Biting midges (Culicoides spp.) are an important environmental health issue in Hervey Bay, an area of rapid population growth in Australia. It is also the gateway to a World Heritage area (Great Sandy Strait) and a destination for tourists. The spread of housing developments into suburbs close to midge breeding habitats has led to a problem for the local government responsible for managing biting insects in its area. Suburbs with a severe biting midge problem were found to have significantly lower residential property values than less affected suburbs. The gross reduction in value in due to the midge problem was estimated to range from more than AUS$25 million, based on actual sale price, to more than AUS$55 million, based on the perceptions of the most severely affected residents.
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Vol. 22 • No. 1