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Aquatic midges can resemble mosquitoes

A homeowner from High Rock Lake sent an email claiming her home was being inundated and overrun by small insects resembling mosquitoes. Ironically, these insects didn’t bite like mosquitoes and would swarm in her lawn creating a “mighty roar” arising from them walking through the masses. These pests are aquatic midges also known as “blind mosquitoes” — they look very much like a mosquito, but they don’t bite. The males are often nicknamed “fuzzy bills” because of their unusually large fuzzy antennas. These insects are found near lakes, rivers, stagnant water and ponds. The abundance of rainfall this spring and summer only encouraged this major infestation.

Midges are attracted to light so they may be a problem near outdoor lights, street lights and homes with large windows. These insects also congregate literally by the thousands under porches, carports, docks and other outdoor structures located near lakes, ponds or standing water. Midges can be quite a nuisance especially for those who enjoy the outdoors. However, there are some positive aspects of this pest as they are an important food source for fish, birds and bats. The midge larvae also help the environment by consuming organic debris in the water.

Unfortunately, over-the-counter insecticide applications offer temporary control during heavy infestations as these insects repopulate quite rapidly. Spraying insecticides on porches, alcoves, carports, under the eaves of house will provide some relief, but only temporarily during the height of their season. Go to https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/biology-and-control-of-non-biting-aquatic-midges for more detailed information on aquatic midges and their control.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu.

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