A lot of the time having bugs in the garden is something you want to avoid. It’s quite the opposite with aphid midges, though. These helpful little bugs get their name because aphid midge larvae feed on aphids, a dreaded and very common garden pest. In fact, many gardeners buy aphid midge eggs specifically to fight aphid populations. Keep reading to learn more about the aphid midge life cycle and how to identify aphid midge young.
Aphid Predator Midge Identification
Aphid predator midge identification is a little difficult because the bugs usually only come out in the evening. If you do see them, they look somewhat like mosquitoes with long antennae that curl back from their heads. It’s not the adults that eat aphids, however– it’s the larvae.
Aphid midge larvae are small, about 0.118th of an inch (3 mm.) long, and orange. The entire aphid midge life cycle is three to four weeks long. The larval stage, when aphid midge larvae kill and eat aphids, lasts for seven to ten days. During that time, a single larva may kill between 3 and 50 aphids per day.
How to Find Aphid Midge Eggs and Larvae
The easiest way to get aphid midge larvae is to buy them. You can get vermiculite or sand with aphid midge cocoons in it. Simply sprinkle the material over the soil around your infected plant.
Keep the soil moist and warm around 70 degrees F. (21 C.) and within a week and a half, fully formed adults should emerge from the soil to lay their eggs on the affected plants. The eggs will hatch into larvae that will kill your aphids.
In order to be effective, aphid midges need a warm environment and at least 16 hours of light per day. With ideal conditions, the aphid midge life cycle should continue with your larvae dropping to the soil to pupate into a new round of egg-laying adults.
Release them three times (once a week) in the spring to establish a good population.