All About Noseeums and How To Get Rid of Them
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.
So what are No see ums exactly?
No see ums are a biting midge or a very tiny gnat which can hardly be seen by the naked eye. While they may be difficult to see clearly, chances are, you will most certainly feel this bug in the form of their terribly itchy and irritating bites which cannot be ignored.
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.
Origin of No see ums
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.
Where Are No See Ums Found?
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.
How long does the bite of a no see um last?
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.
Do no see ums carry diseases?
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.
How can you Reduce Chances of Getting Bitten By Noseeums?
Eliminate areas where there is standing water.
Water sources are an essential component of a noseeums life cycle. Female noseeums like to lay their eggs—similar to mosquitoes—on standing water surfaces and then these eggs hatch and the larvae climb out. Such areas where this is common are on streams or lakes or even moist soil. While not much can be done when noseeums are breeding on natural bodies of water, you can work to reduce areas of standing or stagnant water around your home and make sure areas are properly drained.
Some common places to keep an eye out for and drain regularly are puddles around your home, birdbaths, fountains, tires and other items that can collect water, especially after rainfall.
Put screens on your doors and windows.
Since noseeums are so tiny, it can be quite easy for them to sneak through a point of entry and make their way indoors. Use screens or netting designed with a much smaller mesh to prevent female noseeums or at least make it tougher for them to find entry into your home. Be sure to place screens on patios, doors and windows and monitor them regularly so they are in good condition. While it is not fool-proof, taking such a proactive approach can only help your chances of reducing noseeum outbreaks into your home and lessen the chances of bites.
Use Insect Repellants to Prevent Bites
Repellants can be very convenient when it comes to deterring noseeums from your presence or property. Rub creams or spray repellent containing DEET, for example, to make yourself unappetizing to female noseeums. Our Outdoor Mosquito Fogger will help to eliminate mossquitoes and No-See-Ums, and other biting insects for up to 8 hours.
Blow them Away With Fans
If you’re dealing with noseeums, you’re most likely also dealing with heat and humidity. If that is the case, a fan may help not only cool you off but can also blow away noseeums, reducing the chances of their bites. Noseeums aren’t the greatest fliers, so by powering on a strong ceiling fan or oscillating fans, you will be able to keep them away.
Turn out the Lights
Female noseeum bugs are attracted by light so turn off the lights a bit earlier than usual in the evening time. You’ll save a bit on your electricity bill and best of all avoid those biting noseeums!
Kill Noseeums with Insecticides
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.
How To Get Rid of Noseeums
So you’ve learned enough and now just want those pesky noseeums gone. A successful noseeum elimination program begins with cleaning up and eliminating their preferred type of breeding site. As mentioned earlier, noseeums like to breed in moist areas, including salt marshes, in wet mud, plant debris and water collections within trees.
Cleaning up these sites will eliminate developing pests, as well as future population growth. If sites cannot be cleaned entirely, environmentally safe products can be applied to stop the development and limit the population size.
After a thorough clean up, use contact insecticides, aerosols and fly lights to effectively control the noseeum infestations. Indoors, accidental noseeums who made the mistake of wandering inside can be knocked down with a contact aerosol labeled for noseeum control.
Spraying insecticides on walls and ceilings near light fixtures will help as well since the noseeums are attracted by the light in these areas. Ensure that entry points are sealed, and noseeums will be unlikely to be an inside issue.
Using a repellent or/and a perimeter treatment can also be helpful, and will aid in controlling other insect problems in and around your property as well, not just noseeums.