Midges, midgies, sand fly
Pest Inspections

Brisbane’s Midgie Swarms – How To Survive Sand Flies

Sand Flies – aka Midges Are On The Loose! How to Deter Sand Flies

Brisbane residents close to the beach and wetlands are often affected by sand fly swarms. Sand Flies, also known as midges or midgies are tiny flying insects that, although smaller than mosquitoes, can cause much more harmful bites. Sand fly bites with their anti-coagulating saliva create damage to subcutaneous tissue  – which means raised, painful or itchy bites that can, over time, turn to allergic reactions. Thankfully, unlike mosquitoes, they aren’t known to transmit blood borne disease.

Sand flies in Brisbane, Moreton and Redlands

Because sand flies love a good wetland, mangrove or sandy beach environment, greater Brisbane is hard hit during midgie season. The worst hit spots are within 400 meters of a wetland area. Midgies are also terribly fliers and get carried easily by wind meaning they’re a regular and irritating pest along the Ipswich corridor. Sand flies can be found in swarms in Brisbane from spring to early autumn however some years more swarms are reported and earlier in their season.

Personal sand fly repellents

The most commonly recommended personal sand fly repellents are:

  • Deet sprays
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Tee tree oil
  • Do terra insect blend

Others suggest more unorthodox deterrents including vapor rub, the inside of a banana peel and vitamin B rich foods (including vegemite). Some suggest insect repellent plants to help keep the bitey activity down in your garden, these may include:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Geraniums
  • Nasturtiums
  • Marigolds
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Pitcher Plants and Venus Fly Traps

sand fly bites on small child

Dealing with sand flies when you have allergies

When a member of your family develops a sand fly allergy, you may need to call in the experts to keep midgie activity to a minimum around your home. Your doctor may recommend a strong DEET based personal spray but this isn’t desirable daily or long term.

 Deterring sand flies at home

  • Keep trees and plants trimmed and away from the home
  • Repair small holes in screens
  • Avoid leaving pooled water around after rain, especially if you have sandy soil
  • Do not water gardens at sunset, when midgies are most active
  • Use mosquito coils outdoors
  • Use fans in summer to “blow them away” literally
  • Wear long sleeved clothing

Action Property Inspections can recommend a partner pest control firm. Pesticides including d=limonene and linalool can act as a highly effective deterrent for outdoor areas. It is not recommended that you attempt to distribute these deterrents yourself as they can be toxic to pets and small children if not handled by a professional.

Action Property Inspections can also advise on potential insect risks when purchasing your next home.


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.