How to Get Rid of Midges in Garden or Backyard — Patio Yard — Garden
Patio Yard & Garden
- 1 Patio Yard & Garden
- 2 Solutions For Patio & Garden
- 3 How to Get Rid of Midges in Garden or Backyard
- 4 Getting Rid Of Midgets in Your Yard
- 5 How To Get Rid Of These Midgets
- 6 Air Fans Can Keep Midgets Away
- 7 Insect Repellent Spray
- 8 Insect Repellent Sticks
- 9 6 Questions About Midges: Tips to Get Rid of Midges
- 10 1 – What Does the Biting Midge Fly Look Like?
- 11 2 – What is The Midge Life Cycle?
- 12 3 – What Attracts Midges? What Do Midges Eat?
- 13 4 – Why Do Midges Bite?
- 14 5 – How to Get Rid of Midges?
- 15 6 – Midges Vs. Mosquitoes: Are Mosquitoes different from No-See-Ums?
- 16 Your Battle Against Midges
- 17 Research
- 18 Midges In Florida: A Nuisance Or A Larger Problem?
- 19 How To Deal With Midge Fly Bites
- 20 Midge Vs. Mosquito: How Can You Tell Them Apart?
- 21 The No See Ums Florida Season: When Is It?
- 22 What You Can Do to Avoid Biting Midges
- 23 How To Get Rid Of Midge Flies
- 24 ABC Can Protect You From All Types Of Pests
Solutions For Patio & Garden
How to Get Rid of Midges in Garden or Backyard
Getting Rid Of Midgets in Your Yard
There are several types of flying insects which most of us would like to see gone. Somewhere at the top of the list would be the midgets. These are troublesome flying pests which arrive at early evening and night, they have a high noise as they zoom by our ears and they bite a nasty bite when they land on exposed skin.
First it is best to remind that biting midges are not mosquitoes. If your lawn has midgets you may want to know that they do not breed in the grass, trees or in soil or sand in the garden. They only rest and hide from other insects and birds in these areas.
Only the female midget bites, her saliva is injected into the skin as she bites to help the flow of blood. It is this saliva that causes the allergic reaction and itching.
How To Get Rid Of These Midgets
First of all, dry every water source which is wet and damp. Bird bath, the fish pond, a running garden hose tap, a fountain dripping. The midgets use these damp areas to breed. Unfortunately doing this may not be enough, as they can fly and be carried by winds for several hundred feet.
You can mow the grass to decrease their resting places, as they like to rest under the grass leafs where it is humid and wet. This will increase the airflow and can dry them out.
Keep Them Out
They show up usually 30 minutes before dark time, close your windows and doors to keep them out. Though most of them are so small they can enter under the door and in small window cracks, having window nets and insects mesh on door can keep most of them out.
There are special nets to cover the doors which are used to enter from the patio.
If you do not have such a door net cover get one for each door you use.Make sure you have nets for the windows too, there are temporary nets you can assembly in 10 minutes and seal windows which are now an entrance for midgets.
Air Fans Can Keep Midgets Away
Since they are very light weight and their wings aren’t as strong as regular flies or bugs, midgets have a tough time to maneuver when it is too windy.
For this reason an outdoor fan which can produce an airflow will create a No-Zone flight area for the midgets near nightfall.
An “industrial” air fan is recommended as they have a stronger engine and throw air from longer distance. The air circulation in the patio will reduce the ability of midgets to fly there. An outdoor fan can not be left in the rain, it should be under the patio or porch ceiling.
Insect Repellent Spray
You can avoid swarms of midgets covering your by using simple insect repellents. A few sprays of these and the midgets will pick someone else to cover.
The scent of the repellent makes them fly off and not get too close. This means you can sit peacefully at your back yard and read a book, or watch TV. Spray it over your clothes and exposed skin when you are outside, especially at evenings.
Get a personal protection repellent as part of the overall measures to get the midgets away.
Insect Repellent Sticks
If you do not want to mess with daily spray applying, you can use insect repellent scent sticks which you light and place around the sitting area of your back yard. The sticks burn slowly releasing the same scent which makes the flies and midgets go away.
These sticks are a good solution for yard events like a dinner or BBQ party, when applying a spray is not an option… They have a burn time of 2-3 hours and cover enough area for back yard sitting without gnats. Here are highly rated insect repellent sticks you can try .
Don’t give up on midget free nights. Though there might not be a total solution to get rid of them altogether, there still enough things to do to reduce their presence at home or in your garden.
