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Have You Ever Heard of No-see-ums?

Some people have never heard the term but might remember getting painful or itchy bites by something that couldn’t even be seen. That is the basis of the common name and they are quite real.

No-see-ums are any of about 5,000 species of biting midges. These are found everywhere on Earth except the polar regions and the bite is both painful and irritating. 

These insects are typically less than a tenth of an inch long, often much smaller (less than 3 mm in length). Even window screens won’t stop them because they are small enough to go between the netting. At times, they are also found in some areas in enormous numbers. The smaller species honestly are difficult to see. 

In the past, infestations of no-see-ums were handled by spraying with DDT. With wide-spread bans on DDT, they are now commonly repelled using Deet, eucalyptus oil, or Icaridin. 

Not all species of no-see-ums are bad. Some attack other insects and some are even pollinators.  However, some can also be disease vectors of such diseases as African sleeping sickness and hemorrhagic fever. 

No-see-ums are very real critters. They are very tiny but they pack a wallop.

  • To your knowledge, have you ever been bitten by a no-see-um?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Many times
    • I’ve never even heard of them

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Written by Rex Trulove

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