of no see umsNo See Ums are tiny flies, biting midges to be exact, that prove to be some of the most annoying pests imaginable. They’re also referred to as sandflies. No see ums are members of a family of flies called Ceratopogonidae which includes more than 4,000 species throughout the world.

Measuring between 1-3mm long, they are much smaller than mosquitoes but far more vicious in many respects. Like mosquitoes, they suck human blood but their bites usually are more painful leaving itchy, red welts or worse, lesions, if you have an allergic reaction.

How to Identify No See Ums

The fact that these midges are so small makes it very hard to identify them. Most victims of their bite, usually don’t even notice them until it’s too late when only the stark evidence of their bloodsucking nature is revealed through skin welts and legions.

But knowing what to look for and where can help you be prepared to prevent these bites from

occurring in the first place. For instance, these minute flies are usually gray with dark-pattered wings. Like mosquitoes, they turn reddish as they bellied engorge with blood.

A victim of a midge’s bite may notice a spot of blood on the site of the bite – a spot of blood which is, in fact, the midge’s bloated body at a glance.

Look out for Female Midges 

Another important thing to understand is the pattern of behavior which the female flies exhibit. For instance, only female no see ums suck human blood!

Unlike their male counterpart that feeds solely on nectar, female no see ums suck blood from humans as well as other species to acquire protein for the development of their eggs. The larvae take as much as a year to develop but could take only weeks if the environment and food supply are optimal. For this reason, it’s very important you set up preventative measures to get rid of no see ums.

How to Repel No See Ums

1. Get Rid Of Unsealed Water Contains

Water sources are a vital part of a no see ums life cycle. Female midges lay on surfaces containing moisture and larvae develop in aquatic areas such as streams or lakes or even moist soil. Their habitat largely depends on where you live but note they are opportunistic in nature and will make do with what your surroundings provide.

For this reason, remove or seal water containers. Manage any standing water that may be present in your yard, for instance in puddles, fountains, tires or so forth.

2. Use No See Um Screens

Since these no see ums are extremely tiny, regular mosquito screens will not do you justice. Use screens or netting designed with smaller mesh to prevent female no see ums from entering your home. Be sure to place screens on patio, doors and windows and check them regularly to verify they are in good condition.

3. Use Repellants to Prevent Bites

Repel Insect Repellent Mosquito Wipes 30% DEET

Repellent wipes for mosquitoes and no see ums – 30% DEET. Check the price on Amazon

Repellants can be very useful when it comes to preventing no see ums and biting insects from biting. Rub or spray repellents containing DEET, for instance, to make yourself unappealing to female midges. If, however, you are allergic to repellents with DEET, you can give DEET-free repellents a try. These repellents are made with natural substances such as eucalyptus and lemon. They are effective and great alternatives for users who are allergic to DEET.

4. Kill No See Ums with Insecticides

Insecticides have proven to have varying degrees of success when it comes to killing no see ums. Since these biting flies are so small and their habitat large in scale, it is often hard to get rid of them. However, insecticides, when used with caution, can help in reducing the effects of an infestation. The EcoRaider, is one such insecticide that has proven effective when combatting no see ums and mosquitoes. Not only does the EcoRaider kills no see ums adults and larvae, but it’s natural and non-toxic. That simply means that it’s children and pet safe and can be used indoors and outdoors. Unlike most flying insect killers, EcoRaider is pleasing to smell and doesn’t stain.

5. Turn on Fans

Crank up those fans to full speed. Since no see ums are not strong fliers, ceiling or standing fans will help keep them away. This is particularly important at nights when one of the peskiest midges, the Culicoides species, feed.

6. Switch off Lights

The females of the Culicodes species are also attracted to light so beware. Don’t be afraid to turn off the lights a bit earlier than usual. You’ll save a bit on your energy bill and best of all avoid those biting midges!

7. Wear Clothes with Long Sleeves

Long sleeves and jeans will protect your skin from exposure, especially when you go outdoors. Also, wear socks to protect your feet from those itchy bites.

You don’t have to see ‘em to get rid of no see ums! Though they are difficult to totally eradicate, simple steps like the ones mentioned above can help you avoid getting bitten.

