What the heck are midges?

by | May 18, 2018 | Public Spaces, Parks & Recreation

 

Midges on screens every spring.


Oh my gosh, did we buy a house on swamp land?” A recent transplant asked us this as she brushed hundreds of dead midges off her front porch last spring.
If you are not from NE Ohio, this twice yearly swarm of harmless bugs (mostly restricted to those homes closer to Lake Erie) might catch you by surprise. Let us allay those fears.

Picture of a mayfly.


Clevelanders call these bugs many things: mayflies, midges, muffleheads, and Canadian Soldiers.  Technically there are two types of bugs, but those details are lost on most of us (the tiny little bugson my window screen are midges, the larger bugs with dragonfly like wings are mayflies). Both are harmless bugs that hatch when Lake Erie’s water temperature hits about 60 degrees (usually in May and again in September).Birds love midges &  Mayflies – it’s like an all you can eat buffet for them this time of year. These bugs don’t bite, carry no diseases, and only live a few days; but, when their time is up, they pile up everywhere.
Be careful as you open your front door to grab the newspaper, you could be hit by a swarm of them. They make great fertilizer for your soil, and they are all gone after a few weeks.
And, no, we didn’t import them in for the 2007 MLB playoffs, but it was pretty funny to watch the Yankees swat them away as they tried to concentrate on the game!
The mayflies haven’t arrived yet, but be on the lookout! Here is a link to a website dedicated solely to the first sighting of Lake Erie’s mayflies.
http://www.mayflynews.net/
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