Do Hot Tubs Attract Midges?

A midge is a small type of fly, including some that bite like mosquitos, known to inhabit almost every continent. Midges are attracted to plants, pets, and people. But do hot tubs attract midges?

Here’s what I know from looking into it:

Hot tubs do attract midges, and a variety of insects. But midges are drawn more to the people using the hot tub than the hot tub itself. Specifically, midges are drawn to human’s lactic acid and carbon dioxide, as well as agitated movement.

Many (but not all) types of midges, bite and draw blood just like a mosquito.

That makes people’s bodies sticking up out of the water in a hot tub, a target. And especially when you consider many of us just sit with minimal movement in a hot tub, it’s understandable why they are drawn to us.

So in this article, we’ll look at some proven ways to keep midges out of the area around your hot tub, AND what to do if you already have them.

Let’s get into it!

How do I keep midges out of my hot tub?

You can keep midges out of the area around your hot tub by keeping the water clean and well-balanced. Dirty water is more likely to attract midges than freshly chlorinated water. 

Midges and mosquitoes are entirely different insects.

Not as deadly, but midges can still ruin your barbeque or soak in the tub. In a recent article, I wrote about mosquitoes and how to keep them away from your hot tub, and much of that applies to midges too.

Click on the link to check it out here on my website.

Male and female midges also like sugary food, as this gives them the energy to fly. For this reason, midges are attracted to the nectar in flowers and sap in other plants.

So avoid planting flowers right around your hot tub, especially sweet-smelling ones that will be a natural source for food for midges.

But you can also use citronella candles or citronella oil in a tiki torch to help keep midges at bay.

It’s also interesting to note that like mosquitos, midges tend to bite women more than men, and they tend to bite overweight people more than thinner people due to the lactic acid produced in the body.

Fidgety people also tend to get bitten more too.

What makes a hot tub attract midges?

Midges are attracted to body chemicals such as lactic acid and the carbon dioxide we breathe out. The heat from our bodies entices them too. So it is the people in the hot tub attracting midges and not the hot tub itself.

Although the water will be a good reason to hang around there in the first place, the scent emitted by humans is what attracts most pests.

If you have ever been camping near a creek or a pond, you will know about midges! They love marshy habitats but can also be found in mountainous regions. They see the hot tub as an ideal environment to breed due to the humidity in the air above it.

Actually, the hot, fast-moving water is the last place they will want to lay their eggs.

However, it’s a different story when the hot tub is not in use. The still, cold water is exactly what they want, so make sure your tub is covered at all times and keep the pump running on low.

It’s not just midges and mosquitoes that are attracted to this lifestyle.

You may even find the odd snake sliding around in the grass, trying to find a place to hide, and loving the underbelly of your hot tub!

I covered this in a recent article, and I get into all the steps you can take to make sure snakes don’t make a nest in your hot tub!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What plants get rid of midges?

The main flowering plants midges don’t like include:

  • Lavender
  • Marigolds 
  • Chrysanthemum 
  • Nasturtiums

Midges hate anything lemony, so grow more of these as well:

  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon balm 
  • Lemon thyme
  • Lemon verbena 
  • Citrus trees
  • Lemon cypress

Aside from planting these, there are many other things you can do to keep midges away.

Firstly, make the area as hostile as possible for them. Remove anything that may collect water, dig up any marshy ground, lay paving, and grow more herbs – particularly spiny ones.

Midges hate these:

  • Basil
  • Cat-mint, in fact, all types of mint
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Alliums
  • Chamomile

Citronella is made from distilled oils from lemongrass, and it is possible to make your own if you grow this plant in a tub.

When the plant gets to a decent size, cut off some of the leaves and stems and boil them in olive oil. The result is the essential oil that you can then burn off in a lamp.

It may not be that simple, but this is a hot tub site, and there are plenty of gardening tutorials on YouTube!

What smell do midges hate?

Midges dislike DEET as it interferes with the receptors on the insect’s antennae and mouth-parts that detect lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Additionally, midges hate anything with a lemon smell.

These things, as we mentioned earlier, attract them to humans.

Picaridin repels many insects, including midges, by interfering with the olfactory senses in a similar way to DEET. It is a synthetic product based on the natural compound found in the group of plants that are used to produce black pepper.

One of the best-known products containing picaridin is Skin So Soft by Avon, and you can buy this on Amazon. Just click on the link to check it out.

Like mosquitoes, midges also hate essential oils, and lemon eucalyptus oil is particularly effective at deterring midges.

Other essential oils include catnip, peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender.

Burning essential oils will help deter midges and keep your hot tub smelling nice, but avoid putting most aromatherapy products in the hot tub water, as most are really bad for hot tubs.

Can you spray for midges?

Most sprays that deter midges are designed to be sprayed onto a human’s skin rather than around the perimeter of an area. DEET repellent is the best chemical deterrent, and anything citronella-based will be the best all-natural product.

Citriodiol is one of the best products for repelling midges and other biting flies.

Citriodiol is produced from the oil of the lemon eucalyptus tree, so it is a natural product. It has a very high citronella content, which is why it is more effective than most repellants.

CLICK HERE to check out the best Citriodiol-based insect repellant on Amazon.

DEET is a well-known repellent of mosquitoes and midges, but its use is very limited due to its toxicity, and most products containing DEET have a concentration of 30% or less.

Still, this is an effective bug repellant, and you will find it in spray form.

Highly recommended is Cutter Backwoods Dry insect repellent, which contains 25% DEET. Click on the link to check out the latest prices on Amazon.

It won’t sweat off, so if applied to your head and shoulders, it will work even when in the hot tub.

Did I answer all your concerns about whether hot tubs attract midges?

Yes, midges and mosquitoes like to hang around hot tubs.

Especially when there are 4 or 5 people in there enjoying themselves, giving off lots of CO2, but you don’t have to suffer being bitten. There are lots of things you can do to prevent this.

Incidentally, if you’ve never owned a hot tub but are considering investing in one, then you should check out this recent article on my site—twenty-three essential things to know before deciding which one to buy.

Drop me a line or leave a comment if there is something I missed, and don’t forget to check out the other related articles on my site as well by clicking on the links.


Photo which requires attribution:

Hot Tub Fun by Paul Hamilton is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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