We also spoke to Bautista about something that came from the swamp, a swarm of curious flying insects that look a lot like mosquitoes except they're not, they're called "midges" - and they are swarming right now in coastal areas.
The good news is they're the non-biting kind.
But if they've been buzzing around your house, or blanketing your ceilings in swarms, and forcing you to break out the Baygon you'll be happy to know that they won't be around much longer. Bautista told us why:
Kim Bautista, Chief of Operations, Vector Control
"We received concerns from residents, from communities along the coast, including some neighborhoods along the shoreline in Belize City, whereby they were complaining about a proliferation of which we confirmed to be a type of midge. So there are several hundred species of midge both biting and non-biting and what we're seeing is a high number of non-biting midges. So, I think that when we reviewed the situation, what contributed to this high proliferation of midges is that post-flooding you had many areas that remained inundated and some muddy areas that didn't have much water but still remained quite saturated, and so when you combine that with the effects of the cool water that we've been receiving, I think we've had multiple cold fronts it's the ideal temperature for midges to thrive. So, that's basically what we're seeing sometimes what also contributes to that high population is if you have any population of predators whether it's dragonflies or any other insects that feed on the midges, if that population is affected then you would have the midge population thrive while the other one is suppressed. So I think we should expect to see the situation at least for another couple of days. I think the lifespan tends to be fairly short about 3 to 5 days. And we've had our staff on the ground doing both larval control and adult control using our foggers so I belive that the situation should improve in the coming days."
Bautista says that in the case of the midge's, unlike the Aedes mosquito, it's doubtful that the situation is a result of water filled containers on these premises, and more to do with the thriving of Midge populations breeding in Mangrove and other swampy areas.
Midges! Midges! Midges!
The midges are on the move, swarming residences along the coastline. The Vector Control Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been notified of the midges’ invasions. Fortunately, these tiny pesky bugs are not seen as a public health hazard, but even so, the ministry sent out workers on an extermination mission.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
Midges are invading residences along the coast. These are pesky bugs that collect in the thousands, blanketing ceilings and walls. They have appeared in several communities along the coast.
Kim Bautista, Chief of Operations, Vector Control, M.O.H.W.
“Over the past days, the Ministry was notified of the proliferation of some tiny insects, particularly in neighborhoods along the seashore and coastline in general. So we did some checks and identified that the particular insect of concern is a type of midge which there are several hundred species of midges both biting and non-biting.”
…and that’s the only threat they pose. Well, other than being a nuisance. These midges don’t carry diseases and are not a public health hazard. According to the Chief of Operations of the Vector Control Unit at the Ministry, Kim Bautista, these are non-biting midges.
“What we are seeing is a high population of non biting midges as I said mostly along the coastal areas.”
“What has caused this because this is not a yearly event?”
“What tends to happen is that there are always somewhat a fairly good population of midges, but I think that what contributed to the situation was that after the high rainfall and the floods that we had over the past weeks, combined with the cold fronts you still have a lot of breathing habitats for both mosquito and midges.”
These midges have a short life span, a few days. But even so, the officials are out spraying them to death.
“We have certain zones within Belize city, public health zone seven to nine which runs you from Marine Parade all the way to Haulover Creek and those are the areas that are most infested so we have our guys out on the ground applying larvicides and also we’ve adjust our spray schedule with the U and V trucks to also provide some relief.”