6 Questions About Midges: Tips to Get Rid of Midges
If you live near a beach, marsh, lake, pond or slow-moving river or creek, then you’ve probably encountered biting midges. These insects leave itchy, red welts on your skin when they bite you. It’s understandable that you’ll look for ways to get rid of midges!
We came up with the most common questions people have about midges, so here we go. Click on the question you want answered!
1 – What Does the Biting Midge Fly Look Like?
Biting midges are small flies that develop near swampy areas. These insects can be major pests since they bite and draw blood from their victims, including humans.
The adult flies are gray in color and less than 1/8 of an inch long. Biting midges have segmented antennae, two wings, six legs and females have a proboscis for drawing blood.
2 – What is The Midge Life Cycle?
Midge eggs are laid in wet or swampy soils and soon hatch into larvae. As the larvae develops, they need to remain moist. They gather nutrients by consuming small organisms. They develop into adult flies in as little as two weeks. Full-grown adults are still small, and often no bigger than the lettering on a U.S. dime coin.
Larvae can suspend their development as cold winter temperatures arrive. They then stay underwater until freezing temperatures subside.
Midges of all kinds are a regular food source for fish, other insects, birds and spiders.
3 – What Attracts Midges? What Do Midges Eat?
Midge’s primary nourishment comes from flower nectar and other high-sugar juices, such as plant sap.
Midges are also attracted to humans, their pets and livestock thanks to the CO2, body heat and particular scents we make. Once midges become aware of these cues, they hunt down their target.
4 – Why Do Midges Bite?
Female midges are the ones who bite. These biters need the protein from blood to begin producing eggs. Biting midges will attack any kind of mammal. Birds, reptiles and amphibians can also be targeted.
Some species bite and feed in the daytime, others at dusk and into the night. Lights can attract night-feeding midges, and they will often slip through window screens with large openings.
5 – How to Get Rid of Midges?
Midges, also known as No-See-Ums, punkies and sandflies, can be hard to eliminate on your property. However, we have a whole article that describes how to get rid of midges. The basic ideas are these:
- Set up biting insect CO2 traps to draw the insects away and kill them.
- Install small-mesh screens in windows to prevent their entry.
- Use air conditioning to keep midges from entering buildings.
- Pick clothing that completely covers the skin.
- Apply insect repellent to drive them away.
Further, most species will only travel a mile or less from their hatching site to find food, so recognizing and eliminating local breeding sites can cut down on their numbers.
6 – Midges Vs. Mosquitoes: Are Mosquitoes different from No-See-Ums?
Midges and mosquitoes are different types of insects that often seek out the same resources, including egg incubation sites and opportunities for blood meals.
As a result, midges can be just as much of a problem as mosquitoes. Luckily, what works against mosquitoes usually works against biting midges as well. Repellents drive them away. Long-sleeved clothing stops them from biting. And, most importantly, they both are drawn to Mosquito Magnet® CO2 traps.
These traps use CO2 and secondary attractants to draw mosquitoes, midges and other biting insects to the trap and away from living targets. As they investigate the trap, the midges are sucked inside the trap and captured in a net. Within 24 hours, the trapped insects die of dehydration.
Your Battle Against Midges
Are you experiencing problems with midges, mosquitoes and other biting insects at your home or business, then you’ll want to learn more about Mosquito Magnet®. Try visiting Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook and then subscribe to our E-Newsletter for more articles like this, as well as important product announcements. Before you buy, add yourself to our Reward Points program so you earn money back for future purchases.
The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge’s connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, M is for Midge as we talk to eminent ecologist Dr Henry Disney about his lifelong interest in Diptera.
When I was four, I disappeared and was found sitting among some cabbages watching a caterpillar
Scroll to the end of the article to listen to the podcast.
Dr Henry Disney (Department of Zoology) has been fascinated by insects since he was four years old. His career has taken him all over the world. Despite losing 75% of his sight in 2012, Disney walks every day to his lab, where use of the latest imaging and magnifying technology enables him to continue his research. Below, Disney answers questions about the tiny insects that can, during summer months, turn a camping holiday on the beautiful west coast of Scotland into a nightmare.
What are midges?
Midges are classified as Diptera – which comes from the Greek for two wings. Diptera fall into three main groups: higher flies, middle flies and lower flies. Midges, like mosquitoes, fall into the lower group, which are the most ancient. They are typified by long antennae which have many segments. Some Diptera are enormously important as a threat to human health: they include many species in which the females suck blood and, in many parts of the world, transmit diseases such as yellow fever and malaria.
