Midges swarm out of Lake Erie to take over Cleveland in June 2018

On June 3rd, 2018, Cleveland news stations began warning us that swarms of tiny insects were flying out of Lake Erie in numbers large enough to show up on radar! These small insects are in the genus Chironomus, and are commonly known as “midges”, “muckelheads”, and more colorful names. Most of their life is spent in a larval stage living underwater. But when the conditions are right each year, they emerge from the water and transform into their flying adult form. The adults fly around for the next few days to mate and start the next generation, and then they die off. I was able to get a closer look at them when they landed around my house and backyard in large numbers. Upon closer inspection, they are fascinating little animals. Here are a few photos to enjoy!

Midge looming over a leaf:

Midge rearing up on leaf

Midge under a leaf:

Midge hanging under leaf

Backlit midge under a leaf:

Backlit midge hanging under leaf

Profile view of a midge sitting on a leaf:

side profile of midge perched on leaf

If you enjoy these photos, you can click on them to purchase a print or a license to use a digital version.

More information on the midges is available from The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and Cleveland.com has a neat story about how the midges affected an Indians-Yankees baseball game.

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