When Is Midge Season?

Midges are small and practically unnoticeable pests on their own, but they can have a real impact on your outdoor activities when they come into season. During midge season, high numbers of these pests affect campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

Knowing when midge season is and understanding other details about these pests can help you enjoy the outdoors without worrying about these pests. 

Midge Fly on white background

What Are Midges?

Midges are closely related to mosquitoes and flies. Non-biting midges belong to the family Chironomidae, while biting midges are part of the family Ceratopogonidae. These tiny insects are found around the world, thriving in a wide range of environments. They’re quite small at just a few millimeters in length. The smallest biters are often referred to as No-See-Ums.

You’ll often see them near bodies of water, which is where their larvae develop. They can form large swarms during midge season when the right environmental conditions are in place. The sheer number turns them into a considerable annoyance.

There are two main types of midges: biting and non-biting. The biting midges are the main problem that outdoor enthusiasts face. They can cause significant irritation when they bite the skin to feed on blood. Non-biting midges don’t bite but can still be annoying. They’re prone to swarm around lights in incredibly high numbers.

Midge bites are more than just annoying. Once bitten, you can develop severe itching and discomfort. This can quickly spoil any outdoor activities. If you’re spending lots of time outside, you might face midges again and again, leading to a serious impact on your skin.

Some people can also have allergic reactions to midge bites. They’ll form large red welts that cause prolonged itching to the point that even getting to sleep can be a serious challenge.

Midge Season in the United States

Midge season in the U.S. varies depending on the specific geographic region. In general, midges start to become active in early spring. They’ll then continue to pester anyone outdoors until late fall.

It’s important to note that warmer states can have significantly longer midge seasons. In states such as Florida that have both warm temperatures and high humidity, midges can sometimes remain active year-round. Of course, they’ll still have their peak season during the summer months.

Northern states still have plenty of midge activity, but it is restricted to a more defined midge season. Activity peaks during the summer months and tapers off as fall approaches.

Midges are heavily influenced by the local environment. Temperature and humidity are two must-haves for midges. They thrive in warm, moist environments. This is largely due to the fact that their larvae live in water.

Organic materials in water sources also support increased midge activity, as they can provide food for the larvae. Frequent rain can create many lasting puddles where midges quickly multiply. Any source of stagnant water can potentially provide a home for midges and lead to increased numbers.

How Long Does Midge Season Last?

It depends on the climate and geographic location. More temperate regions have midge activity that can span from late spring to early fall, with a noticeable peak during the hot and humid summer months. Midges are incredibly common during this time of year, especially around dawn and dusk.

Midges are active throughout the year in subtropical regions. The intensity of the midge swarms will ebb and flow with temperature and humidity as weather changes throughout the year.

The specific weather experienced during any given year can shorten or lengthen midge season. Cold snaps can lead to lower levels and an early end. Conversely, warm temperatures with plenty of rain can see midges stick around longer than expected.

Midge activity will typically peak in the early morning and late evening. During these times of day temperatures are cooler and humidity levels higher. Midges can form large swarms during these times and can seriously impact any outdoor activities. Understanding these patterns can help you plan your outdoor activities to avoid midges. 

Midge Habitats and Breeding Grounds

Midges are most common around bodies of water, which are necessary for their larvae to grow. You’ll find them around lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, and essentially any other body of freshwater. Areas with plenty of organic debris to support larvae will have even higher numbers of midges surrounding them.

Female midges lay their eggs in bodies of water or moist soil. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which feed on essentially any organic material they can find. They go through several stages of development and eventually emerge as adult midges, ready to start the cycle again. The whole process takes just a few weeks.

It’s not just the natural lifecycle you need to think about, either. Activities such as construction can create new breeding sites and allow midges to infiltrate new areas. Any changes that affect water flow or drainage could end up creating the standing water needed for midges to thrive.

Impact of Midges on Outdoor Activities

Midges affect all kinds of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, golfing, or even taking a simple stroll. Their swarms can often get so bad that people are left with no other choice than to cancel outdoor events. Make sure to plan ahead when traveling to ensure that excessive midge activity won’t ruin your outdoor activities.

Midges can become such a serious issue that they have a real economic and social impact. High levels of midge activity can lower property values. Businesses can suffer as well, especially those in hospitality and recreation, which can see serious fluctuations in customer traffic related to midge activity.

Preventing and Managing Midge Infestations

You can take action to deal with midge activity around your home by keeping their numbers low in the first place. Eliminate standing water wherever possible to deny them a breeding ground. If you have a pond on your property, consider a pump to provide circulation and avoid stagnation.

Whether at home or anywhere else, you can rely on personal protective measures to stop midges. Many insect repellent sprays can provide temporary relief. There are also options like Insect Shield Permethrin Spray, which lets you treat your clothing and gear to repel midges and other pests for as long as 60 days.

If you’re looking to enjoy your outdoor spaces without dealing with midge swarms, consider reducing outdoor lighting. Going with a yellow light will also help. There are many different types of traps that can capture midges and reduce their numbers on your property.

Comparing Midges to Similar Pests

Other pests like mosquitoes and chiggers can sometimes be difficult to tell from midges. In general, midges are smaller and form large swarms. Also, chiggers are mites that don’t fly. However, all of these pests can leave you with itching bites.

Keeping a well-maintained yard and removing sources of stagnant water can help you deal with all of these pests. The same is also true for many types of insect repellents.

Don’t Let Midge Season Ruin Your Outdoor Fun

Midges can be quite the menace, but there’s no reason why they have to ruin your outdoor summer adventures. Understanding their habits and planning ahead will let you enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about midges. To prepare yourself, consider the wide range of effective insect-repellent clothing and products from Insect Shield.

Explore Midge Repellent Clothing & Spray

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