In Lakewood's Backyard

Ever wonder about those small swarming summer insects? They are midges and belong to the family Chironomidae. Although they resemble irritating mosquitoes, these six-legged wonders do not bite. In fact, the only time they eat is during their four-week aquatic larval stage. A female midge lays her eggs in the water. The white larvae, which emerge, eat decomposing vegetation on the bottom of the lake or pond. After the larval stage, an immature midge becomes a pupa. From this form, the larvae are transformed into adult midges. Midges hatch on the surface of the water and this is when they are most commonly viewed. They live only long enough to reproduce. The swarming masses seen in the summer months are here to mate. Once they have mated and the eggs are laid, adult midges die.

Despite their bad rap, midges are an important part of the food chain. Both larvae and adults are a favorite summer treat for many freshwater fish, as well as early morning swimmers. These insects sometimes confuse outdoor pools for lakes and ponds, thus accumulating in our Foster and Madison pools. At 5:45AM it is not uncommon for Lakewood Recreation Swim Team diehards to consume a little extra protein.

Their life span is short but midges make their presence known through the sheer volume of specimens, which inhabit Lakewood. Just remember, they do not cause any harm to humans, so the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy nature.
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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 10.19 AM / 27th September 2005.