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swarming midge flies


Lakes in Florida with poor water quality are the breeding ground for some of the most obnoxious summer pests including aquatic midge flies. Not only are these insects annoying, midge fly swarms are a terrible nuisance that can trigger allergies and respiratory reactions.

What are midge flies?

Female Chironomidae Photo by Jon Richfield

Also called blind mosquitoes, these midge flies are insects often found swarming around lakes, ponds and waterways. They look like a mosquito but don’t bite, sting, suck blood or transmit disease. Midges belong to a very large and diverse family of aquatic insects. Their egg, larvae and pupae stages occur in water. The flying adults emerge from the water surface in large numbers from our lakes, ponds wetlands.

Midge flies are ubiquitous throughout Florida, North America and the world. They successfully inhabit many different aquatic ecosystems including both neighborhood storm water drainage systems and large natural lakes where they serve as an important food source for other aquatic insects, amphibians, fish and birds.

Download our full Midge Fly Report

Midge Fly Larvae Survey Sample

These red worm-like midge fly larvae live in the lake’s bottom muck. After several
weeks growth they evolve into the adult midge flies that swarm your community.

Five Steps to Safely and Sustainably Reducing Midge Fly Populations

Managing midge fly populations below nuisance levels requires a multidisciplinary approach to achieve successful long-term control.

1. Lake management efforts should be focused on improving water quality midge control

  • Lowering phosphorus levels to reduce recurring algae blooms that feed midge larvae
  • Preventing or diverting watershed runoff containing phosphorus, nitrogen and organic detritus
  • Avoiding reclaimed wastewater discharges high in phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia from entering your lake
  • Applying algaecides as necessary to control remaining algae blooms

2. Install a bottom diffused aeration system

  • Aeration raises dissolved oxygen thus accelerating the oxidation of decaying organic content – a primary food source that filter feeding midge larvae rely on.
  • Raising bottom oxygen levels will allow predatory fish to attack the larvae population hiding in the deeper bottom waters and sediments.
  • Higher oxygen levels can help reduce phosphorus, nitrogen and algae growth improving the lake’s overall water quality, clarity and beauty.

3. Manage your fisheries

  • Survey your fisheries
  • Maintain a predatory fish population that feeds on midge larvae
    • Stock the correct quantity of fish for your lake’s midge species and density
    • Restock yearly to maintain abundant fish populations

4. Apply biological larvicides

  • Conduct a midge survey to determine locations, types and density of larvae
  • Develop a treatment plan utilizing a series of timed applications to disrupt their reproduction cycle
  • Employ biological products now available for midge control
    • Provide faster, longer lasting and less expensive control
    • Targeted toward mosquito and midge fly larvae

5. Develop a healthy and diverse shoreline littoral habitat

  • Native plantings provide cover and shelter to midge predators including gambusia, bream, amphibians and dragonfly nymphs and adults
  • Many hardy attractive native flowering species to choose from including arrowhead, pickerelweed, canna lily and blue flag iris

Get aquatic midge flies under control