They’re on the screens, the car, the windows, and even in my hair as I walk. It looks like a three-stooge’s comedy to watch runners on Presque Isle waving their hands and arms in front of them like windshield wipers as they try to run. I thought this was very funny until I went down to my boat, and it was covered by a coating of them. There must have been at least a thousand on the screen door and windows alone. A quick hosing took care of that problem.
We’re being invaded. The midges have arrived. The midge, also known as a mufflehead, is a harmless but annoying insect that has invaded Erie and Presque Isle this year. They are not new to Erie. However, this year
they have found their way here in large numbers. These little pests have been around the Cleveland area for the past four years or five years. It seems they picked this year to move on down the lake to Erie and Presque Isle in full force.
Midge are widely distributed in the U.S and Canada. The most common midge people complain about are non-biting nuisance pests. Many people think they are mosquitos, but are quite different from them. Unlike the mosquito, they do not carry diseases or bite and have rather short wings compared to the mosquito.
They are aquatic, spending most of their seven to ten day lives close to water. Typically, midge mostly males, swarm in large numbers at dusk, and when females join them, mating occurs. Once this is done, the females almost immediately lay their eggs in masses over open water or attached to aquatic vegetation. These tiny eggs eventually sink to the bottom of the lake, pond or stream.
The larval stage soon emerges and begins its life on the bottom of the body of water. This is about ten months from the next midge emergence. This final stage is dependent on the water reaching a specific nature-controlled temperature.
There do not seem to be any health problems ssociated with the midge’s’ invasion other than the discomfort of them entering the ears, nose or mouth. Nevertheless, they certainly do not taste all that great.
Midges are usually a problem for about four weeks when they are out in great numbers right about now each year. Besides, just being annoying, the midge do help balance our ecosystem by providing fodder for fish and birds. They can be around from June to November in our area. One happy note is that their appearance means that Lake Erie has become healthier, and that is good.
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