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Midges

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Midges
Midges belong to the Order Diptera, and are one of the most miniature species of flies. They have piercing and sucking mouth parts, but only a few types suck blood—and among these, just the females. Like mosquitoes, some species of female midges need a blood meal in order to reproduce.

Midges live almost everywhere in the world, typically in coastal areas, swamps and marshy regions. In the United States, they are often referred to as no-see-ums. (In Australia they are called sandflies, though they are not a true sandfly.) Biting midges can prove to be highly annoying to people.

Biting activity occurs most frequently at dawn and dusk, but some species feed during the day. Midge species suck blood from several different animals, but many bite people—and often attack in large numbers. Midges ordinarily do not stray far from their breeding sites.

People usually do not realize that they are being bitten by midges, even when surrounded by them. The bites may cause skin irritation and itching, which can be severe. Itching can occur immediately or up to several hours after the bite. Some people show heightened sensitivity to midge bites and develop more serious reactions, including blistering. Midges are rarely associated with the spread of disease to people.

Persons living in midge-infested regions apparently can build up some immunity to the irritation caused by midge bites. So generally, midges create the most nuisance for people who travel to an infested area. For example, hunters, fishermen and golfers who travel to regions in the United States where midges are common often report being under attack by large numbers of no-see-ums.