Midge flies take over Southwest Florida

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz
Published: Updated:

A beautiful day in Southwest Florida can quickly turn into a buzzing nightmare. The infamous midge flies are making a return.

“We are seeing, I mean, I don’t know what record numbers is, but we get a lot of calls,” said Chris Lechowicz, Director of Wildlife and Habitat Management.

Midge flies are everywhere, especially if you live by the water.

“You’ll generally find them near ponds; you’ll find them near lakes,” said Joyce Fassbender, an Entomologist with Florida Gulf Coast University.

Though they only live a matter of days, they’re around just long enough to be a pain.

While they are suffocating, experts say the bugs can actually tell us a lot about where we live.

“They’re absolutely an indicator of less than stellar water quality. In general, they’re an indicator that there’s a lot of organic matter in the water,” said Fassbender, “so the water may be a little more stagnant, a little less oxygen-rich than it could be. They’re also an indicator of extra fertilizer because that leads to algal growth.”

The bad news? Fassbender said there’s no sure way to prevent them since pesticides don’t work on adults.

“Control of midges is really about planning and forethought,” said Fassbender, “and it really means trying to limit fertilizer in the water. It means trying to limit the amount of plant matter that you get into the water.”

If you’re looking for a silver lining…

“They’re the non-biting kind,” said Fassbender, “so at the very least, no one’s getting bit by them.”

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