Kevin Brittingham preparing sample to take back to the lab. Photo by John Lee.

Swarms of flying insects are driving away outdoor enthusiasts across Baltimore County’s eastern shorelines but spraying efforts are making a dent in the population.

Midges, which often look like mosquitos, don’t bite humans but are more like gnats.

County officials said they are seeing progress in their effort to get a handle on the midges’ mayhem.

Troy Cook recently was fishing at Cox’s Point Park on Back River in Essex. He knows all about midge swarms.

“They really come in a swarm,” said Cook. “They like swarm all over you. So when you first get out here, they get on everything like the car. They get in the car.”

Becky Waugh was feeding ducks nearby and shared a recent experience of her own.

“I was sitting over at the picnic table and just sitting there relaxing,” Waugh said. “I think one flew up my nose. And you know you got to keep blowing until you get it out.”

For Sam Weaver, midges are more than a nuisance. He owns Weaver Marine Service on Back River in Essex, which has been a family-run business since 1945. He’s been on Back River his whole life.

“I had a boat when I was five,” Weaver said. “If you gave a kid a boat today at five you’d probably get locked up.”

While the midges have always been a part of life on Back River, Weaver said they’ve gotten much worse in recent years.

“If it warms up for a couple of days you get them,” Weaver said. “They have a thermometer built in them. If it gets too cold they can’t stand it. If it gets too hot they can’t stand it. Any time the temperature is right. We had them in February.”

Read more at WYPR.