“No see ums” or “biting midges Ceratopogonidae is a family of 1–3 mm long flies.” There are more than 5,000 species in this family, and they live everywhere except in the Antarctic and the Arctic.
Ceratopogonidae are holometabolous, which means they go through four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Most common species in warmer places have a life cycle that lasts between two and six weeks. Moreover, both males and females eat nectar as adults.
Like other members, most females also eat the blood of vertebrates to get the protein they need to lay eggs. Furthermore, their bites hurt and can cause sores that are very itchy. Moreover, their mouths are designed to cut through the skin of their hosts. Some insects eat other bugs.
No See Ums Nomenclature
So, now you know what are no see ums? Biting midges, punkies, biting gnats, sand flies, and sand fleas are all names for these insects. Ceratopogonidae is the family name for these flies. The Chironomoidea is their superfamily, and the Culicomorpha is their suborder. Mosquitos are also in this infraorder. Moreover, they belong to the order Diptera and the suborder Nematocera.
The insects are in the class Insecta, the invertebrates with an exoskeleton are in the phylum Arthropoda, and the animals are in the kingdom Animalia. In the Ceratopogonidae family, there are more than 5,000 species, which are split among many genera. Furthermore, each species’ scientific name is made up of the genus name and the species name. Some scientific names for common species are:
- Culicoides sonorensis
- Bezzia nobilis
- Leptoconops torrens
- Archiaustroconops besti
Habitat: Where Do No See Ums Live?
You can find no-see-ums almost everywhere in the world. The Arctic and Antarctic are the only places where no see ums can’t live because it’s too cold there.
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Appearance: How does No See Ums look like?
Most of the time, these insects are only one to three millimeters long. They are real bugs. Moreover, they have a head, a chest, and an abdomen. They also have six legs and wings. Most of the time, they are black, brown, or grey. Some have stripes. Like mosquitoes, females that feed on blood get a transparent, swollen abdomen, and the blood inside can be seen.
There are a few things that set them apart from other small flies. They have hard structures on their heads, namely sclerites, and their mouths are made to cut through the skin. The prolegs of some species are useful in finding the larvae of that species.
Diet: What Do No See Ums Eat?
The food that no-see-ums eat depends on their species, age, and gender. Some of the things that bees eat are nectar, animal blood, and insects.
So, what do no see ums not eat? No-see-ums can be caught and eaten by bigger bugs and birds. They are also eaten by plants that eat animals, like the sticky penstemon and the beardtongue.
What do not-see-ums eat? The larvae of no-see-ums live both in water and on land. This means that they spend time both in and out of the water. So, they usually eat things like algae and fungi. Also, they need a lot of water to grow.
You may think, what attracts no see ums? This species’s males and females feed on nectar from flowers, like mosquitos. Nectar is actually their favorite food. In some tropical areas, they help spread pollen for cocoa beans. The protein in this sweet liquid is not enough to help the female make eggs.
Most species’ females eat vertebrate blood to make up for the lack of food. Their teeth are made to cut through the skin. This makes the bites hurt and leaves itchy sores on the skin of the host.
Some species eat other insects instead of animals. Some species find it interesting to hunt mosquito larvae. At least one kind of butterfly only eats nectar.
Prevention: How to Get Rid of No See Ums
So, how to get rid of no-see-ums bites? No-see-ums are small enough to get into homes through window screens and some bug nets. Insect repellents like DEET, eucalyptus oil, Icaridin, and picaridin can keep them away. People have used insecticides and even certain bacteria to keep their numbers in check.
How Do You Get Rid Of No See Ums?
No-see-ums can be warded off with essential oils, including lemon, eucalyptus, mint, and camphor. Essential oils act as a natural bug repellent by mixing a few drops with water in a spray container, or you can buy a spray that already contains a blend of essential oils for this purpose.
What Causes No See Ums?
Noseeums can’t survive without access to water. Like mosquitoes, female no see ems prefer to deposit their eggs on the surface of still bodies of water, from which the larvae will later emerge. This is typically seen in regions with a lot of moisture, such as beside streams, lakes, or even moist soil.
Are No See Ums The Same As Mosquitoes?
It is common to feel the bites of no-see-ums, or biting midges but rarely see them. In the same way that it is difficult to avoid mosquitoes because of their size, these small flying insects make it difficult to do so until it is too late.
Why Do No-See-Um Bites Last So Long?
The no see um bites or no see ums bites can be irritating. Gnats and no-see-ums “operate” on their victim by slicing and cutting into the skin with their mouth-based cutters, causing the blood to pool and making it easier to eat. Since there is not just one puncture, the effects of this minor wound can linger for a while.
Do No-See-Ums Live In Beds?
They do not sleep there, though. Beds are the death knell for no see’ums because of their delicate nature. Your hair may experience some tangling, but it will not attempt to make that place a permanent home.
Do No-See-Ums Spread Disease?
Scientists have been studying the disease transmission via sand flies and no-see-ums, albeit it is unusual. Bartonella bacilliformis, often known as Carrion’s illness, is the causal agent.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.