How to get rid of midges – 5 ways to banish the pesky pests from your garden

Experts reveal how to solve midges infestations and stop the pests from coming into your outdoor space

Midges swarm
(Image credit: Getty Images/3DFOX)

If you’ve ever walked through a swarm of midges, you’ll know that it’s not a pleasant experience as they get into your mouth (and everywhere else they can make their way to) and you end up with tiny little red bites. So it’s an unwelcome sight to spot them in your own garden. But thankfully, there are some ways how to get rid of midges outside.

Despite midges being little flies from various non-mosquito families, many methods how to get rid of mosquitoes actually work on midges, too, as they don’t like similar things – from natural remedies to more invasive solutions.

So if you’re currently dealing with a midges issue in your outdoor space, this is what our experts recommend you do about it so that you can relax in your garden in peace again. Once the weather gets more favourable that is.

A garden with a water feature and growing hydrangeas

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

How to get rid of midges outside

One of the keys to how to get rid of these flies is getting to know what they do and do not like, both of which are widely known. You can then use that information to either deter them, trap them or avoid having those things around to avoid attracting them.

‘There are many ways to get rid of midges in the garden,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening expert. ‘Generally, I’d advise not to use insecticides as a first choice, because they are harmful to the environment. It’s better to try natural methods first and see if they provide you with the desired results.’

He also points out that acting quickly is crucial to success. ‘It’ll also be important to treat the problem as soon as possible because they reproduce extremely quickly and if you allow them to stay for too long, it’ll get harder to get rid of them.’

So without further ado, this is what you can do to get rid of midges.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

1. Use essential oils

A garden table with a flowering plant and two burning candles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

One of the easiest and most natural ways to deter midges is with the best home fragrance, utilising scents that they don’t like through diffusers with essential oils.

‘Although people recommend citronella candles for keeping bugs such as midges away the scent is not always strong enough to repel them,’ says Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at, the UK’s leading trades matching site. ‘A better idea is to use essential oils in a diffuser. Citronella, lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint oil are the most effective.’

Fiona Jenkins
Fiona Jenkins

Fiona Jenkins is a UK-based landscaper with over twenty five years of experience in the industry. As a gardening expert for MyJobQuote, one of the UK's top trades-matching sites, Fiona offers her expert advice to MyJobQuote's tradespeople and homeowners, and has also been featured as a gardening expert for a range of reputable publications.

2. Devise a midges trap

A patio with a garden furniture set and planted palm trees

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alasdair McIntosh)

On the other hand, you can also use the smells that midges are attracted to and trap them this way.

‘You can make a midges trap easily by placing a bottle or a jar without the lid out and filling it with beer or some syrup to attract the midges. They’ll fall into the liquid and drown. You can also try filling up the vessel with cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid,’ Petar advises.

3. Remove sources of stagnant water

A garden pond with lily pads

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annaick Guitteny)

Prevention is the best cure. So making sure that you don’t accidentally create the perfect conditions for midges is going to be the best way to stop them from coming into your garden.

‘The best method to get rid of midges outdoors, however, will be preventing them from appearing in the first place. Make sure there’s no stagnant water in your garden and strong and unpleasant smells by covering your garbage cans and also that your garden is well-maintained and tidy,’ Petar says.

As beautiful as garden ponds and other water feature ideas are, midges love moisture and humid conditions which is why eliminating these features is going to lower the risk of midges infestation.

4. Use repellent sprays

‘Unfortunately, midges have been around for millions of years and they’re not going anywhere soon. The best thing you can do is learn how best to avoid them. Insect repellants will also help to keep them at bay,’ Fiona says.

And one thing that’s going to help you do that is a repellent spray because the last thing you want is getting covered in midges bites.

‘Once you attract a few midges and they start biting you, they begin to release a pheromone which attracts other midges until you end up with a large swarm,’ Fiona adds.

A patio with a lit fire pit and a cosy outdoor chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

6. Smoke bomb

If these milder and preventative measures don’t end up bearing any fruit and the issue only keeps getting bigger, you might need to pull out the big guns.

‘For larger infestations, you’ll likely need to use smoke bombs,’ Petar says.

Just like mosquitoes, midges don’t like smoke so a smoke bomb will help to move them along out of your garden.


What smell do midges hate?

‘The most effective method for getting rid of midgets using smells they dislike,’ Petar says.

And luckily there are several essential oil smells that you can use that will deter them. ‘Midges do not like the smell of citronella, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint. And they don’t like smoke,’ Fiona says.

Midges swarm

(Image credit: Getty Images/Ninika)

Why are there so many midges outside my house?

There are several reasons why midges might want to set up camp in your garden or outside your house. But it usually means that the conditions in your outdoor space are ideal for their habitat.

‘Midges typically like to gather around water sources, such as ponds and marshes. One of the reasons they may appear in your garden is because there’s stagnant water in it. For example, if you have a pond, wet mud or a very slow-moving stream, they’ll likely be around it. Their food source is also dead leaves, twigs, dried flowers and rotten fruit so to prevent them from appearing, you’ll need to remove such things from your outdoor space,’ Petar recommends.

Hopefully, these tips will keep midges at bay.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.