Key message: Two novel midge resistance QTL were mapped to a 4.9-Mb interval on chromosome arm 4AL based on the genetic maps constructed with SNP markers. Abstract: Orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) is a devastating insect pest affecting wheat production. In order to detect OWBM resistance genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) for wheat breeding, two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations were established and used for molecular mapping. A total of seven QTL were detected on chromosomes 2D, 4A, 4D and 7D, respectively, of which positive alleles were all from the resistant parents except for the QTL on 7D. Two stable QTL (QSm.hbau-4A.2-1 and QSm.hbau-4A.2-2) were detected in both populations with the LOD scores ranging from 5.58 to 29.22 under all three environments, and they explained a combined phenotypic variation of 24.4–44.8%. These two novel QTL were mapped to a 4.9-Mb physical interval. The single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers AX-109543456, AX-108942696 and AX-110928325 were closely linked to the QTL and could be used for marker-assisted selection (MAS) for OWBM resistance in wheat breeding programs.