Smaller than mosquitoes but delivering a similar (or sometimes even worse) bite, no see ums are an obnoxious pest you’ve probably encountered more than once during the spring and summer months.
For many of us living in the United States, no see ums have simply become a staple of the warmer seasons. Of course, that doesn’t mean we need to normalize putting up with them each and every day.
If you’ve had enough of biting no see ums and are at your wits end with finding a solution, then you’ve come to the right place. We are here to help you learn how to get rid of no see ums and go over the best products, methods and home remedies you can use to reduce infestations while also protecting yourself and your loved ones from the no see ums’ itchy and annoying bites.
Let’s get started.
What Are No See Ums?
No see ums are a small flying pest that are known to bite and leave painful, itchy bumps.
Also known as biting midges, biting gnats, sand flies, and punkies, no see ums are small biting insects scientifically referred to as Ceratopogonidae. They belong to a family of flies that include over 6,000 species.
These flying bugs are common throughout the entire world save for colder regions like the Arctic and Antarctic. And while they can be found nearly everywhere, they prefer regions rich in humidity and are often found clustered in swarms near stagnant water sources.
As their name suggests, no see ums are very small, ranging in size from 1 to 3 millimeters long. Though nearly invisible to the naked eye, no see ums can leave behind a bite on human skin that is painful, itchy, and often considered worse than the bite of a mosquito!
Furthermore, it can take hours and sometimes days before your body reacts to these bites, making you question when and where you even got them.
Do you think you have no see um bites? Think back to when you were out and about in the last few hours or days. These pests are most active at dawn and dusk, and are commonly found swarming in clusters known as clouds.
Only females no see ums bite, and they do so because they are seeking food sources rich in iron and protein (aka, your blood). Of course, no see ums don’t only bite humans. They also like to feast on the blood of pets and livestock as well.
While no see um bites can hurt, they aren’t known to transmit diseases to humans in the United States. Some tropical varieties of no see ums have been reported to spread disease to people and animals, but in America, the biggest threat no see ums bring is the nasty welts they can leave behind on your skin.
You can learn more about no see ums and their interesting habits in the video below.
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Unfortunately, it’s tough to identify a pest you can hardly see. Furthermore, when you do get a closer look at no see ums, they tend to look an awful lot like small mosquitoes. So, how can you identify no see ums for sure?
Let’s find out.
How To Identify No See Ums
No see ums can look similar to mosquitoes, though they are generally much smaller.
While mosquitoes and a few other types of small, flying pests are known to swarm, no see ums buzz about in dense clouds and are most commonly found during dawn and dusk. They are also commonly found flying around near stagnant bodies of water or other food sources like livestock.
However, if you aren’t looking for these no see um clouds, you may not realize you have encountered the insects until you have been bitten. Their bites hurt right away but, as we mentioned above, the welts or bumps left behind by these bites may not turn up until a few hours or even a few days later.
Luckily, there are some different ways you can go about repelling no see ums and protecting your yard and loved ones from their painful bites. But before we discuss which products and methods work best, it is helpful to also understand what no see ums are attracted to so you can work on making your home and property less hospitable to them.
What Attracts No See Ums To Your Yard?
No see ums cannot survive or breed without stagnant water sources.
Like most pests, no see ums are attracted to food sources, a good breeding ground and shelter. They must have water to breed and live, so they are often found near stagnant water sources where they can mate and lay their eggs.
Is your yard buzzing with no see ums? If so, you may also have or be near a few of the below attractants:
- Bird Baths
- Yard Ponds
- Over-Watered Flower Beds
- Over-Watered Flower Pots
- Overturned Tires Filled With Water
- Overturned Trash Can Lids Filled With Water
- Moist Sand Boxes
- Muddy Soil
- Porch and Garden Lights
No see ums are also attracted to the carbon monoxide their food sources (you, your pets and other animals) exhale.
In fact, no see ums can smell carbon monoxide from up to 200 meters away! This smell alerts them that a food source is near and can attract a number of no see um pests from far away. While male no see ums do not bite and prefer nectar and tree sap, females need blood, which is rich in iron and protein, to help support their reproduction cycle.
While no see ums in the US are not known to be dangerous to humans, they are annoying and their bites can certainly be irritating and painful. But don’t worry. We have a few tips and tricks you can use to get rid of no see ums for good.
