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Biting midges are annoying insects also known as sand flies, black gnats and no-see-ums. They have these multiple names due to their small size of 1/25 to 1/8 inch.

These midges are tiny and black with clear to whitish wings, but they are so small at times that you may not even note that they are winged insects and only be aware of them if bitten. Biting midges feed on humans, birds and any warm-blooded animal they come in contact with.

Biting midges breed in damp and rotting vegetation, wet mud and sand, or in shallow stagnant or brackish waters. Similar locations that have a damp, wet environment like marshlands, lakes, streams and swamps are the perfect breeding ground for midges. Compost piles can be plagued by midge infestations. Typically bites aren’t all that painful, but they will produce tiny welts or swellings. Occasionally midge bites will produce blisters. Any bite symptoms may last from a few days up to a week. It is rare to find midges in the home, but outdoors they are quick to attack with bites around the feet, ankles, legs, ears and eyes. They also zone in on areas under clothing such as the cuffs, collars and belt areas where clothing binds.

Infested areas of the yard may be treated with a remethrin containing insecticide. Always follow label directions with care. For personal protection, an insect repellant which can be obtained over the counter at a drugstore or convenience store, or even via the internet should be used. Read labels to make sure you will get benefit against midges, especially if you will be traveling in swampy, moist areas of land.