Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bloodworm swarms hit Seattle!

Q. Why is my head suddenly surrounded by a thousand annoying bugs?

A. Those are midges, and they are mating.  Those swarms are big orgies of tiny flies that only have a few days to live.  They don’t eat, they just fly around and get it on, then go lay eggs. Midges gather in places where sun meets shade (as in, everywhere we like to sit outside). They emerge from Lake Washington and other bodies of water every spring.   
Chironomid midge,

Midges look like mosquitoes, more or less, but have more stylish feathery antennae.  Midge larvae are popular models for fishing flies — people make cute little worms out of glass beads and fishing hooks. Why are they red?  Because they have hemoglobin!  That’s unusual for insects, but Chironomus midges, a.k.a. Bloodworms, have it. You gotta respect that, right?

Chironomid larva lures,

The good news is that they don't bite. No-see-ums are nastly little swarming midges that live in hotter places.  They bite and it's brutal.