The dreaded midge…Not quite a mosquito, but equally as infuriating and at times painful! This little flying insect brings mass amounts of frustration throughout the summer months across all parts of the world. So, the question is how do we keep midges at bay and prevent midges from entering our homes and gardens? The good news – there is hope. In this article, we cover exactly what you need to know about midges, midge bites, and how to get rid of these troublesome insects.
The insects are particularly drawn to wetter environments which can be a hassle if you live close by to a river. Biting midges leave red and itchy bites that never seems to go away. And, when you have one, many more seem to follow. There are certain ways to protect ourselves from midges so if you’re eager to learn how to get rid of midges you’ll want to read on to the end of this article.
Before we dive in and give you a complete guide on the best ways to keep midges at bay and prevent those awful bites, here is an overview of what we will cover:
- The midge life cycle
- What a midge looks like
- What attracts midges
- Why midges bite
- When do midges bite
- How to get rid of midges
- Midge insect repellent products
- How to treat a midge bite
All of the information in this article is intended to answer the question of how to get rid of midges. We have included some useful information as to how to treat bites too, however, if you have an adverse reaction to any insect bite you should always make sure to seek the advice and help of your doctor. Want to know how to get rid of midges? Here’s how!
1. The Midge Life Cycle
You are probably familiar with the insect, but just how much do you know about a midges life cycle? And, is it even relevant do you ask? Well, yes it is relevant. Getting a good idea of the midge life cycle will give you greater insight into when these pesky insects are at there peak age.
Midges choose to lay their eggs in wet and swamp-like soils, much like many other flies. Once they are laid, they shortly develop into midge larvae and develop further along the cycle. Midges need to be kept moist during this stage in order to grow into the flies. They will gather nutrients by consuming microscopic organisms and eventually develop into flies in just under 2 weeks.
When a midge is full-grown, it still remains extremely small and these types of insects are often difficult to spot in the first instance. They are usually no larger than the letter found on a U.S coin. These critters are particularly stealthy, in fact, even at the larvae stage they are able to survive the harshest of environments.
A midge can suspend its development in freezing water and await warmer temperatures before developing again. While midges eat smaller organisms, they do make a regular food source for birds, fish, and even spiders.
2. What A Midge Looks Like
The chances are, you’ve probably seen one of these insects or at least been bitten by one before. Tiny in size, these flies have a grey coloring and grow no larger than 1/8 of an inch. Biting midges are characterized by segmented antennae, two wings, and 6 legs.
There are two types of midges including the biting type and non biting midges. While both are annoying, non biting midges actually poses little to no harm. Instead it is their biting counterparts that run the risk of causing you annoyance and pain.
Only female flies draw blood from humans and they have a proboscis for doing so. Midges actually draw blood meals in order to produce protein for the protection of their eggs. Non biting midges appear exactly the same and are as slow moving as their biting counterparts which can make it difficult to identify what type of insects you are dealing with. However, the big give away will always be in the wounds that occur on your skin.
Regular bites on people usually indicate that there is a pest that needs to be dealt with. Check around your house area and find if there is anything that could be acting as breeding sites for the insects this will involve water. Do you have water nearby or plenty of flowering plants that produce flower nectar?
3. What Attracts Midges
Midges gain their primary nutrients from flower nectar and plant sap, that’s why they are generally found around areas that are green. However, midges are attracted to humans and animals due to the levels of C02 that we give off, body heat, and certain scents that we carry.
When midges find these particular things, they decide to hunt down their target which is, unfortunately, our skin and blood a lot of the time.
4. Why Midges Bite
Firstly, it is a good fact to know that only female midges are the biting midges type. Female midges require protein from blood in order to produce eggs. That is why they are so good at getting that blood from their protein sources – us! Biting midges will actually prey on any type of animal to acquire the protein that they need, and humans are included.
There are different types of biting midge fly species with some biting and others not biting. The biting midge will emerge with enough fat that will assist in maturing their batch of eggs. However, it is the blood meal in which they feed on that provides enough nutrients to allow the eggs to grow. l
5. When Do Midges Bite
Midges thrive on humid weather and it is often in these conditions that you will see the flies begin to appear. In the summertime, the air is at its most humid, and therefore this brings biting midges out as they seek blood. You won’t find midges in windy or breezy environments as they cannot move very quickly in such conditions with their slow moving wings only 2mm in size.
