In Nottinghamshire, the hills have flies, because for residents of a small English village the midges are so intense, it’s like an ‘apocalyptic plague’.
Whether it be the latest plot development of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, a divine curse upon the land or Mother Nature’s trickery, North Muskham is battling a nippy infestation of flies.
‘Clouds’ of midges have been terrorising the villagers, with people saying they’re unable to open their windows or sit in their gardens. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the invaders will be moving on anytime soon.
You can check out a video of one such swarm of flies in the video below:
Over the past two weeks, locals have been made miserable by the tireless tide of midges blighting their lives. Jenny, a veterinary surgeon from the village, had to hoover the flies off the ceiling after they got into her 15-year-old daughter Mia’s room.
The 42-year-old explained:
The night they came the security light came on as my daughter was going up to bed. We think it was the clouds of flies. She started filming on her phone. It was like something out of a horror film.
My daughter then woke up in the middle of night to find flies in everywhere in her bedroom. She screamed to her brother. They used a lot of fly spray. I have lived in the village for three-and-a-half years and have never known anything like it. I spoke to someone down the river who said they have never known anything like it in 30 years.
No matter how much they hoovered the ceiling and window sills, ‘they kept coming and there were swarms and swarms of them. Everyone in the village was complaining about the flies and saying they were affected too.’
Dr Chris Terrell-Nield, ecology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, explained the midges are a species called chironomids. At this time of year, they often emerge like a ‘mating swarm’, however due to the current pandemic ‘there’s less boats around, less fishing, less people and so we’re getting these large concentrations now’.
All that combined with the flooding earlier in the year and the warmer weather means it’s prime shagging time for these midges (didn’t think I’d be writing that when I woke up this morning). While they have a grand old time, the residents are on the other end of the very itchy spectrum.
Village resident Brian Manly, 51, said: ‘My local store was out of fly spray as so many people were using it to defend their homes. It was like an apocalyptic plague, I’ve really never seen anything like it.’
Fellow North Muskham resident Alison Luke, 61, also said:
We live near the River Trent and it had been unbelievable. By one footpath, it was like a cloud, we couldn’t see through. We took a video of them and it was amazing – they were 25 metres away. One evening my husband opened the bedroom window when the light was on. I don’t know how many came in. There must’ve been thousands on the ceiling.
Everybody in the village has been complaining they couldn’t open their windows in the heat. You couldn’t sit outside without getting them in your hair and teeth.
Alison, lead radiographer at Newark Hospital who has worked for the NHS for 44 years, added: ‘We have been in the village for 17 years and never seen anything like it. It’s an infestation. The clouds of them look like a murmuration of birds when they swirl together.’
As long as the River Trent doesn’t turn to blood; then we’re in real trouble.
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