Midge Elimination Methods, Biology and Identification of Midges

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Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
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Chas Kempf
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Last updated: January 14, 2023
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Biology and Identification

This fly belongs to a family of small to moderately large flies.  People are often alarmed by midges since they resemble mosquitoes.   However, they differ from mosquitoes in that the wings are not scaled and the mouthparts are short and not adapted for biting.  Adult midges are slender, usually less than 5 mm long with long, slender legs and wings.  Midges lay their eggs on water.  The larvae are usually aquatic, are found in quiet water such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs and tanks, and are bottom feeders.  Polluted water apparently favors their growth and development.  In the summer, eggs will hatch in about 3 days and larvae will reach adulthood in about 4 weeks.

During peak emergence, large numbers of midges fly into residential and industrial areas causing annoyance and damage.  They are attracted to lights at night and thousands will rest on the outside of buildings and will enter homes through the slightest crack.  They fly into people’s eyes, ears and mouths and are sometimes inhaled.  Everything is contaminated by midges!

Eliminating Midges

Midge invasions may be abated by avoiding the use of outdoor lighting to the greatest possible extent, especially during early evening hours.   For those midges that are still able to find their way indoors, the residual and space treatments described for the house fly will provide some degree of relief.

Midges are rarely a problem in a well-balanced aquatic community.  Pollution of water, where algae growth provides food for midge larvae to feed, results in excessive midge populations.  Certain insecticides can be applied to the water to kill midge larvae, but if the food supply which will support future midge outbreaks is not removed, the source of the problem remains.  Midges have been controlled in small bodies of water by stocking them with carp and goldfish at the rate of 150 to 500 pounds per acre of water surface.

When water management techniques are not practical and the treatment of larval breeding waters is not feasible, fogging for adult flies may provide temporary relief.  Malathion and synergized pyrethrins are examples of insecticides that have been used to control adult midges.  Fogging provides limited results unless the entire residential area is treated.

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