UK town hit by mosquito plague as residents terrorised by 500,000 blood-sucking gnats

A UK town is in the midst of a major mosquito plague as residents complain they face half a million blood-sucking gnats descending on the town.

Sandwich, a town in Kent on the south-east tip of England is under attack from a plague of mosquitoes, fed-up residents have said.

Residents of the historic town claim they are suffering swarms of bites – and one parent said her daughter was left looking like she had chickenpox.

Things have gotten so bad that residents are urging Dover District Council (DDC) to spray the banks of the River Stour, where they breed, or find another way to deal with them.

The local authority has admitted that there is a “noticeable population” of the pests and the river is the only place in the district where it needs to carry out spraying to kill larvae.

But whilst residents may be currently battling the pests, recent council surveys found low levels of larvae meaning the worst had likely come and levels would hopefully start to drop away.

Responding to complaints about the problem, district councillor Dan Friend agrees the mosquitoes are “particularly potent” this year.

Writing on the Sandwich Kent Facebook page, he said: “I have been approached by a number of residents regarding these particularly undesirable critters.

“I am therefore liaising with the council’s environmental protection regarding additional inspections and remedial action.”

He added that officers were attending a number of sites in Sandwich, investigating possible sites of mosquito larvae.

Meanwhile, residents are voicing their concerns over the mosquito invasion on social media.

One resident wrote: “My eldest has been bitten badly through her leggings and looks like she has chicken pox there’s so many.”

Darren Finnis, another resident, added: “A few of us got bitten quite badly at bowls club in an evening game.

“Dragon flies turned up in numbers eating the mosquitoes. Never seen it before.”

Jan Cooper, speaking to KentOnline, said that the plague had become “awful” for dog walkers.

It had gotten so bad she said her and a friend carried ‘mozzie executioner racquets’ to kill them as they walked.

She added: “I see and hear so many complaints about these pesky things that I hope the council will do something about it.”

DDC says on its websites that no treatment to deal with the mosquitoes can be undertaken between April 30 and September 1, because of the impact it would have on local wildlife.

This means, anti-mosquito action is limited to three times a year, in the autumn, winter and spring.

Alongside that, under Natural England guidelines, it can only be implemented if agreed “trigger levels” of larvae are reached.

A spokesperson for Dover District Council said: “We are aware of recent concerns in Sandwich, and in addition to our regular seasonal larvae monitoring, additional surveys have been carried out this week.

“Very low larvae numbers were recorded. There is therefore currently no justification to spray as there is a negligible larvae population.

“Although mosquitoes are found around the district, they are found in Sandwich, and the banks of the River Stour at Sandwich is the only location where we carry out mosquito spraying.

“Natural England permits us to treat the site as long as certain guidelines are met, including that agreed trigger levels are reached. This is limited to three times a year, in autumn, winter and spring. We monitor the levels of larvae, and if they reach set levels, we spray the area.

“For more information, please see the DDC website. If residents have evidence of where mosquito larvae are, they are welcome to contact us, and we can investigate the matter.”