How To Get Rid Of No See Ums – Most Popular Methods
No see um bites can be painful and itchy, but luckily many remedies work to prevent them.
If you’re overwhelmed by an abundance of annoying no see ums, the good news is that there are several methods you can use to get rid of them. Some of the most common and popular methods used include natural methods, home remedies, and insecticides.
Professional help is not generally required for no see um control, as these are typically outdoor pests who can be controlled using a number of the below methods and products.
We love using products that contain natural ingredients whenever possible for pest control. When it comes to getting rid of no see ums, using natural products can be especially ideal for those with people and pets in and around the home.
Natural products are typically free of harsh chemicals and are therefore generally safer to use for people, pets and the environment. These products can include sprays, repellents, and sometimes even fly traps and bug zappers.
If you like the idea of organic pest control, you may also like using a few home remedies to get rid of no see ums. While not all home remedies include the use of organic and natural ingredients, many do.
Better yet, using home remedies to get rid of and control the no see ums on your property can help you save money and time. It’s a win-win!
Very large no see ums infestations may require the use of insecticides and chemicals like DEET. While this is not always the first choice for those who prefer using natural remedies, sometimes insecticide sprays and repellents are the most effective when it comes to reducing no see um bites and controlling large infestations.
But before you decide which type of method or product would be right for you, let’s go over a few methods you can use to get rid of no see ums from natural products, home remedies, and insecticides.
How To Get Rid No See Ums Using Natural Methods
Not all species of no see ums bite and many can be beneficial to the environment.
No see ums are certainly annoying, but keep in mind that not all species of no see ums bite and many species of no see ums are essential and beneficial to a healthy environment. That said, those that do bite can pack quite a punch for such a small pest.
As we mentioned above, using natural products to get rid of biting no see ums and protect yourself from no see um bites is an especially attractive prospect to those who are fans of organic pest control or for those with pets and children.
One of the benefits of using natural methods to control no see ums is that they are generally safer for people, pets and the environment. Furthermore, they are often just as effective in defending against no see ums as chemical sprays, though they may not last as long.
Wondering which natural products might be right for you and your family? Take a look below.
No No-See-Um Natural Midge repellent 4 Pack
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First on our list of natural no see um repellent sprays is an insect repellent with no see ums in the name. This spray uses plant-based ingredients that are 100% DEET and Picaridin free. This spray is safe for people, pets and the environment and can even help repel mosquitoes, biting gnats, and many other types of biting insects.
How does it work? The product contains essential oils known to repel pests like citronella oil, lemongrass oil and geranium oil. It can be applied directly on the skin, though it should be used with adult supervision and kept out of reach of children.
Buggins Natural Insect Repellent
Buggins Natural Insect Repellent is another natural biting insect repellent that is designed to repel pests without the use of harsh chemicals or toxins like DEET. It uses plant based ingredients and essential oils to protect you and your loved ones from biting gnats, no see ums, mosquitoes, buffalo gnats, turkey gnats and other biting bugs.
The product can last for up to two hours when applied correctly and comes with a portable, 4 ounce bottle for easy travel. The active ingredients include peppermint oil, geraniol, lemongrass oil and clove oil.
Gloue Bug Zapper Light Bulb
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The above light bulb by Gloue can play a number of roles on your porch or around your property to help control and repel the populations of no see ums, mosquitoes, moths, and flies. Because no see ums are attracted to light, this is an effective tool you can use to keep their numbers down while allowing you to enjoy your yard during dawn and dusk.
The light bulb above screws into any socket and can be turned on or off to function as either a light bulb or a bug zapper depending on your needs. Best of all, this product is kid safe, pet safe and chemical free.
Wondercide Natural Insect Repellent Spray
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Wondercide offers many varieties of insect repellent products for both indoor and outdoor use, but we particularly like the above perimeter spray because it is not only designed to protect your property from fleas and ticks, but it also works to repel pests like mosquitoes, no see ums, biting gnats, and other pests.
We recommend using Wondercide around the perimeter of your home and throughout your yard, applying it as directed in order for it to work effectively. While this product does work well in killing and preventing insect pests, it is safe and gentle enough for children, pets and the environment. You can even use it directly on your garden plants!
Bug Soother Natural Insect Spray
Another DEET free and chemical free spray we like that is all natural is the above bug repellent spray by Bug Soother. This order comes in a two pack but also includes a travel size sprayer, which is extra convenient for hiking, camping and occasional gardening.
