Hidden Valley's tropical strength natural herbal potions are specially formulated to repel and soothe bites from mosquitoes, biting midges, bees, and other mean critters...
- Mosquitoes are found throughout the tropics after wet season rains and near areas of still water.
- They do carry diseases such as Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses, dengue fever and Murray Valley encephalitis.
- Biting midges or culicoides are the tiny inconspicuous blood sucking flies often (incorrectly) called “sandflies”, which plague visitors and newcomers to mangrove regions in northern Australia. Their bites often go unnoticed until hours or days later when they may cause severe itching and inflammation which can lead to infected sores.
- Reactions are caused by the allergens in the female midge saliva when she bites to get a blood meal for her eggs. It is a myth that midges wee on you! Rather, the saliva is injected through the midge’s proboscis to help increase blood flow.
- Mostly they feed at dawn or dusk, but occasionally midges can bite all day in enclosed, shaded, still and humid conditions. Their activity seems worst in the few days around the Spring (highest) tides, especially in still conditions.
- In Darwin, midge counts have shown that numbers are greatest in the late dry season, peaking at Spring tides in August and September. Anecdotally, Broome appears to be similar. A pity, as this is “tourist season”!
- Biting midges have their greatest impact on newcomers. We have seen many cases of severe distress, with skin covered in red sores. Most locals build up immunity, so their only reaction may simply be an immediate small pink swelling, which may not even be noticed and which quickly disappears. However, this immunity may not extend to different midges living elsewhere.
- Unlike mosquitoes, biting midges do not carry diseases between people.
- Use personal insect repellents. What kind? DEET based products such as Rid, Aeroguard, Bushman’s etc are effective. However, our web searches leave us with serious concerns.
- Many people prefer natural repellants such as Hidden Valley’s Pestoff Spray. This is effective if properly used – applied to all exposed skin every 2-3 hours. Make sure all exposed skin is covered. The active ingredients include neem oil, a natural insecticide, a synergy of several pure essential oils, and plant extracts.
- Hidden Valley Broome also offers a Heavy Duty Spray Concentrate of this spray for people who require lots of protection in infested areas. You can add this concentrate to a 500ml spray bottle and simply top up with water.
- Washing regularly with Broome Bug Soap helps to repel insects, as many caravaners and campers have testified. The neem oil and essential oils in the soap smell unattractive to midges. However, do not rely on this soap alone as a repellent.
- Hidden Valley Broome developed a topical cream for treatment of midgie bites in the late 1990s. This has proven an effective cream for all kinds of insect bites - to reduce the itch, soothe and disinfect the area, and promote the healing process, all using natural herbs and essential oils such as calendula, plantain, aloe vera, lavender, chamomile and kunzea (tick bush). It is important to apply the cream as soon as possible to bites, and reapply frequently for several days until swellings have disappeared. Occasionally, extremely severe reactions may require medical treatment with antihistamines. Feedback has confirmed Midgie Magic is effective against other kinds of insects, including bees, mosquitoes and grass ticks.
Other Useful Tips:
When going outside -
- Avoid outdoor activity in early morning or late afternoon and evening when insect activity is greatest. So remember to be as protected as possible.
- Wear loose clothing covering as much skin as possible and keep sleeves & collars buttoned and pants tucked in socks. Light coloured clothing seems less attractive to insects than dark. Head nets and clothes treated with repellent or low toxicity surface sprays can be useful.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine), when taken for several months, is said to reduce allergenic reactions.
- Avoid taking babies to insect infested areas. Use loose weave muslin wraps and in an emergency, try a thick layer of mineral oil (baby oil) with a drop or two of lavender (no more than .5%) on exposed skin. Although not normally recommended, this oil sits on the skin and may prevent insects gaining a purchase.
- Use insect repelling candles and essential oils such as Hidden Valley’s Pestoff Soy Candle. This contains a high 6% insect repelling oils and can be burned in moderate breezes or with fans. Or use Insect Pure Essential Oil Blend, in an oil burner. Or try burning mozzie coils.
- Use fans as insect activity is reduced by moderate breezes. Shut doors and windows on the still side of the building. Position tent openings toward the prevailing breezes.
- Use insect screens with small mesh size & treat them with low irritancy surface sprays. Most ordinary mozzie nets allow midges but not mosquitoes in.