No-see-ums. You might not be able to see ‘em, but you’ll know if you’ve got ‘em by their swarming clouds. Also known as sand flies or biting gnats, these tiny insects (Leptoconops torrens), belong to the family Ceratopogonidae, are only about 1-3 mm long and can cause all sorts of frustration, especially if they’ve decided to take up residence in your yard. They’re so tiny they can fit through your screens, and if you find yourself amid a cloud of them, while you’re flailing your arms around trying to get away from them, a few will probably get in your ears, nose, etc.
Nobody likes these tiny troublemakers, and we get a lot of questions about them. So here’s what you should know about no-see-ums in Savannah, Hilton Head, and the GA, SC barrier islands:
Much like mosquitoes, only the females bite. They need the protein from a blood meal to develop their eggs and complete their reproductive cycle. Also like mosquito, when they bite you, they’ll leave behind a “parting gift” of a tiny bit of their saliva, which will settle just under your skin and develop into a little red bump. The initial bump of a no-see-um is quite tiny compared to the average mosquito bite, but many people will tell you that the itch is much, much worse. If you itch a no-see-um bite, it will expand into a welt that can get 1-2 inches in diameter!
Left alone, a tiny no-see-um bite will usually go away after about a week. But if yours has been aggravated and turned into a big welt, expect it to last two weeks (possibly longer). Bottom line — TRY NOT TO ITCH THEM! (Difficult, we know.) No-see-um bites that are not left alone and grow into big welts also are at risk of the skin breaking and getting infected, and nobody wants that.
There are many different varieties of no-see-ums, and a couple are known to carry parasites that cause serious illnesses to people in tropical regions. Illnesses like leishmaniasis and filarial worms. But the good news is that there aren’t any no-see-ums known to carry any diseases to humans in North America, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick from a no-see-um bite here. Unfortunately, livestock aren’t so lucky, as no-see-ums are known vectors of Bluetongue virus, which affects a large portion of livestock in the western United States.
Once in their pupal stage, it only takes a no-see-um 1-2 days to become an adult, and when you see those clouds of no-see-ums dancing around, guess what’s happening? Mating. Yep, they’re busy making more no-see-ums. A single female lays a batch of 400+ eggs at once, and she’ll mate 5-7 times in her lifetime. So because of their short lifecycle, a traditional barrier treatment, which lasts for three weeks, just doesn’t work on these tiny tyrants.
The only way to eliminate no-see-ums and keep them from coming back is with an automatic misting system. These systems are programmed to emit a mist of our EPA-registered formula multiple times a day for about 45 seconds. Such a quick turnaround time for no-see-ums calls for frequent application.
One thing customers tell us they love after they decided to invest in a misting system is the convenience. Not only are they pre-programmed to go off at certain times, they also come with a remote control and app so you can trigger the mist on command if you want or need to. Suddenly your daughter’s soccer team is coming over after the game? No problem — trigger the misting system on your way home and you’ll have a bug-free backyard for everyone to play in.
Plus, Mosquito Squad takes care of everything, and we mean everything. We custom design your automatic misting system to have the misters placed in the most strategic places in your yard while also blending in, and after we install it, we take care of all refills, maintenance, winterization, and even spring startup. If something needs repair, they’re so high-tech that we’ll be alerted on our end and we’ll know to come out and fix it.
Misting systems are a true “set it and forget it” solution not just for no-see-ums, but for mosquitoes, ticks, and all the biting bugs in your yard. While a barrier treatment is nearly 90% effective on mosquitoes and ticks for up to three weeks at a time, a misting system is over 90% effective on no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and other bugs all season long.