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Midge flies are swarming Southwest Florida; possibly indicating poor water quality

Posted at 2:31 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 02:31:34-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Forming swarms on your balcony, porch, or even while driving near a river or swampy area, Midge flies might be annoying, but they have one goal in mind.

“For most Midges the non-biting Midges, they don’t really care about us, what they want is to find a mate,” said Joyce Fassbender, Ph.D., Entomologist with Florida Gulf Coast University.

As natives to Florida, Midges start to appear as it gets warmer, but Joyce Fassbender, an Entomologist with Florida Gulf Coast University says the large amounts of Midges people see in our area could be due to poor water quality.

“So things like fertilizers run-offs or septic tanks leaking into rivers or sewer treatment plants, emptying organic or nutrient-rich liquid or fluids into river systems can actually lead to an increase in the number of midges," said Fassbender.

For many, Midge flies might be quite the pest, however, Fassbender says they are quite important to our ecosystem.

“They are food for fishes that are predatory. So they feed a lot of fish both as larvae and as adults. They are important for birds, and other insects that control the insect population like dragonflies,” said Fassbender.

Midges have a life expectancy of 2 to 5 days, however, should you become annoyed with them, there are a few effective ways to get rid of the Midges.

“So if they have wet patches in their lawns, you might want to improve drainage, because midges need damp soils with lots of organic matter in order for their young to develop. I wouldn't recommend chemical control methods because they are temporary at best. So what kills the larvae might not kill the adults, and what kills the adults might not kill the larvae. If you can, install a fan, because they don’t deal well with windy days because they are so tiny. Another thing is to get one of those light zappers because they are attracted to light, and they generally come out at dusk and dawn and the light zapper is a good means to get rid of the adults,” said Fassbender.