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How to Get Rid of No-See-Ums. Scientifically Approved Treatment and the Comparative Review of the Best Products

What is the best way to get rid of no-see-ums? There are two effective solutions: repelling and trapping. Traps can be of two types based on how they attract no-see-ums. The most effective ones are those emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas exhaled by humans and animals. By mimicking a mammal’s breathing, it draws no-see-ums in the trap, where they die from dehydration. Another type of trap utilizes UV light as a lure. While being less effective compared to CO2 traps, UV light traps are safer and can be used anywhere, including indoors. The captured insects are then electrocuted by an electric grid. As for repellents, they can be divided into two categories according to their application methods. Insecticides labeled for skin applications are generally based on DEET or Picaridin. The former is more powerful while the latter is considered to be less toxic. Sprays that are designed to be applied only to clothes contain Permethrin.

1. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin
This permethrin-based repellent can be safely applied to any type of fabric. It will not stain or damage it. The repelling effect lasts for 6 weeks.

Advance Granular Carpenter Ant Bait min: photo

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2. Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin
Based on 20% picaridin, it is a safer option that can be applied both to the skin and clothes. Provides long-lasting protection for up to 14 hours.

Maxforce Carpenter Gel Ant Insecticide min: photo

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3. Dynatrap DT1050 Insect Trap
With the use of UV light and CO2, the trap attracts and kills insects. Protects up to 1/2 acre. A weather-resistant trap for indoor and outdoor use.

Dynatrap DT1050 Insect Trap min: photo

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No-see-ums have plenty of names, such as biting midges or biting gnats, sand flies, punkies, pinyon gnats… All of them are called differently not only across the world but even across the U.S.A. These small stingy midges don’t leave anyone alone simply because they can see and sting you painfully and you can’t even smash them because they are so tiny. Who are they? How can you stop them? In this review, we’ll focus on the scientists’ opinions on how to get rid of no-see-ums, will determine the best repellent sprays, traps, zappers and protective clothing and will find out why the no-see-ums’ bites are so painful and dangerous.

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The Best CO2 Trap

The scientists have found out that just like with mosquitoes, CO2 can be used to lure biting midges and kill them afterwards. Most of such units are quite pricey so we’ve found an affordable option covering up to 300 sq ft. You can also take it along when travelling if you know that these blood-suckers are a real threat at your destination.

1. DynaTrap DT150 Indoor Insect Trap with UV Light Mosquito Repellent

DynaTrap DT150 Indoor Mosquito & Flying Insect Trap – Kills Mosquitoes, Flies, Moths, Gnats, & Other Flying Insects – Protects up to 300 Sq Ft

The Dynatrap Ultralight Insect and Mosquito Trap is the most renowned CO2 insect trap to cover up to 300 sq. ft. It traps midges, sand flies, gnats, flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects, including flies, wasps and beetles. Just like the electric bug zappers, it lures the insects with the warm light of a UV lamp, and it also has an additional feature: it mimics human breath! This is the result of UV light and special titanium dioxide-coated surface of the device interaction.

What happens next? After being lured with the light and breath, an insect encounters a powerful but quiet fan which sucks it inside the grid like a vacuum cleaner: once and for all. Once inside a special compartment, all midges will die from dehydration. By the way, do not worry that the insects will get out: the said compartment is tightly closed, even when the trap is turned off. The Dynatrap Trap is not only convenient to install in the patio, pantry, garage or gazebo, but, because of its compact size, it also can be taken with you on trips as long as you have access to electric power!

Dynatrap: Check the current price

Picking a Best No-See-Um Repellent: 4 Best Sprays and Wipes

There are lots of insect repellents available on the market today, but their effectiveness varies when it comes to dealing with the minuscule nasty no-see-ums. There are plenty of natural repellents among them. The scientists consider that they can provide certain protection, but is it really enough? Here are 4 repellents worthy of your attention.

2. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

Sawyer Products SP657 Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing, Gear & Tents, Trigger Spray, 24-Ounce

Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent is a universal repellent which will protect you from the bites of 55 types of insects, as the manufacturer claims. The spray’s active ingredient is permethrin which is registered by the U.S. EPA as a safe and non-toxic insecticide of wide action range. In this case, its protective properties will serve you for up to 6 weeks (i.e. 6 washings).

