Last week I responded to a call about UFIs — unidentified flying insects — which had surrounded a house to the point that they were getting inside every time a door was opened. They looked like mosquitoes, but weren’t biting anyone. When I arrived at the house, late in the afternoon, my suspicions were confirmed: The occupants were being tormented by non-biting midges, which behave much like mosquitoes, but are actually a kind of fly.
Adult midges are humpbacked, and black, gray, or brown in color. They’re often confused with mosquitoes, but don’t bite, and aren’t known to carry any diseases. They breed and hatch in stagnant water, and are most prevalent during the spring and early summer (i.e., right now). They only live for five to ten days, and focus solely on mating during that time, which is why they swarm.
Unfortunately, the source of the problem might not even be on your land, as swarms can fly up to a quarter of a mile from breeding sites, and are attracted to light. However, there are a few steps you can take to alleviate the problem:
- When outdoors, apply insect repellent, and light citronella candles.
- Turn off outdoor lights, or replace ordinary light bulbs with yellow bulbs, which attract fewer flying pests of all kinds.
- Eliminate standing water, if possible. Clogged rain gutters, bird baths, flower pots, old tires, and rotting tree stumps are often-overlooked breeding sites for midges and mosquitoes.
- You can try blacklight traps or bug zappers, which work fairly well, but typically attract more midges than would have been in the area without them. Such devices can make the problem worse when placed close to the house.
For a professional solution, consider our mosquito management service. It eliminates both pests, due to the similarities between them. For more information, see our website, or call our office at 302-436-8140.