I've been getting reports of the mass emergence of midges from various lakes this week. Midges are non-biting insects that are related to flies. The species that I have seen look similar to mosquitoes, but they do not have elongated biting mouthparts. They have slender bodies, long legs and males have feathery antennae.
The larvae of midges develop in water. They can be found in ditches, ponds and lakes rich in organic matter, streams or rivers. The presence or absence of certain midge species can sometimes be used as indicators for water quality.
Midges can emerge in very large numbers. The adults are weak fliers but are attracted to lights. Lights often attract them to inhabited areas where they become a nuisance to homeowners or businesses. Swarms can become very dense and make outdoor activities difficult to enjoy.
Tips for avoiding midges:
- Turn off outdoor lights or switch to bulbs that are less attractive to insects.
- Drain or reduce water in lakes where midges emerge to kill off overwintering populations of larvae.
- Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki works on midge and mosquito larvae (read product label for application rates).