You will have to treat your clothes with it (it can also be sprayed over your tent, bag, backpack, hammock, street furniture and mosquito nets) for about half a minute on each side. After that, you can go camping anywhere, to say nothing of the backyard parties and short walks. Permethrin has been protecting people for over 30 years as the U.S. and Canadian militaries use it to treat soldiers’ uniforms.

Regular users often combine Sawyer Clothing Repellent with a DEET-based repellent for skin. Such combination proves to be effective even in the jungle. However, users aren’t disappointed in using Sawyer Clothing Repellent on its own.

Sawyer Products: Check the current price

3. Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin

Sawyer Products SP5442 Picaridin Insect Repellent, 4 Fl Oz (Pack of 2) - Packaging May Vary

This inexpensive effective repellent acts for up to 12 hours against mosquitoes and ticks, and promises to provide up to 8 hours of protection from the bites of biting flies, sand flies, gnats and other insects. Sawyer Repellent contains 20% of Picaridin, which has been used worldwide since 1998 and is one of the best sold active ingredients of insect repellents in Europe.

Many users’ experience has proven that this no-see-um spray can even outperform DEET-based ones and protect you from no-see-um bites even on the beach at night. The only inconvenience is the application process as some people have to spray it with one hand and rub it in with the other. This doesn’t affect the result, though.

Sawyer is safe for family use; it doesn’t damage clothes, bags, watches and synthetic fabrics. It can be applied not only on clothes and objects, but also on skin as it is completely safe and has a pleasant scent. If you need to combine it with a sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and use the repellent 10 minutes later.

Sawyer Products with 20% Picaridin: Check the current price

4. Repel HG-94108 100 Insect Repellent

Repel 100 Insect Repellent, Pump Spray, 4-Fluid Ounces, 10-Hour Protection

Being a best selling camping insect repellent, Repel 100 has been the most popular insect repellent spray on for several years already. Its DEET concentration is 98%! This repellent ensures effective protection against a wide range of insects, such as no-see-ums and other biting flies, mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, chiggers and fleas. According to the manufacturer, a single application will provide up to 10 hours of protection against these insects.

Repel 100 is EPA-registered personal insect repellent recommended for use by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which confirm its safety. It seems like this recommendation is not in vain. Judging by the reviews, the product is truly effective and users rate it highly.

Always keep in mind the safety rules of DEET-containing repellents use: never apply them on bruised skin, under clothes, keep it away from your eyes and rinse thoroughly after being outdoors and camping. The EPA does not recommend any additional precautions (as directed on the product label) for using registered repellents on children or on pregnant or lactating women.

Repel 100: Check the current price

What Should You Choose: DEET or Gentler Products?

Many people are afraid of very powerful DEET (98%) repellents, but they are irreplaceable if your destination is a place swarming with flying blood-suckers (marshes and woods), or if you are going hunting or fishing.

On the other hand, there are gentler products, such as IR3535 which are also used for repelling mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies. However, USDA laboratories found this repellent to be less effective than DEET. So, you’ll have to choose between an effective repellent and a gentle one that has a less-lasting effect.

If your skin is sensitive, pay attention to the following products:

5. Repel Insect Repellent Mosquito Wipes 30% DEET

Repel Insect Repellent Mosquito Wipes, Repels Mosquitoes, Ticks, Gnats and Other Listed Pests, 30% DEET (15 Wipes) Travel Sized

Repel 94100 is an unusual wipes insect repellent. As it is obvious from the name, DEET-concentration is only 30% which is enough for repelling no-see-ums, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, biting flies, gnats and fleas for up to 10 hours without irritating your skin.

The convenient format of this repellent allows for taking it on the go: just put it in the pocket of your jacket or pants and you won’t worry that it takes too much space. It is designed for use on the go, on the road or even in those extreme circumstances when your time is limited but the midges bother you too much. Even those who have had a chance of testing this product in severe conditions rate it highly.

If you are a tourist, hunter, and fisherman, or if you simply spend much time outdoors, put such a pack in your road bag as 15 wipes will serve you for a long time.

Repel 94100: Check the current price

The Best Bug Zapper

Here is another type of a no-see-ums killer – indoor bug zapper bulb, attracting no-see-ums and other insects by UV light and killing them by electric current.

6. GLOUE Bug Zapper Light Bulb

GLOUE Bug Zapper Light Bulb: photo

Using GLOUE, you will significantly save on lamps and nightlights: with no flying insects around, the device operates in a “light only” mode as a great and cost-efficient light source. Unlike conventional lamps, this bulb is energy-saving, with 25,000 burning hours (approximately 3 years).

