Why No-See-Ums Are Attracted To Your Yard (& Tips To Deter Them)

If just reading the word no-see-ums makes you instantly start itching, you aren't alone. There are over 4,000 different species of no-see-ums, or biting midges as they are also known, so it's likely that they have bugged you at some point in your life. No-see-ums are given their name because, well, you usually can't see them. Humans often notice their presence when they feel the bite, which can be painful and itchy. If you suddenly have a swarm of these tiny biters in your yard, it may be due to a few things such as stagnant water, perfume, and things you can't control, like body heat and the COyou emit, which also attracts no-see-ums.

No-see-ums use their petiteness as a way to pester and bite humans, but just because we can't physically see them doesn't mean we can't get rid of them. Some species of no-see-ums have a relatively short life span, which can expedite getting rid of them if you follow the correct steps. Plus, they do not form habitats inside your home (although they will venture inside if they smell things like rotting fruit), so your focus can remain outdoors to eliminate them entirely. Here's why no-see-ums seem to love your yard and how to get rid of them once and for all.

Things attracting no-see-ums to your yard (and to you)

No-see-ums, or biting midges, often swarm near bodies of water and appear most often when the weather is humid and still, particularly in the nighttime or early morning. Many species of no-see-ums love a marsh or a cattle farm, where there is wet soil plastered with manure, but they also love a good backyard. If you have a space in your yard that is prone to flooding or puddling, either due to a leaky sprinkler or a dip in your deck, it can become a breeding ground for no-see-ums.

The biggest concern when it comes to no-see-ums is their bite. Females need a blood source in order to grow their eggs, so they are always on the hunt for it — meaning you, as a human, are an ideal host. If you are wearing perfume or sweating outdoors, you will likely become a target. Dark clothing is also a trigger as it makes you easier to spot.

How to deter no-see-ums

We can't control our local weather or the fact that we need to breathe and emit COwhen outdoors, but there are things we can control to prevent no-see-ums from ruining our backyard. Some of the best ways to remove biting midges are to remove any stagnant water and disinfect that area with repellants once the water is cleared or try home remedies. One thing they really do not like is essential oils, which can be a great hack for keeping them and other bugs away. Before you venture outside, mix essential oils with water in a sprayer and spray it directly on your skin. 

Spraying insecticides is not recommended, as they would need to be applied daily to make any difference. Still, you can instead try repellents that have DEET, an ingredient you can find with repellents labeled for mosquito removal. Adding screens to your outdoor space is also a great way to ensure no-see-ums are not reaching you, as long as the holes in the screen are small enough to prevent their entry. Installing an outdoor fan can keep them away as well, as they are not strong enough to withstand the wind it generates. If you are dealing with an infestation of these tiny insects, you may want to consult a professional to help completely eliminate the problem.