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No-See-Ums Identification, Prevention & Treatment

The coast, unfortunately, is home to minute biting insects known locally as "sandflies" (elsewhere as "no-see'ums” or "punkies"), although the more correct name is "biting midges."

Sadly, your property owner is particularly susceptible to these nuisance pests and just like the Farmer's Insurance spokesman, "I know a thing or two, because I've experienced a thing or two."

On a trip last year, I was working on staining the steps down to the pool deck. It was getting near dusk, but I was eager to push on to finish the last of the project. I got hammered by the no-see-ums, although I didn't fully realize it at the time.

Not everyone is impacted by biting midges in the same way. Apparently, some of us are more tasty than others. In reality, it is related more to skin type. Since an early age, I've had more skin reactions and show a greater allergic response. This is why you will never find me on an episode of Survivor. It just won't take long before I succumb to the insects.


What does a no-see-um look like if you can't see em?

That's just a name they've given these sand flies. You CAN actually see them. But they are smaller than most insects. Their size is often compared to the very tip of a pencil.

You will sometimes feel a bite (but not always), smack your body at what appears to be nothing by the time you look at where you hit yourself. You might even think you've gone a little "el loco" while on vacation.

A day or two later you look at yourself and you see something like what is in these photos.

Quite common is a cluster of bites on your feet, ankles and lower leg from walking on the beach. You can also have clusters on your arms if working like I did staining my stairs with my arms exposed. But you can be bitten just about anywhere.

No-See-Um Prevention:

We have pest control treat for mosquitoes around our properties, but this is not necessarily a solution for no-see-ums.

To prevent bites from no-see-ums, consider avoiding being outside during the hours of dawn and dusk or when the air is still.  If you do go out during these times, wearing clothing like shoes, socks, pants, shirt are one of the most effective ways to prevent no-see-um bites.

You can also try using an insect repellent containing DEET or one marked for use against no-see-ums, although some suggest DEET is barely effective for preventing no-see-ums.  

Learn more at No No-See-Ums - They sell an all-natural repellent made from oils of plants (Lemongrass, Citronella, Geranium oils).

Unfortunately, once bitten, a small red dot can grow into a 1" to 2" red mark with a raised welt. These marks become quite itchy. I have a highly allergic response and that pushes my recovery to two weeks. Most people recover from the irritation from the bites much quicker; a few days.


There are some home remedies to help ease the itch of no-see-um bites we can share:

  1. The application of underarm deodorant to the bite.

  2. Wiping the bite with rubbing alcohol.

  3. Applying toothpaste to the affected area.

  4. Mixing baking soda with water to make a paste and rubbing it onto the bite.

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