What is the life cycle of a midge?
The speed at which midges reproduce is temperature dependent. In the UK, you might get two or three generations a year. In the hot and steamy environment of Cameroon, where I’ve worked as a medical entomologist, you might see a new generation emerging every three weeks. Adult females lay their eggs in the water or on the margins of water. The eggs hatch into free-living larvae which go through several moults before they pupate. The adult emerges and sits on its empty case for a moment to open its wings before buzzing off.
When are midges most visible?
Midges are easiest to spot when groups of them dance in mid-air. What you’re seeing are the males saying to the females: here we are, where are you? They give off a signal that’s partly smell and partly sound. If you watch really carefully, you might see a pair of midges dropping out of the group to mate. Midges swarm near an object such as a branch which gives them a point of reference. Sometimes they gather in such numbers that they make huge towers. So many midges once swarmed on Salisbury Cathedral that the fire brigade was called; it looked as if the spire was swathed in smoke.
How many species of midge are there?
In the UK, alone there are more than 500 species of non-biting midges and more than 150 species of biting midges. Identification of the species is primarily based on details of the male genitalia examined under a microscope. Increasingly this is supplemented by the use of DNA ‘barcodes’.
Why do midges bite?
Only the females bite. They need a protein-rich meal of fresh blood in order to mature their eggs. Both the males and the females rely on sugar meals for energy for flight but the females need more than this to ensure the next generation. Female midges feed on the blood of birds as well as mammals. Each species has its own preferred choice of host.
What is the midge’s place in the ecosystem?
Meniscus midges live at the point where air and water meet – a zone known as the surface film. It’s a habitat that supports a whole community of plants and animals, many of them still unexplored. Some minute organisms spend their lives within the surface film; others, like meniscus midges, spend their larval lives feeding on it.
The boundary where air and water connect is rich in resources. The larvae of non-biting midges feed on algae and bacteria, filtering micro-organisms out of the water, but some are predators. The larvae of phantom midges live in the open water and prey on water fleas and small larvae. Adult midges are eaten by all kinds of things — from spiders to swallows. The larvae are eaten by fish, dragonfly larvae, water beetles and other predators.
What can midges tell us about the environment?
The apparent boundary between air and water of ponds and other bodies of water is masked by a layer of lipoprotein leached from organic materials. Within this ‘membrane’ live all kinds of microorganisms – bacteria and so on. Some of it drops in from above and some of it rises up from below. Hundreds of species depend on the ‘membrane’ for food as well as on the prey that inhabits it. Changes to the structure and content of this membrane will affect all these species.
Research has shown that midges are some of the most sensitive indicators of pollution in water. The presence of some species is a sign of a healthy water course with normal oxygen levels; their absence is a sign of lower oxygen levels and can point to pollution. Water authorities sample the numbers and species of midges present in a water course above and below a discharge – for example from a sewage treatment plant – to monitor contamination of the water by organic matter.
Oil, and detergents used to disperse oil, also alter the character of the surface layer – and will have a negative effect on species such as meniscus midge larvae that depend on this delicately balanced habitat.
What more is there to learn about midges?
Some insects have economic and medical importance. For example, there’s a huge body of literature devoted to mosquitoes. Anything that bites and transmits disease is likely to attract research funding. A Scandinavian team showed that midge bites could lead to a mild fever but its effects were short-lived and quickly alleviated. Although midges are known as ‘Scotland’s secret weapon’, there is no need to worry about being bitten leading to serious problems. However, biting midges have been implicated in transmitting a disease of livestock. In hot climates, midges are known to spread both African Horse Sickness and Blue Tongue virus.
There is still much to learn about midges and novel biological methods of control, that avoid the use of pesticides, for those species posing problems.
How did you get interested in insects?
I was always fascinated by natural history. When I was around four, I disappeared and everyone was out looking for me. I was found sitting among some cabbages watching a caterpillar. An aunt hugely encouraged me and left me a small legacy with which I bought my first microscope. I’m still using it more some 50 years later. My career has been immensely varied — I’ve worked in medical entomology in Belize and Cameroon. Since my move to Cambridge, I’m occasionally asked to report on specimens from forensic cases — including some involving infamous crimes – as well as pest problems and medical cases. I’ve authored, and contributed to, several books and written hundreds of papers. I’m never bored.