Treatments for No See Um Bites

It’s highly improbable to completely avoid being bitten by no see ums. When you do get bitten, applying the appropriate treatment is crucial to reducing uneasiness and discomfort. After being bitten, no see ums tend to leave red, itchy bumps behind. If you have an allergic reaction, you might

be left with hives or rashes on the skin. This can be an awful experience!

The ideal treatment to apply to bitten areas includes topical steroid or antihistamine taken orally. These treatments will aid in removing itchiness, and inflammation. In some instances, no see um bites might take up to a week to disappear; however, in common cases, give it a few days. It’s a rare occurrence that no see ums are able to transmit diseases from their bites; however, it’s quite feasible. Once a bite becomes infected, that’s a clear indication you need the counsel of a physician.


How to Get Rid of No See Ums [VIDEO]

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  1. Nicki 6:35 AM 20 May 2016

    I tend to wear long clothing to avoid being bitten by no see ums. However, that doesn’t seem to work. What else can I do?

    • 6:42 AM 21 May 2016

      That must be frustrating for you. Why not use a double method to avoid being bitten? Use a no see um repellent that contains DEET and continue wearing those long clothing.

      • Chad Rubel 7:50 AM 8 June 2017

        Thanks love, great advice. Can you recommend a successful insecticide for me to use on my yard??

        • 5:34 AM 9 June 2017

          Hey Chad,

          Thank you for stopping by. There are several products on the market used for getting rid of no see ums, whether for killing or repelling.

          Note: Applications of insecticides: While this type of application may kill no see ums active on a given night or day, they will reoccur, as they are dispersing from their larval habitat. For you to get some relief, the insecticide must be applied daily.
          “Fogging” using traditional adulticides can provide temporary relief, but once the chemical droplets have settled,no see ums can reinfest the treated area.

          Residual surface spray adulticides (e.g. containing bifenthrin or permethrin) can be applied to external surfaces (walls, shade-cloth awnings, insect screens, vegetation) around houses and public buildings to knock down resting midges. Some residual products can provide control of midges for up to six weeks, depending on environmental conditions.
          Repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) typically used as mosquito repellents are also labeled for use against no-see-ums.

  2. Sasha 7:46 AM 6 June 2016

    There’s some very good information in this article. I will give them a go when I go outdoors, especially at nights.

    • 2:49 AM 10 June 2016

      Thanks! Yes, it’s the best course to prevent rather than having to cure.

  3. Rob 6:53 AM 5 July 2016

    I had a cousin who had issues with no see ums. He’d be bitten all over until he decided to take actions. They bit him mostly in his face, hands and legs. It was horrific. You’d see small welts all over his skin. Luckily, they actually make repellent in stores so he started using that. It worked.

    • 6:54 AM 5 July 2016

      Your cousin did himself a good thing! It’s not easy contending with their bites. Mosquitoes are just as bad.

  4. George 11:56 AM 25 July 2016

    In Los Angeles suburbs, I never had no see ums, or at least never got bitten before, until this year. Now afraid to go in backyard for fear of being bitten. I seem to get bites whenever I go on my grass, about a 30 ft x 10 ft area. Hoping to find a way to completely eradicate them so the family can enjoy a bbq or setting up a kiddie pool. I would hate for my children to get bitten up like I did, more than 40 bites in about ten minutes of exposure.

    Perhaps if we could learn all the details about their life cycle and habitats we could more effectively apply insecticides to eradicate them. For now, I’m wondering if I should just broadly spray the whole backyard every other day for a week.

    • 2:51 PM 26 July 2016

      Hey George,

      I’m sorry you had to go through that! What a horrible experience! It’s good you don’t want that for your family. Yes, I do agree with you, learning about the cycle and behavior of no see ums is important in knowing how to proceed and deal with them. On the matter of eradicating them, personally, I would use repellents but also spray the entire backyard before my family is ready to enjoy it. That should keep their numbers at bay. All the best!

