This species is a small (1.5 - 2 mm), light brown fly that is indistinguishable from many other midges except by an expert entomologist. Adult midges emerge in the spring from pupae that have over-wintered in the soil. Adult flies mate soon after and females search for suitable host plants. Each female can lay about 100 eggs during their one to five day lifespan. The females lay their eggs on the growing point of young plants. Larvae hatch from the eggs after a few days and begin to feed in groups on the growing plant tissue. Larvae complete their development in 7 - 21 days after which they drop to the ground and pupate in the soil. Adults can emerge within two weeks, restarting the cycle. Depending on temperature and length of growing season, there can be up to five overlapping generations of Swede midge per year.