While there are more than 2 dozen species of midges in Klamath, the exact numbers, or even a narrowed rough number, of species are not known. And while all the species have not been identified, the most prolific species, the Chironomus utahensis was actually first identified in 1915 in Utah.
And while there may be a species that is specific to Klamath Falls, this has not yet been determined, as no detailed inventory has been conducted. So, you or someone you know is interested in entomology, there is a great research topic to start with. Hint, Hint.
First, No, the midge was not introduced to Klamath Falls. And, No, it was not a science experiment gone a muck by Oregon Tech or even Klamath Vector Control.
OTI/OIT was founded in 1947. Midges were a huge problem for decades prior.
Midges were a topic among settlers in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Calvary units described their horses being "suffocated by the tiny green bugs."
The earliest record we can find of the midge in Klamath is from August 1876. (Link)
In 1932, there was discussion for eradication of the midges. In the 1960's funding was sought out for midges, but by then, agricultural irrigation created an even worse pest, the mosquito. Therefore, the City's efforts to control midges turned toward controlling the mosquito instead.
In 1938, research began by students of Oregon State College to learn more and find a way to eradicate Midges. Funding was the main reason eradication efforts never happened. A paper was published in the Entomological Society of B.C. (LINK)
This is a common myth. Midges were not introduced to kill mosquitoes. The midge species we have in Klamath have no affect, nor do they even mingle with mosquitoes.
Midge larvae are filter feeders. They live in the muck at the bottom of the shallow sections of the lakes. Midges do not need to go to the surface of the lake for oxygen; they only come to the surface as pupae before they emerge as flying adults. Whereas mosquitoes require life at the surface of the water because they require the oxygen from the surface.
Midges can live in the lake, as they grow up in the muck and the wind breaking the surfase water tension does not affect them. Mosquitoes require surface water tension, thus the windy conditions on the lake cause mosquito larvae to drown.
Midges can enter fields through the irrigation canal systems, and will emerge in the fields that have flood irrigated. Even then, the local midges cannot control mosquitoes at all.