The spray is safe for people, pets and the environment and can also be used on children. It works to prevent gnats, mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, no see ums, and more by using essential oils including lemongrass oil, castor oil, and vanilla.
The OFF! brand has long been known to contain chemicals like DEET and other toxins that, while effective against bugs and pests, can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. Now, we are happy to report that OFF! Is offering their product DEET free.
This natural bug repellent uses plant-based ingredients like pine oil extract that lasts up to two hours to deter and repel pests like no see ums, mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.
Repel Deet-Free Insect Spray
Repel is another well-known brand for their powerful bug repellent sprays, but this spray is a natural spray derived from plant-based ingredients like lemon and eucalyptus. It is DEET free and safe for people and pets.
While many DEET free products only last as long as two hours, one of the things we like best about Repel is that it can last for up to six hours. It can be sprayed directly on the skin and and protects against no see ums, mosquitoes, and biting gnats.
How To Get Rid Of No See Ums Using Home Remedies
Essential oils like eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil and peppermint can help repel pests like no see ums.
Pest control can be expensive, but did you know you may already have what you need to defend your home and loved ones from no see ums? That’s right. Many household ingredients like vinegar, essential oils, and more can help you keep pests like no see ums at bay.
If you’re all about do it yourself pest control, then this is the section for you. Let’s begin with the best essential oils you can use to deter no see ums and go over a few of our favorite no see um repellent recipes.
Dish Soap and Vinegar No See Um Trap
- 1 small bowl
- 2 drops of liquid dish soap
- ½ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Pour the vinegar and mix two drops of liquid dish soap into a bowl. Mix the solution until it is sudsy and leave it out where you have noticed no see um activity. The no see ums are attracted to the smell of apple cider vinegar and drown in the soapy water.
However, remember that liquid dish soap can be toxic to pets and children if ingested so use this method with caution around kiddos and animals.
How To Get Rid of No See Ums Using Essential Oils
Many people find that essential oils are a safe and natural way to repel pests like insects, spiders, rodents and more. When it comes to no see ums, the best essential oils you can use to repel them include:
- Lavender Oil
- Citronella Oil
- Garlic Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
You can use essential oils to repel pests by dabbing oils like peppermint oil on the wrists, neck, and ankles can help keep no see ums from biting. You can also make your own essential oil no see um repellent spray by following the below recipe:
- 5 to 10 Drops of The Essential Oil Of Your Choice
- Two Cups Of Water
- 1 Spray Bottle
- A Few Drops of Liquid Dish Soap
Pour the water into a spray bottle and then add 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice along with a few drops of liquid dish soap. Shake the bottle until the water is sudsy and spray this spray at the no see um clouds. The soap will kill the pests on contact and the scent of the essential oil will keep other no see ums at bay.
You can also forgo the dish soap and use the essential oils as a repellent you can spray on yourself, your clothing, and even around your yard to repel these pests. Just make sure you test the essential oil you want to use on a small part of your skin first to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction.
Vinegar And Essential Oil No See Um Repellent Recipe
Another recipe we like to use against no see ums and other pests like mosquitoes is vinegar and essential oil spray. While no see ums are attracted to apple cider vinegar, you can use white vinegar mixed with essential oils to kill these pests on contact.
Take a look.
- 3 Tablespoon of Citronella Oil
- 1 Tablespoon of Eucalyptus Oil
- 2 Cups of White Vinegar
- 1 Cup of Distilled Water
- 1 Spray Bottle
Mix the above ingredients in a spray bottle and shake the bottle until it is thoroughly mixed. The above vinegar and oil spray can be sprayed directly on no see um clouds to kill these pests on contact. It is also an excellent perimeter spray. That said, do not spray this solution directly on garden plants or on your skin, as it can cause irritation.
How To Get Rid Of No See Ums Using Insecticides
Chemical bug sprays containing DEET are often preferred because they last longer than two hours.
While we always love the idea of using natural products and home remedies to get rid of no see ums and prevent no see um bites, sometimes a large infestation around your home or property can require chemical sprays or repellents. Furthermore, if you want a spray or repellent that lasts longer than two hours, chemicals may be a better call for you.
DEET and other types of chemical repellents have proven especially effective when it comes to getting rid of no see ums for longer periods of time.
Let’s take a look at some of the best products you can use to get rid of no see ums as recommended by experts.
