Midge Vs Mosquito: Identification, Social Structure, And Bite Dangers

Are midges mosquitoes?

This article is all about finding such differences by making comparisons between the midge and mosquito.

Oftentimes, people have mistaken one for the other.

Luckily, control methods are largely similar. In other words, a treatment that kills or repels midges is likely to have a similar effect on mosquitoes.

Midge Mosquito Comparison

Pests vary by type and cause a wide range of problems. Now, finding lasting solutions to such problems begins with identifying the pest you’re dealing with.

For some pests, identification won’t be difficult at all while for others, differences might be nuanced or subtle. To tell one pest apart from the other, you’ll need to know the key differences.

Is Identification Necessary?                                                             

For a lot of people, being bitten by an insect is enough reason to have it eliminated or repelled. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a midge mosquito, tick, fire ant, spider, or caterpillar.

While this is true, you want to ensure that the treatment method used is effective.

To give you a better idea of the importance of identification, not all treatments or insecticides will work on all pests. One may be effective on midges but prove useless on pests like ticks etc.

The pest must be identified to enable you to adopt the most effective remedy.

Key Differences Between the Midge and Mosquito

When it comes to the proper identification of the physical characteristics of midges and mosquitoes, many areas are looked at.

These range from their mouthparts, length of their legs, their social configurations as well as flying speed.

What more? Other areas include their interactions with light, resting position, harm posed to humans, and how their wings differ.

These points of the comparison set midges apart from mosquitoes.

For a better understanding of what these characteristics are, let’s have a look at each.

  • Mouthparts

When a midge and mosquito are placed side by side, it will be noticed that the mouthparts tend to be different.

This is so because midges have no proboscis.

This mouth component found on mosquitoes appears like a tiny spear. In reality, it’s a system of needles used for piercing the skin in search of blood vessels.

Blood is sucked out using this vital tool. There are two types of midges; the biting and non-biting types. The biting types have proboscis-like structures that enable them to bite and draw blood.

Of course, mosquitoes are well known for their proboscis. While all mosquitoes have these structures, not all midges have a proboscis.

  • Length of their Legs

Another point of comparison that helps easily differentiate between a midge and mosquito is the length of legs. Midges tend to have shorter legs compared to mosquitoes.

This easily tells them apart from mosquitoes. So, if you’re having a challenge with identification, simply take a look at the legs.

At rest, you’ll find midges holding their first pair of legs forward and in an upward position. When in an outstretched and resting position, the legs of a midge are likely to be mistaken for antennae.

Plus, the tarsi or foot portion of their legs tends to be longer than those of mosquitoes.

  • Social Configurations

Compared to midges, mosquitoes are loners. In other words, these pests live solitary lives.

Midges on the other hand form swarms. This is one way to easily identify a midge.

You’ll hardly find a lone midge as they move in swarms. This doesn’t make midges more dangerous than mosquitoes.

There’s far lesser harm posed by midges compared to mosquitoes. Read on for more details about the dangers posed by mosquitoes.

  • Flying Speed

Another key point of comparison between a midge and a mosquito is the flight speed. Midges tend to be generally slow in flight compared to the mosquitoes.

Although mosquitoes aren’t as swift as flies, they’re still swifter than midges.

This shouldn’t be a big deal as long as they do not pose as many problems to humans. However, the likelihood of harm cannot be ruled out especially when biting midges are involved.

  • Interactions with Light

Different insects have varying reactions to light.

Some prefer the ambiance and direct exposure to sunlight while others do not. Midges fall under the category of insects with little tolerance for direct sunlight.

They tend to prefer shaded areas to keep away from light.

Mosquitoes on the other hand have more preference for direct sunlight. You’re likely to find mosquitoes in areas with direct sunlight.

Using these key differences in interactions with light, you’re able to tell midges from mosquitoes.

  • Resting Position

The resting position of midge and mosquitoes tends to be different. When at rest, the bodies of midges are mostly in a straight position or appearance.

This is quite different for mosquitoes.

A close look at mosquitoes will show them in a humpback position.

Any mosquito-like insect you find taking this position is like to confirm your suspicions. If you’re not so sure, you only need to take a look at the other points of comparison as stated above.

  • Harm Posed to Humans

Both biting midges and mosquitoes are considered pests due to the pain they cause. While this is true, you might have to look beyond the immediate pain. Midges are mostly harmless.

The biting types do not transmit any diseases to hosts.

Mosquitoes on the other hand are known to be deadly as they’re vectors that transmit a variety of diseases

Examples of diseases transmitted by diseases include malaria, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Dengue Virus, Yellow fever, Chikungunya, and a host of other deadly diseases.

  • Differences in Wings

A midge and mosquito have different wing types.

Midges tend to have shorter wings while those of mosquitoes are longer. What more? You can also tell apart a midge from a mosquito by the look of the wings.

Those belonging to biting midges have a grayish appearance which is due to the dark patterns on them.

Mosquito wings on the other hand have scale-like structures on them. This gives them the appearance of fine hair.

These are key differences between the midge and mosquito. If you’ve read to this point, you shouldn’t have any difficulties telling a midge from a mosquito.

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