  5. Linda 11:41 AM 27 July 2016

    Using dryer sheets or other citrus scented hand wipes are much safer to use than DEET. Excessive use of DEET containing products has been found to cause cancer. I take an unused wipe and rub it on all skin that will be exposed uncovered. Then I take the wipe and put in my clothing around my waist or neck, inside the top of my socks. Most of all I take a shower immediately when I come inside. I have also found using a pet bed insect spray in my bed keeps them out of my bed when no see ums invaded my home. In the summertime when I change the sheets, I spray some on the mattress pad before making the bed. I figure if it is safe for pets, then it should be safe for me.

    • Chad Rubel 7:53 AM 8 June 2017

      Haha, that has to be a CA study– EVERYTHING causes cancer out there lol.

  6. lizz 12:50 AM 6 December 2016

    This article is a load of crock. I have tried everything in this article and nothing works. I have had the unfortunate experience of having an allergic reaction with huge welts on my face, thighs, arms. Antibiotics and steroid cream had to taken. My daughter fortunately no reaction. These tips dont waist your time they dont work.

    • 4:25 AM 8 December 2016

      Hi Lizz,

      We are terribly sorry about your experience. Please bear in mind that what works for someone else, might not necessarily work for you.
      There are various other methods you could try to get rid of no see ums, but if we were to list them here, we would still be listing.
      To add, please ensure to know what products you can use on your skin and those you cannot. Most products I use for pest control does not affect me, but it may affect you. Knowing your build up is crucial.

      Thank you for stopping by and once more, we are truly sorry for what you went through.
      Also remember that consistency is important. Using those methods once won’t make things better.

    • Mary Lee 11:32 AM 3 June 2017

      Hi, I agree. I’ve tried dryer sheet, deet spray, tea tree oil etc. I’m tired. I can’t leave the house and walk to the car without getting bite. I live in Raleigh N.C. near a bridge that has water running under it. I assume that’s where my problem lies. I am planning to move back in with an old boyfriend just to get away from these no-see-ums. Please help

      • 10:53 AM 5 June 2017

        You’re definitely correct. The water source is a huge issue. More will be needed to deal with the problem. Simple repellents won’t work, especially when you reside near a water source.

  7. Jacinda Gispanski 6:21 AM 27 January 2017

    Do “no see ums” harbor in fabrics? My mother’s senior apartment seems to be infested with these little biting midges that can’t be seen, but we know they are there because she has killed a couple of them. Can they be hiding in the closets or in carpet? We have steam cleaned, exterminated, fogged, bought a new strong vacuum and they are still biting her and she is allergic to the bites. Also, she has COPD and bug sprays really bother her. I bought her some organic “No See Um” repellent that contains citronella oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and some other extracts. It seems to help. She just had a knee replacement and we don’t want them to cause an infection. HELP??????

    • 2:24 PM 29 January 2017

      After taking all those precautions, it’s truly sad to know they keep coming back. I really do hope things work out for the better. You can find no see ums anywhere. That no see um treatment you performed, was that both outdoors and indoors? If it rains a lot in your area or you’re close to some form of lake or canal, you might have a serious issue on hand. If you haven’t treated outdoors, you should look into that. Also, if your mom usually keeps her living space highly ventilated and opened at odd hours, she might need to stop doing that. Leaving doors and windows opened could be an issue since she’ll be inviting no see ums in. You can also find QUALITY, (not cheap) sandalwood oils and wear it. Add a few drops in the final rinse of your laundry. Also, burn quality sandalwood incense in your home and outside on patio. No see ums do like the scent. I hope that helps. All the best.

  8. Denise Anthony 2:43 PM 13 February 2017

    How do you get no see ums out of your clothes and out of bed? I went on a trip to DR >5yrs ago and brought them back. I’ve washed clothes in hot water with Borax and Arm&Hammer (someone recommended) to no avail..any suggestions – I’ve trashed a lot of clothes just to avoid being bit, and purchased a new mattress and they returned..any suggestion?

    • 9:54 AM 15 February 2017

      Whoai! I’ve never heard anything like this before. Did you ever get in touch in person with an exterminator? Maybe you are dealing with something else? Here’s some info that will hopefully help with your problem.

