Lakes, ponds and wetlands are valuable resources for boating and recreation, fishing, drinking water, stormwater collection, aesthetic beauty and wildlife habitat. But they also serve as common breeding grounds for pesky insects like aquatic midge flies, often referred to as "no-see-ums," "midge bugs" or "blind mosquitoes." Midge flies belong to a very large and diverse family of aquatic insects. While often thought of as the “cousin” of mosquitoes, midges don’t bite, sting, suck blood or transmit disease. They can, however, become a terrible nuisance and trigger allergies or respiratory issues.
Midges thrive near aquatic resources because their egg, larvae and pupae stages must occur in water. They have evolved to populate and prosper under difficult environmental conditions commonly occurring in many of our community lakes and ponds that have excessive nutrient loading, murky water, organic muck accumulation and low dissolved oxygen levels. These same water quality problems that favor midges also prevent midge predators such as fish and other aquatic insects from preying on them. This allows midges to form monocultures across a lake’s bottom and reproduce in extremely large numbers often exceeding 40,000 larvae per square meter. 1,000 larvae per square meter is considered the threshold for nuisance levels. Out-of-control midge larvae populations can become a terrible annoyance, inconvenience and even a health hazard to waterside residents when they metamorphose into adult flies.
Negative impact of midges:
Sustainable midge management solutions
Managing midge fly populations below nuisance levels requires a multidisciplinary and proactive approach to achieve successful long-term control—starting with a professional larvae count. Midge larvae surveys are crucial tools to determine which midge species are present and how to effectively manage them.
Blood midge larvae, for example, thrive in bottom sediments and must be targeted with an ingestible larvicide. On the other hand, phantom or ‘ghost’ midge larvae flow freely throughout the water column and are targeted with a growth-regulating hormone that prevents them from becoming healthy adults.
Communities that do not implement a larvae survey may fail to properly eradicate nuisance midge populations or keep midges away over time. In addition to utilizing traditional, targeted approaches, midges should also be managed and prevented using the following sustainable solutions:
Balance water quality:
Install an aeration system or a nanobubble aeration unit:
Effectively manage your fish populations:
Develop a healthy and diverse shoreline littoral habitat:
In support of our belief that lakes and ponds are a precious natural resource requiring protection, SOLitude is committed to providing sustainable and renewable solutions that maintain ecological balance in the workplace and beyond.
When you partner with SOLitude, a dedicated field technician visits your lake or pond twice a month, leveraging extensive knowledge and training to carefully maintain ecological balance and preserve the appearance of your aquatic property.
Utilizing the latest GPS aquatic mapping technology and our own proprietary lake and pond management software, the experts at SOLitude collect all the data necessary to provide comprehensive analysis and in-depth solutions.