Light intensity will signal to a biting midge when it is feeding time so you will generally see them emerge at dusk time or dawn. If possible, ensure that you are prepared in such environments if you are outside during these times in areas where biting midges are active. We will tell you how to keep midges away from your skin further into the article.
6. How To Get Rid Of Midges
The most important question of all – how do we prevent midges? There are multiple answers to this question that will aid in helping you get rid of these pests. We’ve put together some handy tips that you can try below that covers how to get rid of midges:
Step 1 – Consider using woven screens on your windows. Just as with mosquitoes, midges can get into your home through windows and many of the scents inside our home attracts midges. You should find screens with the smallest hole mesh available.
This will keep midges from finding a way into your home and bothering you. Window screens can be hugely helpful and we recommend getting them if you don’t use them already. If you live in an area where you are prone to midge infestation, this simple step can certainly help.
Step 2 – Midges are attracted to standing water and especially water that is non-moving. As the perfect place to lay eggs, you should inspect your garden or outdoor space and remove any water sources that could be a potential midge breeding ground.
This includes potted plants, whereby the standing water may gather and attract biting midges and any other containers that could fill.
Step 3 – One of the best ways to get rid of midges is to set traps that help you do so. These traps won’t require much and will help you keep these flying insects away. You can pour one-half inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass or a plastic bowl and fill with standing water and a couple of drops of dish washing detergent.
Place these traps around the house and the mixture attracts midges. They will fly close to the water and die when attempting to land in these water bodies. This simple and inexpensive midge trap is one of the best answers to how to get rid of midges.
When many dead midges are floating in the water, simply dispose of it and replace the mixture. This is a great way to rid of adult midges and reduce the number of flies in your home.
Step 4 – Using natural oils, including pine oil, you can get rid of midges in your home. How do you ask? Simply soak a piece of old cloth in pine oil and hang on top of windows in your home. You can even attach it to the mosquito screen that you may have installed to further deter biting midges.
When they smell the strongly scented cloth they will be naturally put off from entering. This is an inexpensive insect repellent and one we highly recommend. You can even hang the cloths above doorways too if you are looking to step up your pest control efforts.
Step 5 – If you are still struggling to get rid of midges in your home after following the steps above, it may be time to use a homemade fogger. You can pick these up from outdoor stores that sell insect repellents and other items to help get rid of midges. Indoor foggers are usually made from pyrethrin and are really effective in getting rid of midges, but they should usually be used as a last resort.
Always be sure to follow the exact instructions set out on the midge fogger to avoid any unwanted reactions from occuring. These products are guaranteed to stop midges from entering your home but you may want to choose some of the less costly options beforehand.
7. Midge Insect Repellent Products
There are a number of products that are made especially to get rid of midges. If you are having issues with biting midges, you may want to consider investing in some of the products laid out below.
Citronella candles – Biting midges really hate the scent that is giving off from citronella candles. These candles have a very citrusy scent that deters the pests from your gardens and homes if burnt inside. With these types of products, you should be especially careful to ensure that no fire hazards are in the space when you use them. They are effective and low-cost making them a win-win for fighting off biting midges.
Insect repellent sprays – Insect repellent sprays can be good to get rid of midges, however, you should invest in a reliable product that is going to WORK. There are tons of cheap options out there but there are some top quality products that will get rid of the flies. Deet has an excellent reputation for pest control and it offers a high level of protection. You simply spray it onto your skin and allow it to dry so that when midges land to bite, they will actually be put off by the scent.
Essential oils – If you’re not big on the idea of using a midge repellent that contains synthetic ingredients, the alternative could be natural oils. Midges are found to dislike certain scents outside of citronella and pine and these include eucalyptus, lavender, and lemon. To get rid of midges on your skin, consider buying one of these oils and diluting with water in a spray bottle. You can then use the water mixture on your skin to keep midges away.
