The infamous Mount Mauler has been spoiling Tauranga beachgoers' visits for years and the source of the nasty bite has always remained a mystery.

However, a schoolkid looks to have cracked the case over the holiday period, using his family as a trap to snare the dreaded beast.

Budding Hamilton entomologist Olly Hills was staying at Papamoa over Christmas and was at the beach with his family when they started to get bitten.

"We started getting bitten, came back, did a bit research and found out a tiny bit about the Mount Mauler but no one really knew what it was," he said.

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"So, back down to the beach and everyone pulls their leggings up and I try and catch some that land on my mum's legs."

The 11-year-old and his family were only waiting on the beach for around two minutes before he captured a flying midge.

Olly Hills may have discovered the true identity of the Mount Mauler. Photo / Supplied
Olly Hills may have discovered the true identity of the Mount Mauler. Photo / Supplied

The flying midge - or Mount Mauler - has been bitting unsuspecting victims on Tauranga beaches.

The bites are normally unnoticeable until they become aggravated and quickly pop up in bright red spots, the areas becoming itchy and rash-like.

Hills, who has already published a book called Cicadas of New Zealand, told the Herald he thought the Mount Mauler might have been a midge.

"Upon catching one, it was indeed a small biting midge called a coastal midge," he said.

Last year, the Bay of Plenty Times reported one Mount Mauler victim had wounds for up to two months after being bitten.

Another woman also said the maulers were not a new phenomenon, believing they had been active in the region for up to 50 years.

Previously, prime suspects of the Mount Mauler had been a microscopic jellyfish called hydromedusae or the larval stage of an insect called phycosecis limbata.

Rod Emmerson's depiction of the Mount Mauler attacks in 2016. Photo / File
Rod Emmerson's depiction of the Mount Mauler attacks in 2016. Photo / File