Those annoying swarms of bugs you know as no-see-ums (Leptoconops torrens) belong to the family Ceratopogonidae and are about 1/16-inch long. They’re so tiny they can pass through window screens. They go by many names, including sandflies and biting gnats. No matter what you call ‘em, usually the only way you do see ‘em is by their swarming clouds, which can ruin any good time outside, send arms flailing, and probably cause some cursing. They’ll even fly in your ears, up your nose, wherever — they have no sense of personal space. We get a lot of questions about these little pests and what can be done about them, so we’ll address the Top 5 here.
1. Do no-see-ums bite?
Yes. Oh, do they ever. But just like mosquitoes, only the females bite. They need the protein from a blood meal to complete their reproductive cycle. When a female bites, she’ll leave behind a little bit of saliva, that will pool just below the surface of your skin. This results in a small red dot that will be excruciatingly itchy. We know it’s hard not to itch them, but please try not to — with aggravation these tiny bites can develop into welts 1 or 2 inches in diameter!
2. How long do no-see-um bites last?
It depends on how much you itch them. If you leave them alone (difficult, we know) and they stay tiny, usually they’ll be gone in a week. But if you itch them and they expand to a much bigger welt, they can last two weeks or more! Itching always makes it worse, and please try not to itch so hard that it opens the skin, because that drastically increases the chance of infection.
3. Do no-see-ums carry any disease?
Yes and no. There are many different kinds of no-see-ums, and a couple varieties are known to cause serious illnesses to humans like leishmaniasis and filarial worms in tropical regions. But thankfully, in North America, humans don’t encounter no-see-ums that can transmit diseases. However, animals aren’t as lucky. No-see-ums are known vectors of Bluetongue virus, which affects a large portion of livestock in the western United States. No-see-ums can also transmit hemorrhagic disease to white-tailed deer.
4. How do I get rid of no see ums in my yard?
If you’ve got clouds of no-see-ums in your yard, the only way to control them is with an automatic misting system, which emits our barrier treatment formula multiple times per day. A traditional barrier treatment, which lasts three weeks, simply won’t control no-see-ums. The reason for this is because they are constantly breeding. One female no-see-um can lay around 400 eggs at a time, and once in a pupal state, it only takes 1-2 days to become an adult, at which time they’ll get busy breeding again. A single female no-see-um will breed 5-7 times in her lifetime. (For more information on no-see-ums and their lifecycle, check out our no-see-ums page.)
5. Why is a misting system a great investment?
As we mentioned, the only way to control no-see-ums is with a misting system. But aside from that, misting systems have many other benefits. While a traditional barrier treatment does wonders — eliminating mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting bugs on contact by nearly 90% for three weeks a time, sometimes customers have special circumstances that call for more constant application of our treatment, like if they live in a marshy area, have waterfront property, or live in a heavily-wooded area. A misting system, which emits a mist multiple times a day for about 45 seconds at a time, is much more effective in those situations.
Plus, misting systems come with both a remote control and an app, so you can trigger the mist at your own discretion. For example, maybe you’re out at dinner with some friends, and you decide to continue to evening at home on the back deck. You could trigger the mist while you’re at the restaurant from your phone and by the time the party moves to your place, you’ll be sure that there won’t be any bugs to ruin the fun.
Perhaps the best part about an automatic misting system from Mosquito Squad is we take care of everything.. We custom design your system to be as unnoticeable as possible in your yard, install it, and once in place, we handle all of the refills, regular maintenance, winterization, spring setup, and if there’s ever anything that breaks, the technology alerts us and we’ll come out and fix it. Misting systems are a true “set it and forget it” solution to all your backyard bug problems, not just no-see-ums!
For more information about our misting systems and to solve your no-see-um problem, give Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston a call today at (843) 258-5415. Consultation is always free — we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Let us help you fight the bite of no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and other bugs and take back your yard!