The most important question of all: how do you keep midges at bay if you have to work in areas where they are rife?
The most effective solution for people working outdoors is to wear a loose net over-garment with a hood, impregnated with DEET, over one’s normal clothing. This lasts longer than applying DEET to one’s skin or normal clothing. We used to test these against alternatives when running the annual field course at my field centre in Yorkshire for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Next in the Cambridge Animal Alphabet: N is for an animal that won’t win any beauty contests, but can live for 30 years and may be able to help in the development of new therapies for chronic pain.
Have you missed the series so far? Catch up on Medium here.
Inset images: Adult Dixella in side view (from British Dixidae (Meniscus Midges) and Thaumaleidae (Trickle Midges) by Henry Disney, published by the Freshwater Biological Association); Dorsal view of adult Dixa BM, BL, median and lateral bands on the scutum (from British Dixidae (Meniscus Midges) and Thaumaleidae (Trickle Midges) by Henry Disney, published by the Freshwater Biological Association).
Home page banner image: A chironomid midge. Credit: S Rae
The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For image use please see separate credits above.
Midges In Florida: A Nuisance Or A Larger Problem?
See if this sounds familiar.
You decide to fire up the grill for dinner. Everything is going great—until you feel the familiar bite of a bug. Then it happens again. Suddenly, you feel another twinge. Each time, you can’t see what could possibly be attacking you.
At first, you assume it must be mosquitoes, but none seem to be around. Then you see the swarm. Dozens of tiny, flying insects hovering nearby in a cloud. Sandflies. Biting midges, or as they are sometimes more commonly called, “no see ‘ums”.
Oh well, you think, they’re annoying, but at least they’re not dangerous. Or, are they? What can you do if you don’t want to have to deal with these pesky pests?
Lots of Florida residents wonder if there is anything they can do to deal with midges. Why? First off, they’re everywhere. Needless to say, they can be incredibly annoying if you’re trying to enjoy the outdoors around sunrise or sunset.
Because most people have just seen these insects as a small nuisance, few people really understand what midges are exactly and how to avoid getting bitten. In this post, you can learn more about midges in Florida and other parts of the country, what you can do if you get bitten, what the differences are between midges and mosquitoes and how to prevent midges from spoiling your next outdoor outing.
How To Deal With Midge Fly Bites
Most midges don’t bite. They just swarm around or near you in the most annoying way possible. When you come across varieties that do bite, however, you’ll be wishing for the other kind of annoyance.
Why? Because it’s rarely ever a single bite.
As you might remember, midges come in swarms. That means that when a midge bites you, they produce pheromones essentially saying, “Hey, guys, yummy stuff over here!”
In effect, they call their friends over to enjoy the meal with them, leading to you getting bitten over and over and over.
What happens if you get bitten?
People tend to feel a burning sensation at first, followed by a small red welt where they were bitten. Those with allergies may experience extreme itching. Some can suffer for several days after the bites occur.
Keep in mind, though, that typically you are dealing with many, many bites. So, even if you only feel minor discomfort from an individual bite, you’re talking about that sensation numerous times over.
Bottom line: midge bites are not pleasant. And for some, the experience with these beach bugs that bite, which can also be found near salt marshes, mangrove swamps and other humid environments, can be absolutely horrific. You can also run across these bugs in your backyard. When you are trying to identify different swimming pool bugs, types of midges can congregate poolside, which can certainly interfere with a relaxing swim.
Should you worry about diseases?
Not really. No midges have been recorded as transmitting “ disease agents ” to people in our country. That being said, there is some evidence that midges might be “vectors” of a parasitic worm that can infect people.
This human nematode parasite is native to South America and has also been found in the West Indies. In people who have been infected, the worms live primarily in the blood, but also (while the worms are juveniles) in the skin.
Not exactly pleasant to think about.
If you are bitten and experience discomfort, try calamine or other types of anti-itch ointments and creams. Some people find quite a bit of relief with these products. If the discomfort is extreme or continues for several days, it may be wise to seek out the help of a doctor.
Midge Vs. Mosquito: How Can You Tell Them Apart?
Here’s the bad news: it’s really hard to tell the difference between most mosquitoes and biting midges just by looking at them. Unless you manage to trap some and get a magnifying glass, the distinct visual characteristics won’t be apparent to the average person.
So, how can you tell which one is which?
