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How to get rid of no-see-ums

Updated June 26, 2017

Many varieties of biting insects can interfere with your outdoor activities and leave you with unattractive, itchy bites and bumps. No-see-ums are one of the tiniest species of biting flies. Ceratopogonidae is the scientific name for these minuscule flies that also go by the common name of midges. Get rid of these little pests and enjoy your outdoor activities.

Examine the environment around the swarms of biting flies, including the edges of ponds and low-lying areas that tend to collect water. Look for decaying vegetation in these outside areas where no-see-ums tend to congregate and feed. Remove any dead and rotting vegetation from the landscape to minimise their breeding ground and dispose of their larvae. Rake up cut grass, fallen leaves and dead weeds.

Apply a residual pesticide to areas where no-see-ums land to rest, such as the vegetation beside nearby waterways as well as the exterior walls of your home or barn. Apply the pesticide spray on a calm, dry day to avoid wind, water disbursement and overspray.

Treat the water near no-see-um breeding ground with a larvicide chemical control that contains Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or methoprene. These products kill no-see-ums in their larval stage, preventing them from maturing into flying insects. Apply to the water in surrounding streams and ponds according to the manufacturer's instructions. You may need to repeat the larvicide treatment more than once to reduce no-see-um populations.

Set out fly foggers in areas where you plan to gather with friends. Use these ULV, or ultra-low-volume, pesticide treatments right before your outdoor gathering to eliminate no-see-ums in specific areas. This type of treatment is temporary and confined to a limited area, but it can keep your outdoor entertainment area free of no-see-ums for the length of your outdoor celebration.

Prevent bites from lingering no-see-ums by applying a heavy lotion to your skin before you go near areas where they tend to swarm, such as your favourite fishing hole. No-see-ums tend to stick in heavy lotions, eliminating their ability to fly and bite. Topical skin oils such as baby oil and suntan oil also provide a barrier against these minuscule biting flies.

Warning

Use bug repellents that contain DEET only as a last resort. Although these topical sprays can help discourage biting flies, DEET is a harmful chemical.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Residual pesticide spray
  • Larvicide
  • Fly foggers
  • Heavy lotion
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About the Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.