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Midges (Chironomidae), the why, how and unknowns of nuisance plagues from Lakes Joondalup and Goollelal

Thursday, 06 October 2016

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You are invited to a seminar presentation on Midges (Chironomidae), the why, how and unknowns of nuisance plagues from Lakes Joondalup and Goollelal by A/Prof Mark Lund.

Presenter: A/Prof Mark Lund

Date:     Friday, 7 October 2016

Time:     3:30pm

Venue:  Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup WA 6027

Room:   Building 19, Room 19.143

Midges (Chironomidae) are non-biting insects (similar in size to mosquitos) but cause significant nuisance to residents living around affected wetlands. Midge egg masses are laid generally directly into the water or may be attached to vegetation. Eggs hatch within 1-2 days and approximately 800 first instar larvae per mass are released into the water where they disperse for a short period before settling on to the sediment. The larvae then remain in the sediment for a few weeks to several months depending on the species and environmental conditions passing through three other instars. Finally forming pupae and emerging from the lake as adults, which live for 1-2 weeks, rarely feeding - their sole purpose is breeding. At dusk, many species use the moon as a guide to form male mating swarms, with females attracted to the swarms possibly by the sound of wing beats. Mating occurs and then females immediately lay eggs. The light of moon (mimicked by artificial lighting) and poor flying ability result in them being blown or attracted to nearby suburbs.

Over the last 15 years of research and monitoring at Lakes Joondalup and Goollelal we are now in a good position to understand why we have nuisance midge problems, how we can control them and what still is unknown. I recently reviewed of all the monitoring data collected by the Cities and Department of Parks and Wildlife in both lakes alongside my own research. In this talk, I will cover what the data revealed about why we have midge problems, why our current control strategies are limited in their effectiveness, opportunities for improving control and what the future may hold.

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