Noseeums (also spelled No-see-um's or No See Um's) are an irritating flying pest that you may at first believe to be mosquitoes because of their blood-sucking bites, but confusion arises after the bite when the bug is nowhere to be seen. Mosquitoes, even the smaller species, are usually quite visible, but the No see um's small size makes them harder to detect, which is how they earned their name ("I No see um, but I sure do feel um!") In this article, we will share all you need to know about no see ums and the frequently asked questions people who have encountered the pest have. We will also share with you some tips on how to reduce the chances of no see um bites and how to get rid of an infestation that may be bothering you.
The tendency of this pest biting repeatedly to feed their insatiable appetite combined with their small size is enough to drive a person crazy with frustration. Although a no see um is significantly smaller than a mosquito, the no see um's bite is often much more irritating, leaving an itch that lingers for quite some time.
Noseeums come from the Ceratopogonidae family of flying insects which consist of over 4,000 species. They look very similar to gnats and can also be mistaken as a fly. Noseeums measure 1/25th to 1/8th of an inch, with a dark color and disproportionately large wings. Both male and females noseeums like to consume nectar; however, the females--similar to female mosquitoes--feed primarily on blood for the purpose of acquiring proteins so they can fertilize their eggs. Also much like mosquitoes, noseeums are drawn to people because of the CO2 we emit. Noseeum infestations can grow rather large from spring to fall, and as a result, some areas may be too heavily infested to comfortably be inhabited by humans. While noseeums appear to be almost invisible they can become more easily seen when in large swarms of them start to fly around in the air.
Noseeums can be found all over the world but are mainly found in tropical and subtropical areas where the weather is warmer. In the United States, these bugs can be found in coastal states like Florida. Noseeums can ruin an enjoyable day outside with their presence especially in their most active times of the day which is around nightfall and in the early morning hours. Those with outdoor hobbies or jobs like fishermen, hunters, gardeners or agricultural farmers can tell you first hand just how miserable noseeums make their lives with their annoying presence and unrelenting bites. Noseeums like to gather around areas of high humidity or where there is a lot of moisture such as in muddy or swampy regions.
Just one bite from a noseeum can be greatly irritating. A lone bite can turn into a welt based on how your body reacts to the bite and can take about two weeks to fully heal. However, you can make matters worse by scratching the itch, because constant scratching can lead to an infection. Going without scratching an itchy noseeum bite can be tough to do, so it would be wise to apply an anti-itch cream or ointment to relieve comfort and use disinfectant wipes to reduce the chances of infection. If a noseeum bite doesn’t heal after 2 weeks, there is a possibility that you have an allergic reaction to the bite. In this case, it would be best to see a doctor who can look into the problem and present treatment options.
There are about 1400 species of Noseeums that have been discovered worldwide, of which there are about 40-50 species that can transmit harmful diseases. The chances of contracting a disease from a noseeum are slim, according to Purdue University. However, if you are someone who is allergic or has sensitivity issues to bee stings or mosquito bites, chances are you may also be similarly affected by noseeums. After being bitten, no see um bites are known to leave red itchy irritating bumps behind. In rare cases, there is potential that noseeums are able to transmit diseases from their bites. Once a bite becomes infected, that’s a clear indication you need to go see a doctor to see what should be done.
Since these biting flies are so small and their habitat large in scale, it is often hard to get rid of them. Insecticides can vary in results when it comes to killing noseeums but applying the right kind of insecticides can drastically reduce the presence of an infestation or even at best, remove an infestation completely.