What is a Biting Midge?

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  • Written By: Cindi Pearce
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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The biting midge could fittingly be identified as the vampire of the insect world. The female midge is particularly problematic because, after mating, she requires a “blood meal.” This is necessary because the blood provides the protein essential in nourishing her developing eggs. Of course, this nutrition inevitably is stolen from unsuspecting humans and animals.

The biting midge, which is inaccurately referred to as a sand fly, does its dirty work primarily at dawn and dusk, and generally wreaks havoc in the late spring and early fall. Sometimes designated as “no see ums” because they are so small, the insect uses tiny saws to inflict pain and suffering, unlike a mosquito, which stabs its victims.

The biting midge flourishes in moist areas, such as swamps and in coastal areas, because the larvae cannot develop without moisture. Attempts at managing marshlands to purge the home of the insect and its larvae have only been marginally successful. Targeting the adult population is even more difficult because they reproduce at such a rapid rate that there is no way to keep up.

When the biting midge snacks on livestock this can result in the transmission of a disease called bluetongue, which is found in cattle and sheep. The insect can be a bane to horses by transmitting African Horsesickness and another disease called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. This latter disease can prove lethal to deer.


Attempts have been made at rounding up these insects so they can be annihilated. Using CO2, which the midges flock to, sets the trap. Like mosquitoes, the gnat is attracted to carbon dioxide, which humans and animals expel when we breathe out.

Humans can fend off biting midges by using smaller than usual mesh screens in their windows. These gnats are so tiny that they can squeeze through a regular size mesh screen. However, the insect is a lousy flier so, if you keep a fan running at a high speed, this prevents the no-see-ums from getting into your house. In addition, spraying screens with bug repellent can be an effective way of keeping the bugs at bay.

If you are the meal for a biting midge, there are few risks for humans, but it can result in itching, discomfort and lesions. Antihistamines and topical treatments are recommended.


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Post 5

I finally figured out that these annoying, biting bugs are midges. I can't see them, but they bite and create itchy skin like crazy for days. Mosquito bites only itch for a day. These bites are really red and I have lots of them. Why do I suddenly have them?

I have a tomato planter that requires a basin of water in the bottom. They are breeding like crazy and even fly through a fine screen on my glass sliding door. I plan to dump the water, ditch the tomato plants (so not worth the annoyance of bites), and get rid of all standing water. I usually grow cactus plants, which don't require much watering, certainly not enough to attract these. Hopefully, this will solve my bug bite problem.

Post 4

Slowly pour bleach down each drain in your house, daily.

Post 3

Midges have taken over my house. I moved into my home that had been vacant for three years and these things are ruining my life. All I do is focus on trying to get rid of them. They bite me and my dog non-stop. We are both miserable. I have tried everything. I have tons of boxes still packed and they have now invaded them.

Post 2

collect dog or cat stools and have them placed in containers strategically around your home and garden. The midges bury themselves into the feces that are high in carbon dioxide and eat each other in order to survive. I have been totally midge free for 18 months, not one single bite or sighting.

Post 1

My mother and I have been attacked for two years by these pests. I've lived in the same apartment for nine years, and until two years ago, never felt anything. I didn't

know they had a name until today. We have spent so much money on different types of products, sprays, bombs, vaseline (to make them stick), hairspray (to harden wings) but they kept coming back. I'll never give up! Help!

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