Other options – There are other options which can help you get rid of the non biting and biting midges in your environment. If you have tried everything above and nothing seems to be working you may want to consider installing bug zappers, setting up co2 traps, midge traps, or using insecticide concentrate as a final measure. This type of product can be used as part of lawn care resources, however, it is incredibly important to make sure to follow the exact instructions laid out.
8. How To Treat Midges Bites
There are some ways in which you can treat a bite if the unfortunate happens. If you are still struggling with how to get rid of midges and find that you get bitten, here’s how to treat the itchy wounds left behind by midges.
Apply an icepack – Icepacks are used to treat all sorts of mild injuries and they’re good for reducing the swelling and pain of the bite of a midge. You will simply need to get a cold compress which can be an ice pack, gel pack, or a packet of frozen vegetables even wrapped in a tea towel. Place the ice pack or other cold compress where the midge has bitten. You should see reduced redness and not be as itchy within a few minutes of application.
For wounds that have been scratched – It is difficult to resist scratching that awful bite – we know! If you have scratched the area in which the fly has bitten you, make sure to stop scratching. You may want to apply a soothing cream to reduce the pain and irritation. You can find antiseptic and antihistamine creams in your local drug store which are good for soothing the skin from midges. In the worst case and you suspect that you are allergic to the bite, we recommend seeking the advice of your doctor who will know what treatment to administer.
Don’t itch the bite! – It’s really difficult to avoid itching a bite from the pests that are midges, however, where you can you should try your absolute best not to. The midge pierces a hole into your skin and injects its saliva into the wound it has made, this is to prevent the blood from clotting. It is in fact the saliva that causes the itching sensation as the body creates a mild immune response. The body will seek to repair the wound and as it does this can be a particularly troublesome time. Try not to scratch as you may end up worsening the wound and even leave behind a scar.
Now that we have come to the end of our guides on midges and how to get rid of midges, you may still be left with a few questions. We want to make sure that we have covered everything possible about these pesky flies so that you can be best prepared when going out into the wild. Below, you will find some further common FAQs on the topic of midges.
How do you get rid of midges naturally?
Getting rid of midges naturally is definitely achievable but it can be more of a task. There are several ways in which you can ensure fewer midges are around you or ready to bite you. While there are non-biting midges that are actually harmless if not annoying, it is the midges with a bite you need to look out for.
First of all, midges are attracted to body heat, water bodies, and carbon dioxide. None of these are entirely avoidable, but there are measures you can take to reduce the likeliness of a midge population attacking you. If you live in a naturally humid or wet area such as North America, you are going to have to use an insect repellant. For the natural route choose a deterring scent such as pine oil, lemon, or lavender. Midges hate all these scents and by applying to the skin you are sure to get rid of the flies.
In your home, you may want to look into buying products such as citronella oil-burning candles to keep midges out of your garden. We also recommend identifying any possible standing water that may attract midges. You can empty these water areas to the best of your ability and keep midges away from the area. This will reduce the number of midges in your space meaning you can control the pests through natural measures.
How long do midges last for?
The life of this fly actually lasts for only 3-5 days which is pretty short. However, adults can lay thousands of eggs in this time and grow the population massively especially in the right type of environment. Midges tend to be found around lakes, rivers, and other water though it is the co2 that they smell on us that makes them bite people. This type of pest is especially persistent and often those that are bitten will find they have multiple bites across the body.
After 3 days pupae will swim to the surface of streams and just a few hours later, adults will emerge. They develop especially fast which can make it difficult to get rid of the insects before they make it to the adult stage. Wondering how to get rid of midges in your own home or garden? Check out the information above in this guide to help with that!
What causes midge infestation?
In a residential setting, a midge infestation can occur if the house is close to water. Because midges breed so quickly, these insects emerge as adults often in swarms and this can be quite overwhelming for people in trying to control getting rid of them. If your house is close to water, you may find that there are often swarms of midges in the summertime in your outdoor space and they may even make their way indoors too.
While certain preventative measures can help such as mosquito nets, breeding sites cannot be changed. There are definitely things that you can do to reduce midge populations in your own space. For example, if you have a pond in your garden, you may want to consider getting rid of it. While this isn’t an ideal solution it can offer control against the insects and provide relief from the pain. The adult midge only lives for a few days but in this time, it is capable of producing thousands of eggs and thus the cycle continues.