Currently viewing the category: "Midges"

Is this a skeeter or what??
Location unknown
July 19, 2010
In the grocery store recently, I found a little flying critter sitting on, yes, a bottle of mosquito repellent. It was too funny and I had to take a pic! But I went online later to look at mosquito pictures, and none of them look like this fella. Can you tell me what it actually is?
Amused but confused

Is that a Mosquito on the Mosquito Repellent???

Hi Alice,
Sadly, we do not have a conclusive answer for you, but we are also terribly amused by the possibility that this might be a Mosquito on the bottle of repellent.  Judging by the antennae, it might be a male, and male Mosquitoes do not bite.  It might also be a Midge.  At any rate, we are cropping out the product name in your photo in an effort to not compromise product sales.

ID please
June 17, 2010
Took pics of this bug last week. Lake Tinaroo up on the Atherton Tablelands above Cairns, Far North Queensland. I seems to have moth like antennae but a mosquito like body.
Andy MacDougall
atherton highlands, tropical north queensland


Hi Andy,
This is a Midge in the family Chironomidae, and it is a male judging by his feathery antennae.  We do not have the necessary skills to further classify this Midge to the genus or species level, but we have linked to a similar image on BugGuide for reference.

ID request
April 23, 2010
This pic was taken in a wetlands area in Odenton, MD on 4/222/10 around 7:30pm. If you can identify it, please let me know what it is. Thanks!
Odenton MD

Male Non-Biting Midge

Dear Wondering999,
We believe this is a Mosquito, but we are uncertain of the species.  The feathery antennae indicate that it is a male, and only female Mosquitoes bite and suck blood.  Male Mosquitoes feed on nectar.  Perhaps one of our readers will know the species and write in with further information.

Correction thanks to Karl
April 27, 2010
Hi Daniel and Wondering999:
It’s definitely a male, but it looks like a Non-Biting Midge (Chironomidae). They are closely related but adult non-biting midges are distinguished from mosquitoes (Culicidae) by the way the head is tucked under, the lack of scales on the wings, and the lack of elongated mouthparts (compare a male non-bighting midge to a male mosquito). Your question is “but what species???”. Although I am not prepared to go that far out on a limb, I believe it belongs to the subfamily Chironominae and tribe Chironomini, perhaps genus Chironomus. However, the Chironomids are a very difficult group and identifications really require some serious expertise. Non-biting midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes, which can sometimes be alarming because they tend to congregate in dense cloud-like mating swarms that can generate an impressive buzz. The swarms are often focused around the tops of trees or other prominent features on warm spring and summer evenings. They occur in vast numbers in most non-arid environments, in the water as larvae and in the air as adults, and they are a critical component of aquatic and terrestrial food webs. As the name suggests, they do not bite. Regards.

Unusual Midge – In Copal
April 15, 2010
Found this in Madagascar Copal, around 5,000 years old, wings are 10mm, body about 8 mm, wings have symetrical patternation, very long striped legs ( like porcupine needles!) Huge head for the body…I have around 3,000 inclusion specimens but have never seen this type before. Richard

Midge in Amber

Read Full Article →

Real Fear of Bugs
November 7, 2009
I am taking a General Biology II course at a university and part of our grade includes presenting an insect collection. I cannot understand why we even have to do it for many reasons. First, we have to go out and find and kill 35 species, from at least 10 different orders, and key out 17 different families. This is not an entomology course whatsoever, just a biology class that entails the study of evolution, and the different Domains and Kingdoms. Only 2 days out of a semester were even discussed about insects.
Can someone please tell me how anyone can stand insects and bugs? Or am I missing out on something here? I am scared of “bugs” in general because I have had too many frightening encounters with them crawling on me and yes, biting me. I’ve always told my husband that when I die, to please cremate me just because I hate bugs and do not want them around me even when I am dead.
So the Insect Collection, to me, is a waste of my time since I am killing what some believe are just co-habitants of our world; and, because after 10 weeks, I still don’t like them. I guess this is supposed to teach me to appreciate them, but the more photos I see of insects during my countless hours of trying to identify and classify them, the more I fear them. Perhaps I was killed by insects in my previous life, I don’t know. I just don’t get it.
And I know you’ll hate me for mentioning this part, but the one thing that I have learned from my project is how to kill them. Otherwise, what do you suggest for someone like me to truly overcome the fear of them? Are there any bugs that you do suggest killing? To me, it’s fair game, if a bug is inside my house, it’s a dead bug. I certainly hope that statement won’t “come back to bite me.”
Just Don’t Like Them
Southern Nevada



