Getting Invisible Bites at Night? Here’s What’s Bugging You
It's a scene that unfolds in countless homes and apartments across Louisiana every evening, especially when the weather is warm. You're sleeping or attempting to sleep and you suddenly feel like you've been bitten. You didn't hear the telltale buzz of a mosquito in the dark but when you turn the lights on you see a small red whelp, usually several of them, and while the pain isn't excruciating, it sure as heck is annoying.
Chances are you have just had an encounter with a very small biting midge, known colloquially as a "no-see-um". It's pretty obvious how these pains in the, pick a body part, earned their name. Even in the light of day, you can't really detect them with your eyes. It's only after they have inflicted their pain that you realize you've been tasted.
Like mosquitoes, no-see-ums like things hot, sticky, and wet. They thrive in climates that are damp and if you've been in Louisiana for the past two weeks, you know we've been more than damp because of torrential rains. And despite the fact that you might keep your home locked up tight and secure from mosquitoes, no-see-ums can find a way inside and then make a home in your potted plants.
For the most part, the bite of the no-see-um is slightly painful but more annoying than anything. The discomfort usually goes away in a few hours but the fact that you might have several bites on your arms, feet, neck, hands, and even face tends to make the discomfort less than palatable.
To ease that discomfort most entomologists suggest you use over-the-counter cortisone creams to battle the itching. If you get enough bites there could be inflammation and swelling so an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine might be needed. In severe cases, a visit to a walk-in clinic or Emergency Room might be required.
The females of the species are the ones that are the most annoying to humans and other animals. The males do not bite but the females need the blood from their host for their eggs to develop. The life span of the species is about two to six weeks and you are most likely to get the most bites if you spend time close to an area where the young insects are emerging.
To control no-see-ums you can use standard insect repellants as well as aerosol sprays in large rooms or community areas. If the problem persists you might want to move some of your indoor plants outside for a few days. You'll find the problem will disappear, not that you could actually see it, once the soil in the potted plant has dried out.
Don't forget to water that plant because like the no-see-um it too will eventually die due to lack of water. But at least it won't leave you uncomfortable and itching.
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