It’s probably happened to your before — you’re setting up the grill and your guests are gathered to eat and socialize.
The sun is setting and the weather is perfect. But some unwanted guests have decided to crash the party, swarming everyone’s heads as they try to eat, some even biting and leaving itchy welts on arms and legs.
No, they aren’t mosquitos, what you’ve got on your hands is a swarm of midges, and Florida is full of them.
But what is a midge? Are they infectious? And what can you do to keep them away from your property?
Read on to learn more:
What is a Midge?
Midges, or blind mosquitos as they are often called, are a common insect that lives near both natural and artificial water systems. They are very common in Florida where the weather is warm and humid and the water sources are plentiful.
There are four stages of life for midges: the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult. Bodies of water that are high in algae counts and nutrients are very inviting to midges. You’ll often find large populations of them near lakes and ponds, in residential lakes, and in wastewater channels.
Midges are not unlike mosquitos in that they both seek out blood meals and inviting sites for egg incubation.
They also enjoy nectar and plant sap, so areas with lots of trees and flowers can attract them in higher numbers. Pets, livestock, and people also draw midges due to their body heat.
Why are Midges a Nuisance?
Midges have always been annoying, but they are becoming more and more of a nuisance.
Due to deteriorating water quality, and an increased desire among homeowners to live near rivers and lakes, midges seem to be taking over.
At the onset of Spring through the end of November, midge populations are at their highest. This can be very aggravating for residents that live in breeding areas.
Midges prefer areas that are shady during the day and well lit at night, so homes and businesses are particularly inviting.
Large populations of these blind mosquitos can stain walls and paint. They damage windows and headlights of cars that drive through large swarms of them.
Midges will often fly into homes and stain ceilings, curtains, furniture, and carpets. And when they die, they often leave a “rotting fish” scent behind, which is very unpleasant.
Another reason why midges are a nuisance is their tendency to bite.
The female midges bite to extract protein from blood so that they can produce healthy eggs. Biting midges aren’t particular about the mammal they’ll bite. Nearby reptiles, birds, amphibians, and people are all suitable targets.
If you do get bit, you likely don’t have to worry about any disease or eggs being laid under your skin. But the bites can be irritating just the same. Try to avoid scratching your itchy skin after being bitten as this will only make the itchiness worse.
Some species of midges feed in the daytime while others prefer to wait until night to attack. Lights can attract the night-feeding midges and lure them through openings near doors or through window screens.
After female midges bite, they seek out somewhere moist like a nearby marsh, still pond or a hollowed-out tree stump to lay her eggs.
Soothing Midge Bites
If you’ve been bitten many times over by a swarm of these pesky insects, you can find a variety of remedies for relief at your local drugstore. Antihistamines or cortisone creams can relieve the constant itching. Zinc cream is good for skin irritations as well. Just be sure to follow the directions properly.
If you have an allergic reaction to midge bites, like excessive skin irritation or pain, be sure to contact a doctor immediately.
It’s very rare that anyone has an allergic reaction to midge bites, but don’t wait to see your doctor if you start experiencing a headache, swollen glands, or a fever after being bitten.
How Can You Get Rid of Midges?
Midges are difficult to eliminate, and you won’t be able to rid your area of them completely. However, there are some steps you can take to drastically reduce the number of midges that your property attracts.
Some of the actions you can take to get rid of midges include:
-Setting up CO2 traps to attract them and kill them.
-Using air conditioning as a means from keeping them out of a home or building.
-Choosing clothing that covers all of your skin.
-Making use of insect repellent consistently.
-Installing mesh screens in windows.
-Cleaning up the land so the area and managing wetlands so that it’s less appealing to midges and other swarms of insects.
By having your property cleaned up of old stumps, dead trees, stagnant water, and so forth, you’ll cut down on potential breeding sites.
Get Professional Help
If you’re sick of midges ruining an otherwise beautiful day, you might need some professional help in cleaning up your shrubs and trees to discourage them from breeding nearby.
Land management services not only make a property look nice but keeping your outdoors clean and well maintained will discourage midge breeding and keep other unwanted pests away as well.
To learn more about our land and aquatic management services, view the rest of our website or contact us with any questions.
We offer free estimates and stand behind all of our work.