Dear Just Don’t Like Them,
We doubt that we would have any more luck trying to convince you of the virtues of insects than we did last night trying to convince our coworker Sharon the Speech instructor of the value and savoriness of eggplant as a culinary ingredient.  Sharon dislikes eggplant and you dislike insects, period.  As to the merits of the insect collection in your biology class, we hesitate to question the academic freedom of a fellow educator.  We can say that it is far easier to teach taxonomy through an insect collection than through a bird collection.  We do not hate you for your comment about killing, and we doubt that this activity will continue once the semester is completed.  We don’t know how to help you overcome your fear, and we do not think your phobia warrants psychiatric attention provided it does not seriously affect your ability to function, which clearly by your letter it does not.  In the end, while you may never develop any love for the insect kingdom, and while your fear may never dissipate, we hope that at least you will appreciate the necessary niche that insects fill in the subtle balance of the web of life on our planet.  Good luck with your class and your collection.  We suspect that you are probably at the top of your class when it comes to assessing the performance rates of your fellow students.

Gall or nest?
August 3, 2009
Hi guys!
I absolutely love your site, and tell all my friends about it! I found a very alien object clinging to a creosote bush behind my house, in Tucson AZ. It is a leafy sphere, about the size of a quarter. The leaves (which don’t look anything like those the creosote leaves) are arranged in whirls, like a grassy daisy, and there is a tiny hole in the center of each. Coming out of each hole are discarded exoskeletons, like those of the grain moth larvae you find in boxes of rice and pancake mix. They are probably only 4 or 5mm long. There is also a bit of silk strewn around the whole thing, which gives it a dewy, sticky look, but I haven’t touched it because I don’t want to be impregnated by some alien insectoid race. What kind of bug could construct such a crazy looking (and beautiful) nest? Or is it a gall of some sort? I am so very curious…
Thanks for your help!
Emily Rush
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Creosote Gall

Creosote Gall

Creosote gall
August 3, 2009
Me again. After writing to you, I decided to google “creosote gall”. Don’t know why I didn’t do that first, I guess I was just excited to send you a pic of something you might not have seen before. Apparently my mystery alien sphere IS a gall, caused by, wonder of wonders, a creosote gall midge! I couldn’t find a picture of one though. Any help in this area?
Thanks again!
Emily Rush
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Hi Emily,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a Creosote Gall and doing the subsequent research.  BugGuide has images of the Creosote Gall filed under the species Asphondylia auripila with the information:  “Larvae form galls in creosote bush (Larrea tridentata),”
but if you go to the genus Asphondylia and browse, you will see some images of related Midges that probably look very similar to the Creosote Gall Midge. The only species on BugGuide with images of adults is Asphondylia solidanginis. Species in the same genus often have visual similarities and an expert is required to differentiate one from another.  Unlike the Oak Gall we just posted which was formed by a small wasp, the Creosote Gall is formed by a Midge that is in the order Diptera and is classified with the flies.  The Creosote Gall is a deformation of the plant with the leaves and stems stunted to form the Gall.  If you follow the taxonomy on BugGuide back to the Family Cecidomyiidae, you start to get a bit more information, including:  “Minute, delicate flies with long legs and usually relatively long antennae, and with reduced wing venation” and “more than 1,200 species in 170 genera in North America.” There are images of many different species on the Cicidomyiidae page of the Forestry Images website.  Some of the members of the family include the Skeletonweed Gall Midge and the St. John’s Wart Midge.  Those should give you some idea of what the Creosote Gall Midge looks like.  Again, thanks for sending us your photo.

Thanks Daniel!
I hope I can catch a midge in action. By the way, the root borer you posted is a Palo Verde beetle (Derobrachus geminatus). We have lot’s of them in Tucson- they’re HUGE, and they’re really active right now, during the monsoon. I like their fancy spiked collars! Here’s another!