In a controlled field trial, a mechanical vacuum and a mouth aspirator were compared with respect to Culicoides midge catching results. The two collection methods were equally applied to two Haflinger horses. Once every hour between 2 hr before sunset and sunset, midges were aspirated for 3 min directly off from the coat of each horse at the same time. In total, 16 replicate measurement days were made. To get insight into the number of (blood‐fed) midges collected on different body parts, four replicate measurement days were done in which the hourly 3‐min samples for each collecting method were separately collected and counted per body part. Mean number of Culicoides midges collected on the legs and on the belly of the horse was two times and significantly higher by the mechanical vacuum aspirator compared to the mouth aspirator. Although the mean number of Culicoides midges from the other part of the host sampled (head/neck/manes/back/flanks) was comparable between the two methods, the mean number of blood‐fed Culicoides midges was four times and significantly higher collected by the mouth aspirator compared to the mechanical vacuum aspirator. In conclusion, it can be recommended to use a mechanical vacuum aspirator instead of a mouth aspirator for the legs and belly area, where a systematic, stroke‐by‐stroke‐vacuum procedure is recommended. For the rest of the body, it is strongly recommended to use a targeted procedure by visual guidance of the presence of midges. For now, based on this experiment, we can only recommend using the mouth aspirator for this targeted approach. However, it might be worth assessing the use of the mechanical vacuum aspirator in a targeted way for future studies.
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