OFF! Deep Woods
Are you planning on being outside for an extended period of time? For long hikes, camping trips, or backyard BBQ’s that are likely to last longer than two hours, you may want to use a product containing DEET. OFF! Deep Woods is a dry bug spray that is designed to last for an extended period and is sweat proof and water proof.
It protects against no see ums, mosquitoes, gnats, and other biting pests using the active ingredient DEET as well as other chemicals. However, while this product is effective against no see ums, it should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
Repel 100 Insect Repellent
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The above insect spray is not an aerosol but a pump spray that provides up to 10 hours of protection against mosquitoes, biting gnats, flies, chiggers, no see ums, fleas, and ticks. It is designed to withstand heavy insect infestations and conditions, so this product is great to use around ponds or swamps where no see ums and other biting pests tend to congregate in large numbers.
However, keep in mind that this spray contains a high percentage of DEET, which allows it to work so well. That said, this spray can be toxic to people, pets and the environment if not used correctly. It should also be kept out of reach of children.
Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent
If you are an avid outdoors person who often finds yourself contending with not only no see ums but also other pests like mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and mites, then you’ll be all about the above gear spray by Sawyer Products. This is not a bug repellent for skin but is instead designed to be used as a protective on clothing and gear.
The spray uses the active ingredient permethrin, which is a common chemical shown to be effective against a number of insects. That said, permethrin is a toxic chemical that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment and should be kept out of reach of children and only used as directed.
How To Prevent A Future Problem With No See Ums
Wearing longer clothing while out and about can help prevent no see um bites.
No See Ums can be especially annoying during this time of year, and while you may not be able to 100% prevent them from hanging around your property, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of an infestation and keep these biting bugs at bay.
Some of the best ways to prevent no see ums from becoming an overwhelming problem are listed below. Take a look!
Plant No See Um Repellent Plants In Your Garden Or In Pots
You may not be able to keep no see ums away completely, but there are some garden plants you can use to help keep them out of certain areas. You can also place plants and flowers in pots around your patio or porch to keep these pests at bay as well.
These plants include:
- East Indian Plant
- Lemon Thyme
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Verbena
Remove Excess Water Sources
Remember, one of the biggest attractants for no see ums and other pests like mosquitoes are excess, stagnant water sources. These water sources are also breeding grounds for no see ums, which can lead to larger infestations on your property.
Remove excess water sources like buckets, old tires, bird baths, dog bowls, kiddy pools and more.
Do Not Over-Water Your Lawn Or Garden
Overwatered gardens and lawns can attract no see ums and other pests. Furthermore, overwatering your garden can be bad for plant life. Only water your yard and gardens as needed, and keep an eye on flower beds to ensure they are not overflowing with water after rainfalls or watering sessions.
Landscape and Keep Your Lawn Cut Short
Overgrown yards can lead to an abundance of yard and garden pests like mosquitoes, no see ums, rodents, snakes, spiders, and mites. To help reduce the number of pests in your yard and prevent bites from no see ums, we suggest keeping your yard landscaped. Remove weeds, mow the lawn, and keep your garden nice and tidy.
Caulk and Seal Entry and Exit Points and Install Small Screened Windows
While no see ums are generally an outdoor pests, they can become problematic if they get inside. Unfortunately, no see ums are extra small and can sometimes fit into the holes of some screens. Try installing smaller-woven screens in windows as well as ensuring doors and windows shut and seal securely.
Wear Protective Clothing
No see ums are famous for their painful bites and are often considered worse than mosquitoes. However, they are smaller and for this reason cannot bite through clothing. When out and about hiking, gardening, or enjoying your yard during no see um season, you can protect yourself by wearing long sleeves, pants, and hats.
Wear A Bug Spray During No See Um Season When Outside
Whether you choose to wear a natural bug repellent or a DEET repellent to keep no see ums and other biting pests from making a meal of you is up to you, but we highly recommend doing so if you live in an area rich with insect activity, humidity, and stagnant water sources.
Doing this can help protect you from bites, itchy bumps and possibly days of annoying scratching.
Of course, if you do get bitten by no see ums in the United States, don’t panic. These pests are not dangerous or known to spread disease to humans. They are more of a nuisance pest than anything else.
We hope this article has been a helpful guide on how to get rid of no see ums and protect yourself and loved ones from getting bitten this summer.
Stay safe and bite-free out there!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.