So are the midges worse this year than usual?

Midges only live about a week, and come up out of the lake to breed. (Source: WOIO)
Midges only live about a week, and come up out of the lake to breed. (Source: WOIO)

WILLOWICK, OH (WOIO) - If you've been anywhere near Lake Erie, you know they're here. Thankfully midges don't bite, but that doesn't mean they're any fun to be around.

They may be tiny, but when the midges come out in the spring you can't miss them if you live or work near the lake.

"They're very bothersome, they're very pesky," said Eastlake resident Barbara Showda.

Showda walks her dog near Lakefront Lodge in Willowick every day.

"They're just annoying. When I was walking around here before, there were just swarms of them, they followed me as I walked," she said.

Andy Avram is an interpretive naturalist at Lake MetroParks. He says midges aren't harmful.

"They live as larvae at the bottom of the lake and this time of year when the water hits a certain temperature they rise up and do their breeding activity," he said.

This type of fly only lives for around one week, so luckily you won't have to put up with them for long.

We might not be fans of midges, but other animals are.

"Fish will eat them as they're coming up over the water, other insects will eat them, birds will eat them so they provide an important food source for a lot of different animals out there," Avram said.

Sometimes you'll see what looks like smoke over the lake as the midges swarm together to lay their eggs.

Cleveland 19 asked Avram if this roller coaster weather has affected them at all.

"So even if we have huge temperature swings in the air, the lake stays constant, but once it reaches a certain temperature it's the trigger point for the midges to turn into adults and do their breeding," he said.

So are the midges worse this year than usual?

"This is about average, I grew up by the lake and every single year we had them all over our house and this year is really no different, it's just timing," Avram said.

There's really no way to keep midges off of you except for staying away from Lake Erie right now. Sometimes the swarms over the lake are so huge, Meteorologist Jeff Tanchak says you can see them on the radar.

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