Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District

Chironomid Midge

    The midges of importance to the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District belong to the family Chironomidae. They are small (1-10 mm length), delicate insects that are somewhat mosquito-like in appearance, but they lack scales on the wings, and do not have a long proboscis (they do not bite). Midges often occur in huge swarms, usually in the evening, and the  humming of such a swarm can often be heard from a considerable distance.

    The larvae of midges occur in many types of aquatic habitats.  Many of the aquatic forms live in tubes or cases composed of fine particles of the substrate cemented together with salivary secretion.  The larvae of many midges are red, because hemoglobin is present in blood, and are known as bloodworms.  Midge larvae are often very abundant, and are an important item of food for many freshwater fish and other aquatic animals.

    Midges have not been implicated in the transmission of disease; however, due to their large numbers, they have affected the enjoyment and use of recreational and residential property within the District.

Cannot bite (no proboscis).
Develop in mud on bottoms of lakes and ponds.
Body longer than wings.
About the same size as a mosquito.
Gather in swarms and when at rest they cover screen doors, windows, and walls.
These insects breed in such great numbers that they will never be totally controlled.



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