Anyone that has traveled the Causeway Bridge, or anywhere else in the area by large bodies of water, recently has seen the unusually large swarms of midges. The bugs can be seen on hundreds of pictures posted on Social Media recently. The midges have become such a local problem that the City of New Orleans sent out a press release. Among the information given, experts said:
- An inspection of the sites where the calls were coming from…. revealed that the swarming insects were in fact non-biting midges, family Chironomidae, a fly that superficially resembles mosquitoes.
- Non-biting midges breed in water just like mosquitoes, but prefer polluted waters that are high in organic material. The larvae grow in the bottom of bodies of water, which may be lakes, ponds, streams, canals or even containers, and are usually red in color and are called bloodworms.
- The adults mate in swarms soon after emerging from the pupae, after which they lay eggs on the water. Because the adults do not feed, they die after only 3 to 5 days.
Although the squished bugs are a nuisance, the good news is the midges are not harmful but, swarms spattering on windshields are problems. Over the weekend (June 15th and June 16th), Causeway received over 50 calls for assistance due to visibility. Causeway MAP and Police assisted commuters by providing water to refill windshield washers. If any commuters find themselves in a similar situation, contact 504-836-3116 (or *CP on most cellular phones) for help.