You may use it 24/7 in the rooms, offices, shops, garages, patios, on a porch and even on a trip. It can be screwed into a lampshade as a conventional bulb while when used with the adapter it can be plugged into a socket.

GLOUE has three modes of operation: bug zapper, light only, bug zapper & light which can be interchangeably switched to each other very easily. The bulb covers up to 540 sq ft but in order to obtain the better effect, place one device per room.

This bulb doesn’t use chemical baits, nor does it release toxins over the course of its operation. It is safe for children and pets, therefore, you can safely place it in the children’s room. But the first thing you should remember is that it is an electric appliance, so don’t allow your children play with it.  It zaps silently and not only no-see-ums but other insects as well.

GLOUE: Check the current price

How to Keep No-See-Ums from Biting with Clothing

Installing mosquito nets and wearing regular long-sleeved shirts and pants will be insufficient for preventing bites. Check out the clothes we’ve found for protecting, especially against no-see-ums.

7. Coghlan’s Bug Jacket

Coghlan's Bug Jacket, Small

This hooded jacket seems hideous, but when it comes to protecting your loved ones, aesthetics no longer matter. The jacket is made of a special fine cellular no-see-um mesh, has laces on the waist and cuffs and is zipped at the neck. Although this jacket will safely seal you, it is light, can breathe and is cool.

It is not in vain that this Bug Jacket has a high rating  and this is not even because of its affordable price. It has simply helped lots of people to have a great time without being bitten.

  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath the jacket when possible (as the fabric is too rough).
  • Wear a hat under the jacket’s hood.
  • Don’t stay near fire while wearing a jacket and smoke carefully as the sparks can easily poke a hole in the polyester jacket.

Coghlan’s Bug Jacket: Check the current price

Coghlan's No-See-Um Head Net, One Size, Model: 0160

If you only need protective headwear, check out the No-See-Um Headnet of the same brand. You should also cover your head while wearing it, and it fits your neck just as well as a regular hood jacket would.

No-See-Um Headnet: Check the current price

8. Coghlan’s Bug Pants

Coghlan's Bug Pants, Large, Multi, One Size (68)

Not only your upper body needs protection, so does your lower body as mosquitoes and ticks, and fleas and other insects often bite your legs. Coghlan’s Bug Pants’ characteristics are the same as those of the jacket of this brand: they also have laces at the waist and cuffs and can preserve coolness. The users claim that they are effective, but if you wear these pants over, say, shorts, small blood suckers will be able to bite you if the netted fabric is wrapped around your shins tightly. That is why they recommend buying Bug Pants of a larger size.

Coghlan’s Bug Pants: Check the current price

Expert Opinion: Caroline Semerjian, Inventor of No No-See-Um Repellent

Caroline Semerjian: photo

Caroline Semerjian, Inventor of No No-See-Um Repellent

Caroline Semerjian is an owner and developer of a product called “No No-See-Um.” It is a natural insect repellent formulated to control this specific insect species.

The concept was developed out of dive on Sanibel Island where no-see-ums are so bad and nothing seemed to work. And also I am very self-conscious. so I wanted to come up with something that was not only going to work but was also safe to put on our skin. I came up with a formula that was going to be EPA except because registering with the EPA is very difficult. So we had to use only ingredients from their approved list.

Best No-See-Um Traps, Repellents and Protective Clothing Comparison Chart

How Dangerous Are Their Bites and How to Treat Them?

No-see-ums’ bites are distinctive and the bites look like 1-2 inch spots with an itchy red dot in the middle. An itching blister filled with liquid can form on the bite spot. Such bites are much more painful that mosquito bites and take up to 2 weeks to heal because no-see-ums not only suck your blood, but also rip your skin with their small sharp jaws. Are these bites truly dangerous?

Do no-see-ums Carry Diseases?

Wild animals and livestock are the most frequent victims of no-see-ums. Infected insects’ bites can cause horses to suffer from allergic dermatitis; they can transmit the lethal Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease virus to deer and contaminate sheep with bluetongue disease which is also known for its high death toll.

Let us be calm though, the biggest threat of no-see-ums’ bites for humans (and not animals) is individual allergy.  Purdue University experts confirm this by saying that “biting midges are extremely annoying, but none are known to transmit disease agents to humans in the U.S”. In some countries, though, including the countries of South American, in the Carribean, West and Central Africa, some species may be carriers of pathogens causing not only animal but also human diseases, such as Mansonella worms. These parasites cause infections, thereby developing dermatitis and skin lesions, as adult worms live under their victim’s skin.

