Midge

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Midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes due to similar size and body shape, but they do not take a blood meal.

Fast Facts

Color Adults have gray to black bodies with wings that are clear.
Size 1/2″ in length.
Appearance Similar in size and shape to mosquitoes. Males have a feathery antennae.

Diet

The larvae consume decaying organic matter in water. The adults do not feed.

Habitat

Midges can be found along the edges of any body of water, lakes and ponds often seeing huge congregations. Swarms of these delicate flies are common in spring and fall. Due to their poor flying ability, winds often blow them into yards where they are considered a nuisance. They may take shelter under soffits, eaves, or covered patios and are often attracted to artificial lights at night.

Life Cycle

Eggs are laid on the surface of the water, only to sink to the bottom where they hatch in less than a week. After hatching, larvae burrow into the mud or construct small tubes in which they live and enlarge as they grow. Organic matter in the water and mud is used as food by the developing larvae. As they grow, the larvae take on a pink color and gradually turn a dark red. The larval stage can take two to seven weeks depending on water temperature. While still in their tubes, larvae transform into pupae. After three days, pupae swim to the surface, and adults emerge several hours later. Adults mate in swarms soon after emerging. Adults do not need to feed and only live for three to five days.

Midge Prevention & Control

Nutrient Reduction

Dense larval populations usually occur in nutrient rich habitats. Fertilizer run-off from residential lawns and gardens, golf courses and agricultural fields are sometimes responsible for the development of nuisance populations of midges.

Drain Bodies of Water

When possible, draining lakes and reservoirs with mud bottoms during winter months will kill over-wintering midge larvae, reducing the size of the adult population emerging in spring.

Diversion of Adults

High intensity white light has been found to be highly attractive to adults. Reduce or eliminate exterior lighting by closing window blinds and turning porch lights off during heavy emergence periods to help reduce the number of adults attracted to residences and buildings.