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Environment & Energy

What the Re-emerging Midge Swarms Mean for Ohio's Ecosystem

photo of midge
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

As summer comes to Northeast Ohio, rising water temperatures are bringing an infestation of midges along the shores of Lake Erie.

Residents complain of swarms covering buildings and cars. The fly-like insects do not bite and only live for a few days.

Experts say they’ll likely die down during a heat wave this week.

But John Pogacnik, a biologist with Lake Metroparks, says the midges show Ohio has a healthy ecosystem.

“If it was heavily polluted, you wouldn’t see the huge numbers of them hatching. And when they do hatch, it’s a huge thing for breeding birds who right now are raising young, so it’s an easy food supply. They know you’re getting a lot of insects hatched this time of year and it’s free food.”

He says Ohio could get more midges later this summer, but their numbers will be much smaller.