March Midge-ness

Midge

A Male Midge

The first warm days of spring in the Midwest bring a variety of flies. Many species of flies are tiny, less than a couple of mm in length. Among the tiny flies are midges of the family Chironomidae. The Chironomids are an important part of the aquatic food chain, serving as breakfast, lunch and dinner for fish and larger arthropods. Midges are among the earliest insects to fly in Spring. They wait in the water for the weather to warm, then swarm out of the water.

Male midges have bristly antennae that resemble a brush. The midges have characteristic long fore legs. At one time, it was believed that most midges do not feed. However, midges may ingest fluids they encounter in the environment. Most midges do not bite or harm humans. Often the adults will emerge and swarm near dusk and are attracted to lights. Large populations can cover the sides of houses. Some midges are small enough to fit through window screens and can enter your house. They do not live long, especially if they do not have a source of water available to them.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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