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WbranchSeptember 15th, 2016, 3:53 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
This inquiry is directed mostly to the real entomologists on this forum or the skilled amateurs.

I have a little cabin along the WB of the Delaware River. The cabin is about 30 feet from the river. There are about four 130' tall pine trees on my property as well as a couple of large oaks and maples. There are lots of weeds growing along the bank.

There is a tiny black flying insect no bigger than a small fleck of black pepper that thrives on my property in such huge numbers that going outside on windless days is pretty much impossible unless you are wearing a head net or smoking a cigarette of cigar. Smoke does keep them at bay. Perspiration seems to draw them in. They seem to prefer flying around your head and for some unknown reason just love to fly into my ears.

If un-swatted they will bite and in a few minutes it is an itchy bump. Yesterday was quite wind free and quite warm. My wife had cut down some weed like shrubs and asked me to bundle up the cut-off branches. Hmm, within no more than five minutes there was at least 30 flying all around my head and driving me to the point of uttering all sorts of profanities until I finally gave up and ran into the cabin.

Do any of you fellows know what this biting insect might be?? It hovers around my wife and I and as soon as you stop slapping at them they will land and bite.

If I can't eradicate them is there a way I can either reduce their numbers or keep them off of us so we can sit outside and enjoy the river?

Edit: These flying insects are present from mid April until?? It is September 15 and they were present this morning when we left. I'm guessing they are around until the first frost. They are smaller than the "no-see-ums" and Black flies found in the Adirondacks, northern NH and much of ME. Could they be Simulium slossonae? Since they are so small I would think their life span is very short and there are multiple broods present throughout most of the year? Thanks.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123September 15th, 2016, 4:06 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
No-see-ums!! Family Ceratopogonidae, often called "biting midges". Their larvae are very thin and almost straight, as opposed to true midge larvae (Chironomidae) which look like little white "C"s. I ran into these one night on the Rifle and kept looking for mosquitoes when my arms started itching. What the hell? Then I took a closer look and could see the little bastards...a spritz of DEET solved the problem, but not before I got bit up pretty good. No wonder they're called "no-see-ums"!


P.S. I haven't been running into any mosquitoes at all lately, one positive side of our summer drought.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchSeptember 15th, 2016, 4:19 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
We are experiencing a extended drought period with virtually no rain. When I am fishing they don't bother me. Yesterday morning I fished streamers from 7 - 9. I had not one insect buzz me while fishing. As soon as I stepped out of the water and up onto the grassy back there were a couple buzzing around my head.

I don't see any evidence of them on the main stem of the Delaware which is only about two miles from the cabin. Are the pine trees where the hoards are living>
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WbranchSeptember 19th, 2016, 8:15 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Thanks Jonathon. I was hoping Taxon would chime in with his sage thoughts on the topic.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TaxonSeptember 19th, 2016, 11:12 pm
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1348
Thanks Jonathon. I was hoping Taxon would chime in with his sage thoughts on the topic.

Hi Matt-

Although my guess would the same as Jonathan's, I tend to shy away from expressing opinions based on a verbal description, as my learning style is highly visual, so a decent macro photo presents me with all the challenge I need.

In any event, my only memorable personal experience with Biting Midges (no-see-ums) was perhaps 25 years ago while raking Dungeness Crabs from the exposed sandy tide flats of China Poot Bay across from Homer, AK. This preceded my having acquired much knowledge of aquatic entomology, but I certainly remember the bite of those vicious little suckers. :-)
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
WbranchSeptember 19th, 2016, 11:38 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I'll try and capture some specimens the next time I go up to the cabin. I have a pretty decent macro capability on my Sony camera. Maybe I will be able to get a couple of pictures.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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