Most haematophagous insect vectors can also use sugar as an energy source; thus their sugar-feeding behaviour influences their longevity and blood-feeding rate and hence their vectorial capacity. Scant information is available on the sugar-feeding behaviour of Culicoides Latreille biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), which are vectors of bluetongue and Schmallenberg viruses. The longevity of laboratory-reared Culicoides nubeculosus (Meigen) under fluctuating temperatures (16 and 28 °C) and with access to water or water and blood was on average 6.4 days and 8.9 days, respectively, which was around one third of the lifespan of siblings with access to sugar or sugar and blood (22.2 days and 27.1 days, respectively). Access to honeydew significantly increased the midge's longevity, whereas the provision of extrafloral nectaries had no impact. Females with access to sugar produced a significantly higher number of eggs (65.5 ± 5.2) than their starved sisters (45.4 ± 8.4). More than 80% of field-caught female Culicoides from the two most abundant European groups, Obsoletus (n = 2243) and Pulicaris (n = 805), were fructose-positive. Fructose-positivity was high in all physiological stages and no seasonal variability was noted. The high rate of natural sugar feeding of Culicoides offers opportunities for the development of novel control strategies using toxic sugar baits and for the monitoring of vector-borne diseases using sugar-treated FTA (nucleic acid preservation) cards in the field.