It can be incredibly annoying to have your skin marked by red welts that won’t stop itching. What’s even worse is not knowing why. Chances are, you’ve been bitten by no see ums. They are little pests that leave a nasty bite that persist for quite a while.
No see ums can be quite the nuisance if left to breed near living areas, so you’ll need to figure out how to control their presence. In this article, you can learn all about these flies and how you can ensure that they leave you alone.
What Are No See Ums?
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Commonly known as biting midges, Ceratopogodinae or no-see-ums are present in all parts of the world except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
About 1-3 mm in length, no see ums are grey in color and are called so because they are quite undetectable to the common eye till they feed.
They usually feed on nectar, but the female no see um also derives its nutrients, specifically protein, from the blood of humans and other vertebrates. This helps with their egg-laying process. Their lifespan is around 2-7 weeks.
Why Do I Have No See Ums in The House?
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Usually, no see ums don’t bother with houses, but they are attracted to human odor, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and moisture.
Their breeding typically happens in damp mud/soil and decaying vegetation. So, if you have a backyard garden, fountains, ponds, or birdbaths, you might be attracting no see ums.
They also occupy houses if there’s moisture due to rain in damp crawl spaces or house plants and excessive unattended clutter.
What Do No See Um Bites Look Like?
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These gnats have well-developed mouths that can tear through your skin and feed on your blood.
First, these bites start off as clusters of tiny red marks all over your skin. This is after a female no see um injects its saliva into your skin, leading to your blood to pool right under your skin’s surface.
These marks appear only hours to days after you’ve been bitten and develop into red welts that are 1–2 inches in diameter. The welts can even trigger allergic reactions.
Their bites can be quite painful, leading to incredible itchy lesions and hives all over your body. You usually find them on exposed skin on your body, like your forearms and legs.
Treatment for No See Ums Bites
Caring for your skin after being bitten by no see ums involves the following treatments:
#1. Avoid Further Scratching
Lynn Kimsey, an entomology professor at UC Davis, cautions individuals bitten by no see ums to refrain from scratching the area, as it could lead to prolonged sores, infections, and scarring.
#2. Use Deodorants
The aluminum chloride that is present in deodorant sticks can help extract the moisture and toxins from your bite, thus easing your itching considerably.
#3. Apply Essential Oils on The Bite Areas
Mixing essential oils like peppermint and lavender with carrier oils such as sweet almond and jojoba or with aloe vera gel and applying it to your skin is known to reduce the swelling and itching.
#4. Rubbing Alcohol
Dab the bitten area with rubbing alcohol. Along with cooling your skin, it also prevents infections.
#5. Baking Soda Paste
A paste of baking soda and warm water can be easily made at home and applied to your skin. It will neutralize the pH balance of your skin and stave off infections.
How Can I Prevent No See Um Bites?
No-see-ums can get notorious with their infestations. But you can avoid being bitten by these insects by following a few easy suggestions:
#1. Lower The Temperature
If you’re worried about biting midges invading your home, you can simply turn on the air conditioner in your house or set the thermostat to 65-70 ℉.
As long as there is cold air circulating in the room, no see ums will avoid the area. You could also use dehumidifiers in case your atmosphere has high humidity levels.
#2. Wear Fully Covering Clothes
It may not be necessary to cover yourself 24/7, unless you’ve got an infestation in your home. But when you’re outside, you can avoid being bitten by no see ums by wearing clothes that cover your limbs.
Don’t forget to cover up your feet if you’re around infested waters or boggy areas.
#3. Install Mesh Screens
It’s common practice to install insect-repelling mesh on your windows and doors to ensure that insects don’t get through.
Without disrupting the airflow into your house, mesh screening will continue to keep no see ums and other insects from entering your home. However, keep an eye out for any tears or holes, as the gnats can find their way in if you don’t repair/replace the mesh promptly.
#4. Place Pest Traps
You can place carbon dioxide luring traps at the entrances of your houses. After you turn them on, they emit a stream of CO2 and no see ums will navigate towards the gas.
When they’re close to the trap, the vacuum nozzle sucks in the flies and traps them; the gnats begin to gradually dehydrate and pass away. You can purchase these traps online or from any home or garden maintenance store.
3 Tips to Control No See Ums
To keep your immediate vicinity free of no see ums, you may want to make use of the following suggestions:
#1. Proper Lawn Maintenance
Make sure that the gutters and ponds or fountains in your lawn and backyard are routinely cleaned. Fill potential hotspots with gravel, sand, or other high-drainage materials.
#2. Turn Off Porch Lights at Night
When porch lights are left on, you end up attracting a legion of pests that won’t hesitate to explore light-filled spaces. Make sure your blinds are down as well, so your house isn’t a beacon to no see ums.
#3. Use Pesticides With DEET
The best and quickest course of action against no see um or their larvae is to spray them with a chemical pesticide. The usual pest repellents aren’t too effective in keeping them away.
A pesticide spray with diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin will help kill any infestation right away.
However, it may not be best to use these chemicals generously inside your house, as accidental consumption is extremely harmful to humans and pets alike. You may want to contact pest control or insect terminators if the infestation is widespread and serious.
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