What are no see ums?
No see ums belong to a family of flies known as Ceratopogonidae, and are commonly known as biting midges. They are very tine small in size and hardly visible, but they make their presence felt through their bites.
Their whole family includes over 5000 species and is found everywhere barring the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. Also more than 600 of their species are found in the U.S alone.
Only the female no see ums bite humans and suck blood to draw proteins for their eggs, which causes immense pain to that person.
Their bites possess a tremendous itchy tendency, and can turn out to be infectious if not treated properly.
What do no see ums bites look like?
- Female no see ums inject their saliva under the skin, causing blood to pool near the skin’s surface. Hence a small red spot develops on the skin.
- No see ums bites are accompanied with pain and after several hours or sometimes days, one can notice a cluster of red dots or large welts on the skin. This cluster of red dots, along with the itchy tendency of the bitten regions confirms that the bites are of no see ums and not mosquitoes.
- The no see um bites often transform into larger discolored areas up to 2 inches in diameter.
Where do no see ums come from?
- Most no see ums come from their breeding grounds which include lakes, ponds, tree-holes, moist soil, and plants that can retain pockets of water.
- Although the breeding grounds of no see ums differ by species, they mostly prefer wet regions including wet seashore sands.
- It is in such wet regions that the female no see ums lay their eggs, which are usually 400 or more at a time, thus giving birth to new insects that originate from such places.
- Other than moist places, the larvae of no see ums can also survive on rotten fruits.
How long do no see ums live?
- No see ums after hatching from their eggs undergo four instars during the larval stage which may last from a fortnight to a year, counting on environmental conditions, species of fly, and the region.
- This stage is followed by the pupal stage that lasts from 2 to 3 days, followed by their adulthood.
- The final typical lifespan of an adult no see um is about 2 to 7 weeks.
How to get rid of no see ums naturally?
Having a good understanding of no see ums often enables us to use some natural methods to prevent them. And these are those methods:
How to trap no see ums with a mixture of vinegar and soap
- Trapping no see ums is one of the best methods to prevent them. Hence one should fill a small bowl with distilled white or apple cider vinegar, and then squeeze in a few drops of liquid dish detergent.
- This trap should be set somewhere open like near the windows, or in the balcony so that the passing no see ums will be drawn towards the vinegar and get stuck on the slippery soap liquid.
- This trap is extremely effective as the dish soaps reduce the surface tension of the vinegar, thereby making it impossible for the insects to escape once they are trapped inside.
- Hence the above arrangement when placed in open places can act as a really good insect repellent.
Other than using this natural insect repellent, one must also ensure that the areas near and inside the house do not contain any stagnant open-water facility that provides the no see ums a breeding ground. Hence following this along with the above-mentioned natural technique, one can surely get rid of the peace-disrupting no see ums.
Frequently Asked Questions about No See Ums
1. What attracts no see ums?
The no see ums are generally attracted by the human odor. When humans breathe out the carbon dioxide, it acts as an attraction for the no see ums, causing them to come near humans. Apart from this the no see ums are also attracted toward lactic acid.
In addition to nectar, the female no see ums also require blood to lay eggs, and hence they are attracted to humans, pets, birds, and animals to obtain their blood requirements, to be able to gain optimum proteins required to lay eggs.
2. How to stop no see ums from biting?
No see ums can be stopped from biting either by protecting ourselves by wearing protective clothing, preventing them from coming near us, trapping them, or directly exterminating them.
All the mentioned results can be obtained by some of the other of the above-mentioned no see um repellents. Also destroying their nearby possible breeding grounds can enable one to stop no see ums from biting.
3. What time of the day do no see ums come out?
No see ums can trouble humans any time when the air is still, but they are most active either during dawn or the dusk. They are hardly found after evening and hence one must remain cautious during the dawn and dusk as this is the time when the no see ums come out.
4. How to treat no see um bites?
To treat no see um bites at home, one must follow the following steps
- Wash the bitten area with soap and water to reduce the chances of any infection.
- Wrap an ice pack or use a cool compress against the skin for about 2 days after being bitten.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream to the bitten area, to get some relief from the tremendous itching. However one should not apply the hydrocortisone cream for more than one week or as advised by the doctor otherwise, due to existing health issues.
- One can also use calamine lotion as another option for itch relief.
- Aloe Vera can also serve as a great natural option to relive the immense pain and itching, as it has almost no side effects.
- One may also use aspirin, ibuprofen or Motrin to reduce pain and inflammation if necessary.
- The most important thing to do is not to scratch the itchy bites, as that may lead to further bleeding and infection, thereby severely worsening the situation.
- Stay calm and wait for about 2 weeks for the bites to heal.
However, if one has a certain allergic reaction or infection due to the bites, then one must not attempt to treat them at home and rush to the doctor at once, to seek medical advice.
Hence the above article provides us the major information about no see ums, their characteristics, behaviors, and food habits. It also describes how dangerous are the bites of these peace-disrupting pests, and how to properly treat them to prevent future infections.
Hence this article is of extreme use and is a must-read article for anyone who wishes to get rid of the peace-disrupting no see ums and lead a comfortable life, without worrying about frequent infections caused due to no see um bites.