Whether you frequently spend time outdoors or you live in a humid area, you’re probably no stranger to pests like no see ums. These small but bothersome insects deliver extremely itchy bites, leaving many an unsuspecting hiker or camper riddled with irritating red splotches.
You normally encounter these pests outside, but a no see um invasion in your home is possible, especially if you live near a body of water. No see ums can ruin everything from get-togethers to just relaxing in your home. Keep reading to find out what no see ums are, how to identify their bites, and most importantly, how to get them out of your space and keep them out for good.
What Are No See Ums?
No see ums are tiny insects belonging to the Ceratopogonidae family that are infamous for their ability to ruin a nice day at home with irritating bites. Also known as biting midges, these mosquito-like pests feed on the blood of humans and other animals in order to produce eggs. Less than ⅛ inches long, they may be hard to see, but you’ll surely know they’re around when you begin to notice itchy clusters of red dots appearing on your skin.
The life cycle of no see ums consists of 4 stages: eggs, pupae, larvae, and adults. It may take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks for no see ums to reach the adult stage. Once they do, females will fly up to 2 km away from the breeding site in search of food.
Contrary to popular belief, no see ums and sandflies are actually not the same species. Though both are a type of small biting insects, sandflies belong to an entirely different biological group.
Where Are They Found?
Like many other types of insects, no see ums are often found in wet, humid areas or in close proximity to bodies of water. Females typically lay their eggs in moist areas, as the larvae can be both aquatic and terrestrial. So, if you live in a coastal region, you may be particularly at risk for an invasion from no see ums.
No see um bites also occur frequently while adventuring outdoors. Hikers, campers, fishermen, and even joggers might find itchy bites littering any exposed patches of skin, especially when exploring near marshes and other moist climates.
Identifying a No See Um Bite
The diet of no see ums typically consists of flower nectar. However, as we mentioned, female no see ums have to feed on either human or animal blood to gain enough protein to produce eggs. This leads them to bite humans when they have the opportunity. Due to their small size, you may not be able to pinpoint what is biting you at first. This can be an indication that what you’re dealing with is, in fact, no see ums.
No see um bites may look similar to mosquito bites at first, but they are much more severe. When one of these tiny pests bites you, it injects some of its saliva under your skin to draw blood to the surface, making feeding easier. This leaves behind small, itchy red marks that can expand into larger, more uncomfortable welts in the coming days.
You can treat no see um bites the same way you would treat itchy bites from most insects. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water to get rid of any saliva left on your skin. If your bites are swelling, you can apply a cold compress or ice pack to relieve the pain.
You should also try your best to avoid scratching your no see um bites, as it can cause bleeding. Over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or aloe vera may be helpful for reducing itchiness as the bites heal.
How to Get Rid of No See Ums
Though you’re most likely to run into no see ums outdoors, they have been known to invade houses as well. If you have an insect problem, try these solutions to get rid of or repel no see ums quickly.
A great way to chase away no see ums is to control the climate in your home. As we explained, these pests prefer warm, moist areas. With a combination of air conditioning and dehumidifiers, you can make your home as unwelcoming as possible for these creatures by creating an environment with cold temperatures and low humidity. No self-respecting no see ums will want to stick around for long.
Carbon Dioxide Traps
Female no see ums are attracted to the scent of human skin. But what exactly does human skin smell like? Our bodies emit a combination of carbon dioxide, heat, and lactic acid. This is like ringing a dinner bell for no see ums who are immediately alerted that there is blood nearby.
Since females are likely to follow the scent of carbon dioxide, one efficient way to get rid of no see ums is to set carbon dioxide traps. These traps release carbon dioxide into the air to attract no see ums. Once the insects get close enough to the device, they become trapped either by an adhesive or a vacuum.
No See Um Screens
Screenmobile’s custom screens are the perfect solution to prevent no see ums and a variety of other unwanted pests from entering your home in the first place. Our custom screens allow you to prioritize your unique needs by selecting from a variety of fabrics. Our insect control fabric is specially designed to keep out even extremely small pests like no see ums, which may be able to fit through typical mesh screens.
If you need help fighting back against your insect problems, give us a call or fill out our contact form. We will dispatch one of our trained Screenmobile professionals to your house ASAP. Thanks to our handy workshop trailers, all it takes is one visit to get high-quality, custom-made mesh screens installed in your home. Let us help you take back control of your space from pesky pests today!