7 Tips on How to Prevent No-See-Ums Bites

Skeeta No-see-um Netting 54 Wide X 5 Yards - Black, Model: N54-05-1 , Home & Outdoor Store

  1. Remove plants from home but leave the shrubs and trees. This will reduce possible shelters for the insects and will improve the air flow. Mow your lawns in a timely manner.
  2. Install small nets over all windows. Go for the ones that have small netting so that even the tiniest insects won’t be able to penetrate, like Skeeta No-see-um Netting (Check the current price). Hang a curtain made of light fabric over the front door and cover the bed with a fine-mesh canopy.
  3. Close the windows on the lee side, no-see-ums are weak-fliers, so they will have a hard time flying against the wind.
  4. Install ceiling and window fans at home to reduce heat and repel these weak-fliers. They barely bite even if there is the slightest airflow.
  5. Don’t let the water pour out of the hoses after watering the garden or washing your car. Try not to engage in such activities in the evening when the insects’ activity is at its peak.
  6. Pay attention to their behavioral pattern in relation to the moon cycle in your neighborhood. The biting activity of this species increases a few days after a full and new moon. Taking that into account, plan a BBQ when their activity is minimal.
  7. Turn off the street lights if possible as most midges are attracted by the bright lights.

No-see-ums bites treatment

What should you do if you weren’t able to avoid a bite?

  1. Rinse the wound. Rinse the wound thoroughly with soap or use an alcohol wipe to reduce the risk of irritation spreading.
  2. Minimize the itch around the bite. The best tested method for that is to dissolve baking soda in water and apply this mixture on the bite. You can also use such products as StingEze Dauber (Check the current price) or Benadryl Itch Relief Spray (Check the current price). They will be helpful when camping, and will save you countless times.
  3. Take allergy pills(antihistamines).

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3 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of No-See-Ums. Scientifically Approved Treatment and the Comparative Review of the Best Products”

  1. Annette Elaine Jones

    Thank you for all your valuable information. I’ve been battling No-see-ums in our house for 4 weeks. They are constantly around me, but my husband has never been bothered even once. And they are nearly invisible. The only time I see them is when I fill the bathroom sink up with water, then lean over the sink and and get the bugs to fall off of me and go into the sink by scratching my head, shaking my top, and shaking my arms. Then I look with my magnifying glass at the water and see what I believe to be bugs that are extremely small and almost translucent. They vary in size. Many are too small for me to really make out. Then some are more visible. They lie still on the surface of the water, and the water carries them around the circle of the sink. I’ve seen them attach to each other while floating along. Finally I saw one swimming the other day, because he had a tiny thread he was trying to break free from. I just got a new magnifying glass that has lights in it, so I’m hoping it will help. Because I don’t think my husband totally believes that these bugs exist. He looked one time in the bathroom sink, but it takes time to get the lighting just right to catch a glimpse of one of the bugs, and he has no patience and won’t take the time. We’ve lived in this house for 21 years and I’ve never been bothered by any bugs before. At night when I’m in bed, I’ve had these bugs get on my eyebrows, get onto my eyelashes, walk across the top of my upper lip, try to get into my nose. I wanted to tell you that I’ve used Deet repellent, and I’ve used Sawyer repellents, but my favorite repellent is Avon – the one that comes in a pouch, which contains 8 smaller pouches, each holding one sheet. It has Picaridin in it, and I think they combine it with their Skin So Soft lotion. One sheet can do your whole body fairly well. I have several body creams, and I find it helps to rotate and use one of these creams sometimes also. Yesterday I vacuumed my bedroom thoroughly, under my bed and more, and when I went to bed I felt like the bugs were about gone. I was almost undisturbed. Then this morning our lawn service people came and mowed our lawn, and when they swept by the front yard, the No-see-ums seemed to just fly through my window into my room – I could hear them hitting the blinds – and we don’t have ANY windows opened in our house ever since I’ve had this bug problem. I don’t know how they do it! How can they get into my bedroom like that with a window closed, and there are screens on the window also. The house is getting old, and I think there are just too many cracks and openings…

  2. I feel your pain. I’m in Florida six months months of the year and they eat me alive! Thanks for the tips

    1. Wendy, Thanks so much for your comment. Most of the StopPestInfo team is up in Alaska right now. We cant wait for summer!!! But we know it that means no-see-ums… best to be prepared for the battle!

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