The midge is a small, mosquito-like flying insect. The insects thrive during high humidity, heat, bright light and often near bodies of water. Most midges do not bite but their presence is annoying in gardens. There are a number of control options for deterring and repelling midges, including the environmentally friendly methods of using plants with natural pest repellent properties in the garden. Many herbs have insect repellent properties and serve as culinary ingredients.
Rue (Rue graveolens) is an evergreen herb with metallic blue, alternate, 3- to 5-inch long, feathery foliage. The plant has strong disinfectant and insecticidal properties effective for deterring a wide range of insects including midges, flies, mosquitoes, beetles and slugs. You can also grow rue as an indoor plant. Rue grows to a mature height of up to 3 feet and blooms with yellow to yellow-green, ½-inch flowers during summer. The herb grows well in areas of sun and partial shade and prefers a well-drained, moderately fertile soil.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is among the most bitter herbs and has been in use for centuries as a natural deterrent for nearly all insects, especially small flying insects like midges, fleas, flies and moths. The perennial herb grows up to 4 feet tall and has fern-like, gray-green foliage. The entire plant is covered with fine hair and blooms with small, round clusters of yellow flowers during summer. Plant in areas of full sun to partial shade and in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
DEET is cited by the Ohio State University Extension as a repellent chemical for midges. The synthetic chemical is an active ingredient in a number of insect repellents and is especially effective against biting midges, ticks and mosquitoes that may potentially transmit Lyme disease. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one-third of the population of the United States is expected to use DEET every year. DEET midge repellents are available in the form of lotions, sprays, liquids and impregnated materials like wrist bands.
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