Young midges can be found in all sorts of water; some live in hot springs at temperatures of 124°F! The larva likes to snack on tiny bits of dead plants floating in the water and tiny microscopic animals. It eats by straining its food through brushes surrounding its mouth. Some midge larvae are bright red and are called bloodworms. The chemical that makes them red helps them get oxygen when levels are low. The chemical is hemoglobin, just like in our blood. The midge larva may seem pretty tiny to us but it is an important food source for fish, even the largest fish in Wisconsin, the sturgeon. So, indirectly that little larva may be part of your dinner some day. Most adult midges are harmless even though they look like a miniature mosquito. Some, the "no-see-ums," are nasty biters. They dance over the water in great flocks or swarm around making a humming sound. Even the non-biting midges can be annoying at certain times of the year because of their huge numbers. Swarms of midges near Lake Winnebago and the Mississippi River can completely cover houses, bridges and roads. They can create traffic problems by making roads slippery.
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