There are two big ways to differentiate between these pesky insects:
- Midges are pretty much always in swarms. If you walk through a “cloud” of insects and they fly into your ears, eyes and mouth, you’re most likely dealing with midges. In contrast, while mosquitoes can swarm, they also often travel—and attack—alone.
- Midges are ridiculously slow. Seriously. These bugs fly slower than you can walk. If you want to get away from midges that are attacking you, just start moving. Any bothersome midges will quickly be left behind. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to get rid of mosquitoes this way.
So, which pest one is worse?
That probably depends on your specific experience.
If you’re looking at the potential damage that can be done, mosquitoes (pictured directly above this section) are clearly worse because of the incredibly serious diseases they can carry. Malaria. West Nile Virus. Zika. Yellow Fever. Dengue Fever. You don’t get much worse than that.
However, if you ask someone who has suffered a typical mosquito bite or two against someone who has dozens of bites from a midge attack, you might get a different answer—especially if they have an allergic reaction that increases swelling and itchiness.
Yes, at the end of the day, midges are still more annoying than anything else, but sometimes extreme annoyance can feel worse.
The No See Ums Florida Season: When Is It?
So, when do Floridians need to watch out for biting midges?
Generally speaking , midges are more common in warmer, wetter weather and less common in cooler, drier weather. So, summer is especially bad in the Sunshine State. Because Florida has warm weather most of the year, conditions in spring and fall can also be suitable for these biting insects. Winter tends to bring a bit of a reprieve, though there are some areas of South Florida that have to deal with midges year-round.
The long and short of it is that Florida is pretty much a haven for midges. Still, you can probably let your guard down a bit in the winter, and you should be particularly alert right after the warmth of spring kicks in and female midges are most active, during their mating season.
What You Can Do to Avoid Biting Midges
While there is little that can be done in Florida to completely avoid midges, there are strategies that you can use to minimize your contact with these creatures.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Minimize your time outdoors around dawn or dusk. Early morning and late afternoon are the peak biting times, just like for mosquitoes. If you simply stay inside during these times, you’re far less likely to get bitten.
- Use repellents. Insect repelling lotions and sprays generally work against biting midges, particularly if they contain DEET.
- Keep moving. As mentioned above, midges are slow. If you’re going out for a run—or even a brisk dog walk—you’re probably pretty safe from midge bites.
- Wear long sleeves. Midges can’t bite what they can’t get to. It may not be the most comfortable feeling in the world to cover up when going out in the hot Florida sun, but it sure beats getting eaten up by midges.
How To Get Rid Of Midge Flies
What if you can’t avoid biting midges and the problem is so bad that the typical protections just aren’t working? How can you get rid of midges?
Unfortunately, there’s not much out there that has been found to eradicate midges in any meaningful way for more than a short period. The simple fact is that there are too many of them, and they are too widespread.
Insecticides have been effective in some cases, but even then, only for a short time. There aren’t really any traps that have proven effective either.
Environmental changes may be the best way to reduce the midge population in a specific area.
Specifically, homeowners can follow many of the same suggestions that apply to keeping mosquitoes away. The tactics below can make your yard less attractive to these pesky insects.
Remove Standing Water
One way that mosquitoes and midges are alike is that females of both species lay their eggs in standing water. Removing these moisture sources can, therefore, help to curb an infestation. Midge eggs must stay moist, or they will dry out and die, so dumping out containers after your sprinklers run or a rainfall can help reduce your midge population.
Invest In Fans
Want to enjoy your screened-in porch? Midges are so small that they can slip through most screens, but they don’t do well in windy areas. Use a high-velocity fan or two, and they probably won’t even attempt to come in. With this advice in mind, you should take note that if it’s windy, midges will probably stay way.
Get “Biting Midge Screening”
While the holes in typical screens are not small enough to stop midges from getting in, you can find screens that have been specially created to keep biting midges away.
Turn Lights Off
Similar to many other types of bugs, midges are attracted to lights. If they see your light on at night, they will be drawn to it, which can result in you getting bitten. Turn off your lights, and you’re less likely to attract them. You can also consider investing in a bug zapper, so they will be fried when they approach your light. If you’re attracting swarms of midges, some are almost guaranteed to get a bite or two in before they perish.
ABC Can Protect You From All Types Of Pests
Unfortunately, midges live alongside us here in Florida. Fortunately, you can call in the experts if you have an infestation or if you are having problems with any other pesky insects or animals. If you have pest problem, ABC’s experienced technicians can diagnose your issue and provide you with a personalized treatment plan.