Non-biting midges belonging to the Chironomidae family in the Diptera order of flies are similar to mosquitoes in that they rely on pools of water in order to successfully spawn offspring. Although this group of insect pests cannot inflict bites, they can become a major nuisance within homes, especially during the monsoon season. In Arizona, rainfall quickly pools on residential and commercial streets, which naturally causes non-biting midge populations to increase substantially. These insect pests are well known for traveling long distances in order to enter homes. For example, when water sources becomes abundant, thousands of non-biting midges frequently congregate on the exterior walls of houses, on the underside of eaves, in doorways and in open living spaces located a quarter of a mile away from their breeding sites. These pests are so irritating that real estate values have decreased substantially in residential areas where non-biting midge outbreaks have repeatedly occurred.
Non-biting midges can access homes by squeezing through the narrowest of cracks located on the exterior walls of homes, and invasions are common during the nighttime hours due to their attraction to artificial lights. When large numbers of non-biting midges establish an indoor presence they can contaminate food, fly into people’s eyes, ears and mouth, and in some cases, it is difficult to avoid inhaling the airborne pests. In residential areas where outbreaks are frequent, spiders also become uncomfortably abundant in and around homes, as spiders prey on non-biting midges. Several species of non-biting midge pests are known for entering homes in massive numbers during Arizona’s monsoon season. One common species, Chironomus attenuatus, typically relies on ponds, streams, lakes and rivers for breeding, but at least two consecutive broods can emerge solely from monsoon waters during the mid to late summer seasons in Arizona. There is little that pest control professionals can do to protect homes from being invaded by swarms of non-biting midges, but sealing exterior cracks, crevices and other entry points can go a long way in preventing these pests from entering homes.
Has your home ever been invaded by large numbers of airborne insect pests?