Midges

 

In Manatee County, there is an insect most commonly mistaken as a mosquito called the midge. The midge belongs to the family of flying insects called CHIRONOMIDAE . They are small (some are very small), delicate, and somewhat mosquito-like in appearance (See Figure 1). The larvae of midges are aquatic, living in the soft organic bottoms of bays, lakes, ponds, even lagoons. The adults often occur in swarms in areas near to their larval aquatic habitat. Although harmless and non-biting, chironomid midges are readily attracted to lights and some can easily penetrate ordinary window screens. Lake-front homes, sporting facilities, recreational areas and businesses can be blanketed with the insects after times of peak emergence. Since they have a short life span the accumulation of dead midges around a home can cause some distress. Because of these reasons, midges become a matter of public concern.

Control of midges has been very ineffective. Nearly all attempts at control have yielded poor results at best because of the types of habitat that they breed in and their habits once they are adults. The problems with larval control are that, in general, the larvicides available are relatively ineffective against midges. This is probably because they are protected within their tubes in the soft mud and the pesticide is diluted by the large amounts of water in the breeding habitat. Likewise, adult control is also nearly as impossible. The adult midges tend to congregate on the lee-side of any obstruction (i.e., Homes, bushes, cars, etc.). Any type of area wide spray, even aerial spraying, does not reach the adults where they are swarming, and thus has no effect. An additional problem is that, since the adults are continuously emerging and replacing any that would be killed, any reduction would be short lived. Area type spraying has been tried in many areas around the country with virtually no success. All things considered, the most effective measures against midges are ones that the homeowners can do themselves. Most of these do not require the use of pesticides.

1. Avoid outdoor and bright lighting near open windows. Midges are attracted to light and would be more likely to come in a window by a light.

2. Close windows on the leeward side of house. Remember - they are trying to get out of the wind. So make it less accessible for them in these areas.

3. Spray resting & swarming midges with water from a garden hose & nozzle. Water pressure out of such a nozzle can kill resting midges. This will give some temporary relief from the adults that are swarming on structures and wash away the dead ones.

4. Temporary spraying of swarming midges. Spray swarming midges and yard area with an area type spray. (Use as directed on the label.) This will kill the existing adult midges just as #3 above, however, this becomes more expensive than using a hose and water.

5. Residual spray of resting areas using insecticides. Spray resting areas such as bushes, grass. etc. where adult midges would rest, with a more residual pesticide. These can be purchased at a hardware or home & garden (Lowes, Home Depot) center for homeowners use. Follow the directions for treating adult flies. This should control the midges that are there and provide some residual to kill incoming midges.


Figure 1 : Pupa - Larvae - and Adult of the Midge

For More Information: http:edis.ifas.ufl.edu/IG092

Other Pests : Biting Flies

Biting flies in Florida include No-See-Ums (Sand Flies), Black Flies, Stable Flies, Deer Flies and Horse Flies. They can be a nuisance and inflict painful bites while taking a blood meal. A good source of information is available in this pdf file available from the University of Florida Extension IFAS.

 

 

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