midges toronto

Swarms of midges return to Toronto for their freaky bi-annual breeding frenzy

April is coming to an end, which means you'll soon be seeing the same Justin Timberlake meme posted ad nauseam, along with another unwelcome seasonal event; the return of those pesky swarms of midges invading Toronto's waterfront.

Every spring and fall, these mosquito-looking insects form dark clouds around downtown Toronto — particularly in areas close to Lake Ontario — as they engage in a mass breeding frenzy that would make Nick Cannon look like an abstinent clergyman in comparison.

If that's not gross enough, these swirling clouds of tiny arthropods — a species of non-mosquito Nematoceran Diptera — have a disgusting tendency to end up in your hair, nostrils, lungs, food; just about anything and anyone willing to take their chances enjoying the waterfront during the coming weeks.

The first midges were spotted in mid-April, but it would be a couple more weeks before the complaints began to roll in en masse.

Clouds of midges have sparked further complaints from social media users over the past few days as the insects take part in a disgusting mass orgy of wings, legs, and antennae.

"Glad we have the yearly tradition of having billions of midges flying around in Toronto," says one Twitter user, continuing, "And within Toronto I mean exactly where I walk and whenever I'm outside."

Pedestrians and cyclists will likely want to be on the defensive for the duration of midge mating season, lest they unwittingly ingest a few dozen of these bugs in their travels around the city.

Others find the humour in this bi-annual annoyance, with one commenter asking mayoral hopefuls in the upcoming Toronto by-election how they would clamp down on this mass-clustered menace.

Midges don't stick around for long, dispersing or dying off once their mating frenzy concludes. But that's not the end of the nuisance, as this mass die-off often leaves behind disgusting piles of midge corpses.

If you're hoping to keep the midge swarms from invading your porches, balconies, and other outdoor spaces, experts advise keeping exterior lights off overnight.

Otherwise, anyone sensitive to the mass presence of bugs should probably steer clear of the waterfront for the next couple of weeks.

Lead photo by

Darcy O'Quinn


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