Midge Management Ohio, supported through the Delaware County Board of Commissioners through the Ohio University Voinovich School, aims to find novel and environmentally conscience solutions to control pestiferous midge flies at and around wastewater treatment plants in Delaware County, Ohio. We elucidate visual communication signals (flashing wing beat frequencies) and oviposition foraging cues (polarized light) and investigate how these signals or cues may have evolved. Therefore, by understanding the mechanisms of midge fly communication and resource-foraging, we hope to develop acquired knowledge for future application in wastewater treatment plants; ultimately, helping to put clean water back into the environment!
THE FLY PEST
Midge flies (Family Chironomidae) are tiny, delicate flies that somewhat resemble mosquitos, and are represented by over 20,000 species worldwide. They spend the majority of their life in aquatic organic material as a small larva, AKA “blood worm” (approximately 2 weeks) and, upon emergence as an adult, live for a very short period (1-2 days). Midge flies are often considered pest insects because the adults emerge in large numbers, damaging paint on homes and cars with their feces, or causing allergic reactions in some individuals. When these large numbers of adults die, their bodies accumulate into very large and stinky piles of decomposing flies. Regardless of their pest status, midge flies play a very important role in our ecosystem as important recyclers by eating the aquatic organic material and redistributing it back into the ecosystem. They are also food to other organisms (fish, newts, and other insects) and are important biological indicators for presence of aquatic pollutants, past climatic changes, and forensic assessment of postmortem.
WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANTS
THE PROJECT TEAM
- Dr. Bekka S. Brodie
- Dr. Kelly Johnson
- Anna Pasternak, Research Assistant
- Mitch Duffner, 2018 Undergraduate Research Student
- Amanda Frazier, 2018 Undergraduate Research Student