Updated: June 1, 2023

Midges are small, flying insects that belong to the family of Chironomidae. They are commonly found near water sources such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Midges are also known as lake flies, sand flies, or no-see-ums because they are so small that they can be difficult to see with the naked eye. While midges are not harmful to humans in most cases, they can cause some problems for people who are sensitive to insect bites or have an allergic reaction.

What are Midges?

Midges are small, non-biting insects that resemble mosquitoes. They have long, thin legs and antennae, and their bodies range in color from brown to black. Midges are found in aquatic environments such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. They are often seen swarming in large numbers over the water surface.

Midges play an important role in the ecosystem as they serve as a food source for many aquatic animals, including fish and birds. They also help to break down organic matter in the water by feeding on dead plants and animals.

Are Midges Harmful to Humans?

In general, midges are not harmful to humans. Unlike mosquitoes, they do not bite or transmit diseases. However, some people may experience an allergic reaction or sensitivity to midge bites.

Midge bites can cause redness, itching, and swelling around the affected area. The severity of the reaction depends on the individual’s sensitivity and the number of bites received. In rare cases, some people may experience a more severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

How to Avoid Midge Bites

There are several ways to avoid midge bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when spending time outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin to exposed skin.
  • Avoid spending time outdoors during dawn and dusk when midges are most active.
  • Use a mosquito net or insect screen to protect yourself when sleeping or spending time in enclosed areas.

How to Treat Midge Bites

If you do get bitten by midges, there are several ways to treat the bites:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling and itching.
  • Take an antihistamine to alleviate itching.
  • Apply a topical cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation.


Midges may be annoying, but they are not harmful to humans in most cases. While their bites can cause discomfort and itching, they do not transmit diseases like mosquitoes do. If you are spending time outdoors near water sources, taking precautions such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent can help prevent midge bites. If you do get bitten, there are several ways to treat the bites and alleviate symptoms.