Click on the images below to see an enlarged version:
The Press Article
27th February 2012
Thousands of midges are invading eastern Christchurch after the earthquakes helped create ideal breeding conditions, a pest control expert says.
The midges have caused some residents in Bromley and Aranui to keep their houses sealed to prevent the insects getting inside.
KiwiCare technical support manager David Brittain said anyone living or working near Christchurch's quake-damaged sewage ponds would be aware of the large numbers of New Zealand midges (chironomus zealandicus) in the area.
The non-biting midge was a "considerable nuisance", he said.
Brittain, who runs a pest advice blog, said there were "great clouds" of midges in parts of the city.
Midges would stick to walls and rest on vegetation in their thousands, he said.
The Christchurch settlement ponds were well known for producing plagues of midges in summer, Brittain said.
However, the earthquakes had disrupted the ponds, bringing high levels of nutrient to where the midge larvae fed. The right conditions meant adult flies were all "emerging at once".
"You can get tens of thousands of them stuck to your house ... you'll be breathing them in."
KiwiCare had received more calls for help with midges than in previous years.
The KiwiCare offices, which are close to the ponds, had been having problems with a "serious number" of midges, Brittain said.
Mark Lincoln, a resident of Shortland St in Aranui, said his home had been covered with midges.
He had been keeping windows, curtains and doors shut at night.
"But it only takes one open window to fill the house with the bloody things."
Lincoln had sprayed his house with bug killer specifically designed for midges.
Lincoln said the Christchurch City Council had dropped a pamphlet that said the earthquake levelled the oxidation ponds, creating shallow edges, and providing a perfect insect breeding ground.
Pest Expert - Kiwicare Technical Support Manager
NIWA report available on request