  9. John 7:08 PM 5 April 2017

    None of this works. Not at all. Not even indoors. Would love to have a REAL cure for these. Multiple exterminators none helped at all.

  10. Chrissy 9:53 PM 6 May 2017

    Apparently I’m allergic to noseeums they look like huge hives or pimples definitely if you sweat they will attack and I do have nights where I sweat I’m at that age you know so along with all the other uncomfortable things with menopause I now have noseeums biting me and I’m allergic to them and itching like crazy but I found something that helps as they come into my home on my pets… I found out for myself before reading this they are attracted to light I’d be in my cell phone playing a game or looking something up and they would be in my face they go up your nose and your eyes and your mouth I actually had them go through my nose to the back of my throat I didn’t realize this they must have done it when I was sleeping I could barely swallow I probably should have gone to the hospital cuz my throat is swelled up so much that it was hard to breathe for a while they were biting my throat I know it’s disgusting anyway tired of waking up that way spraying my room wearing a hoodie I live in Florida I don’t really want to wear a hoodie over my head and zipped up to my neck when I sleep with a blanket over me just so I don’t get attacked in my sleep or even while I’m awake anyway what I’m trying to say is they are attracted to as I said light sweat even if you’re nervous you something about that or stressed out they’re attracted to that too anyway I was using glass cleaner for a while spraying wherever it was I was sitting and then I realized they don’t like anything with alcohol in it I used for Breeze everywhere more than usual and I figured I’ll roll the dice and I use my Victoria’s Secret body spray a lot of it on my bed my pillows wherever they were biting me in the house and sprayed extra extra on me I haven’t gotten anybody since ice melts you pretty I guess LOL I just wanted to share that with everyone especially the people that have an allergic reaction I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life if I learn anything else I’ll post it Chrissy

  11. Marolyn Seanor 4:31 PM 10 June 2017

    I live in Florida and after a rain we get loads of mosquitos….I’ve been able to keep them away from my doors but I have the no seeums in my Fl Room….I’ve checked all windows and doors (closed tight) and anywhere they come in, to no avail. I may be watching TV and feel one biting me…when I look, nothing there…and when I feel a bite I smack….nothing there. They are only in this one room….I have been applying my natural eucalyptus/lemon oil repellant on my arms and legs when I’m there, but I hate to get out of the shower (no fragrance products) and use this. They don’t bite me when I wear my repellant but why shower, huh? No water in this room but windows look out on backyard and this is our rainy season.

  12. Marolyn Seanor 4:39 PM 10 June 2017

    I just put a dish of vinegar/dishwashing detergent 1/2 and 1/2 on my counter which separates my kitchen from the Fl Room….I will try anything to get rid of them. HELP….my “bug man” said he can only spray for mosquitoes in the house but he doesn’t recommend it…..he uses all natural things….no chemicals inside my home.

  13. Karen 4:14 PM 12 June 2017

    I trapped a moving red blotch in a piece of scotch tape. I figured it was some kind of flea and that bathing would help. Obviously not. I went to the hospital because…well, it’s horrific to be covered in itchy bugs and not know what to do about it. The nurse told me it was chiggers and sent me home with a bill. It was most certainly and exactly a no-see-um. I find them crawling on me whenever we work in the yard. My arm will burn. I scratch and my fingers burn. Every now and then, dh wears his mowing clothes through the house and these bugs attack me more than anyone else. I have to wash all bedding and wait for them to move on.

    • 3:12 PM 14 June 2017

      If they are red and you mostly pick them up on the lawn, it sounds more like chiggers. They are especially active during this period.

  14. stephen Wright 10:05 PM 15 June 2017

    I find that the only remedy for me (I haven’t tried anything by mouth) is to apply a bit of antibiotic to a band aid and cover the bite. Sometimes I end up with fifteen or so bandaids, but they prevent me from bothering the bites, and their itch fades after awhile. Samatha? I love your patience with angry folk. Right on.

    • 12:49 PM 16 June 2017

      Yes, do anything that helps! It’s tempting to scratch those bites but doing so will only worsen the situation. Thank you, Stephen. I try very hard to deal with these situations. A meek answer can break a bone. Thanks for stopping by.