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For the second season in a row, a number of our clients in one particular neighborhood are plagued by non-biting midges. We are talking virtually complete coverage on some surfaces, and when disturbed the clouds of insects are a choking hazard.

Due to the proximity of wetlands and our insistence on organic landscape care, we are considering cultural or other non-chemical controls as outlined by NC State. The one that interests us most it the use of "bait lights" to draw the flying adults away from activity areas on the property.

But how well do these work?

  • To some animals, that's like an all you can eat buffet. Have you considered introducing a natural predator? Eventually something like that usually happens anyways but sometimes you can shortcut the process. – Enigma Oct 3 '14 at 16:58
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Predatory fish. Chironomid midges are a major component of the diet of many fish species. In particular, bottom-feeding fishes, such as catfish and carp, consume large numbers of midge larvae. However, the feeding of these fishes has, generally, not been shown to reduce adult midge populations below nuisance levels adjacent to habitats where there were large larval populations. You might want to contact your local NC Wildlife Resources Commission office for advice on stocking ponds. (source)

The effectiveness of this approach is going to depend entirely on the habitat in which the fish are introduced and if it is large enough to sustain them.

Other options to deal with the existing adult population might include bats or dragon flies (I have no sourced reference of the effectiveness of either of those for this use).

Bait lights will work to the degree you scale it to. By that I mean, if the neighborhood continues using flood lights/yard illumination, you will likely be proportionally splitting off some of the horde from where they normally group up. If you can gain the cooperation of the neighborhood in shutting off most of their lights for a few nights while you bait them, you should get more of a turnout.

Lighting Issues. If you live in a near a pond or in a lakeside community, you might try getting advice from your local government or from a lighting consultant concerning the type of public lighting in your neighborhood. It may be possible to reduce lighting or switch from the typical metal halide streetlight to one that is less attractive to midges, such as the use of high-pressure sodium lamps. There might be a situation where you would use brighter lights in an non-occupied area to attract them away from houses or where people are active outdoors. On the personal front, reduce or eliminate exterior lighting at night around your house. Close window shades. Use subdued walkway/landscape type lighting if you wish. Don’t burn lampposts or floodlights except when needed. (source)

After having successfully baited the mass of them away from the neighborhood, you will still need some way to deal with the overgrown population (capture/kill) or else they will likely return to the neighborhood after the situation normalizes.

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