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The two main types of midges are generally divided into biting midges (family Ceratopogonidae) that suck blood and non-biting midges (family Chironomidae). The biting midges are commonly referred to as No See Ums. The non-biting midges are many times referred to as gnats and are sometimes mistaken for mosquitoes.

One of the most damaging midges is the Sorghum midge found in the southern United States. The adult sorghum midge is a 1.3-mm-long, fragile-looking, orange-red fly, with a yellow head, brown antennae and legs, and gray membranous wings. They only live one day as an adult but each female lays about 50 yellowish-white eggs between the glumes of flowering spikelets of sorghum. Eggs are 0.1 to 0.4 mm long and hatch in two to three days. Initially, larvae are colorless, but, when fully grown, are dark orange. Larvae complete development in nine to eleven days and pupate between the glumes of the spikelet. Shortly before adult emergence, the pupa moves upward until three-fourths the pupa protrudes between the glumes at the tip of the spikelet. A generation is completed in fourteen to sixteen days. The insect's rapid development permits multiple generations during a season and results in high infestation levels when sorghum flowering is extended by a range of planting dates or sorghum maturities. They overwinter as larvae in cocoons in spikelets of host grasses.

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