New Species of Biting Midges Attacks Icelanders Skip to content

New Species of Biting Midges Attacks Icelanders

Summer house owners in Kjós on both sides of Hvalfjörður fjord in West Iceland had to escape their resorts last weekend after being attacked by culicoides, a genus of biting midges, which has never been seen in Iceland before.

The tiny midges, which measure only about 1.5 mm in length, are considered to be particularly aggressive. They bite both humans and animals causing a rash and extensive itching.

Entomologist Erling Ólafsson at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History told ruv.is that he doesn’t know how the midges arrived in Iceland. “It is very strange. They are only in that one region but in several places in Kjós, both in the outer and inner part.”

The midges are known in Iceland’s neighboring countries where they are also considered to be a hazard. “People are unprotected against them. Often people don’t know about the bites until afterwards when they feel the itching and the skin begins to redden.”

Erling added that the midges don’t cause diseases. “But they’re a bother, of course.”

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