Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ode to the Midge

I now have swarming midges!  Can you believe it?  They eat aphids.  That's a good thing, right? 

Well, check out a picture of a midge.  Not bad, you say?  Hrumph.

They are like a non-biting mosquito and they love swarming.  Especially above ponds. 

Those midges are making me itch just sitting in the solarium next to them.  It's psychological of course, but why have a solarium if you can't sit in it without feeling itchy? 

Here's a picture of the swarm,

No, those aren't just spots on your computer screen, they are a swarm! 

I first got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked them up.  That was fun, but time consuming.

Next, I got a battery powered swatter.  That also took a lot of energy, but was so satisfying when I heard the zap that said I had electrified the crazy thing!  I didn't get nearly enough zapping sounds to warrant the continued swatting.

Next I got out the Vaseline and put it all over a paper.  I swung it over the pond in the late afternoon, and caught a lot, but I couldn't stay there all day.  I have things to do, places to go, dirt to dig in.

So I bought a sticky trap.  In an hour, that sticky trap was full of midges. 
I swear, they must triple their population every hour.  That didn't really put a dent in them.

Yesterday I went to Far North Garden Supply.  What a nice lady.  After she understood that I couldn't poison them because that's where our drinking water is, she got out the books to find out which predators eat Midges.  She did warn me that if I got rid of my midges, I would have aphids again.  Suddenly I seem to like aphids and their predators, ladybugs, a lot more than swarming midges. 

We find NEMATODES.  Now doesn't that sound delicious!  :-)

So, apparently these things crawl down into the mud where the midges are hatching their eggs and they eat them!  They eat everything---even earthworms.  So what happens when a nematode falls in the pond?  Will they attack my koi???

I have so many midges, I'm imagining that the nematodes will quickly multiply.  Then what? 

Does anyone know where I can get frogs? 


Anonymous said...

The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone...the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone...the hip bone's connected--well, you get the idea! We are all interconnected, indeed. I don't think we have swarming midges at our house, but no solarium either. ~Susan S

Curt Karns said...

So, when are you going to add your next post?

DaveGent said...

Nematodes are everywhere where there is at least some moisture, so in soil you will find them everywhere, all sorts.
A small number of nematodes are parasites of larger organisms, such as insect, snails and even mammals (yes including us). These are mostly species-specific, meaning they can be used to get rid of a given 'pest' very effectively. Entemopathogenic (ie pathogens of insects)nematodes are used as a part of sustainable pest management in many agricultural situations. IF the nematodes you got are indeed parasites of midges then great you have found an ecological solution! they certainly won't 'eat' earthworms, and even less so fish or plants. Most nematodes are good duys in the soil - I know I study them on a daily basis!

quinto190 said...

How about small fishes in the pond, who feed from the ground, aquarium welses and grundels? They should be able to find the midge larvae in the ground.

Cindee said...

Nice idea! One big propblem: the Koi eat the little fish