect repellents applied to the skin and clothing as directed usually give several hours protection. Sensitive individuals or young children not wishing to use commercial repellents can try liberal applications of baby oil to exposed skin to reduce bites. An effective home repellent can be made up with equal parts of baby oil, Dettol and an aromatic oil such as citronella or lavender. Local research has shown that oil extracted from the lemon scented gum Eucalyptus citriodora is also a good midge repellent.
  • Biting midges have a histamine like substance in their saliva which can cause intense itching in sensitive individuals. To prevent acute allergic reaction and allow the body to develop its own immunity to midge bites vitamin B1 (thiamine) can be tried. This vitamin has an anti-histamine type action. Biting midge expert, Dr. Eric Reye, suggests an adult dose of 200mg twice a day with meals, preferably starting 2 weeks before exposure to midge. As immunity is developed this dose can be reduced. The development of personal immunity generally comes with a regular exposure to low numbers of midge bites, not occasional heavy exposure. Persons who have a more acute reaction to midge bites may require anti-histamine drugs at times. You should consult your family doctor before trialing these drug therapies.
  • Insect trapping devices using ultra violet light as the attractant are generally useless for decreasing biting midge numbers in suburban yards. Traps using carbon dioxide as an attractant must be well designed and operated as well as strategically placed to have any possible beneficial effect.
  • As biting midges are biologically linked with the lunar cycle, take note of the lunar period when midges are most active in your area. If for example you live in an area affected by Culicoides molestus, this species bites most actively in the few days following the full and new moon, so planning an evening barbecue around this time during the warmer months would not be wise.

Either:  Keep vegetation surrounding the house to a minimum. This reduces insect harbourage areas and increases air flow around the house. Also keep lawns well mown as any activity that reduces sheltering sites and lowers humidity surrounding the house will help to deter midges. Landscaping with tallish vegetation with an upper tree canopy is preferable to low, dense vegetation in midge prone areas as it allows a much better airflow near ground level.

Or:  Synthetic pyrethroid harbourage sprays, applied around vegetation and exterior walls may substantially reduce midge adult numbers around treated premises for many weeks.

Research around Hervey Bay and Redcliffe nearly a decade ago investigated treating mosquito and biting midge harbourages.  This treatment may reduce midge numbers for up to six weeks though not totally eliminate the pest. The pesticide is applied to shrubs, foliage, fences, house walls and screens – anywhere where midge may harbour.  Licensed pest managers treat harbourages using a product based on bifenthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid.  This chemical is indiscriminate and will kill most other insects over the six-week period that it is active. It should not be applied to plants that are in flower and attracting other insects.  Care must also be taken to ensure the spray does not drift into waterways.

The best results are obtained when neighbouring properties are also treated and a programmed treatment cycle for the ‘midge season’ is followed.