No-See-Ums vs. Bed Bugs: What’s Biting You?

adult biting midges

Tiny but troublesome, no-see-ums and bed bugs pack a big punch. No-see-ums, or biting midges, zoom around water bodies at dawn and dusk, leaving itchy red marks with their bites.

On the other hand, bed bugs are night-time ninjas hiding in mattresses and furniture crevices, causing skin irritations and allergies. Both pests are stealthy but have different hangouts and habits.

Curious about how to tackle these pesky invaders effectively? Keep reading to learn the nifty details and clever strategies to manage these minuscule yet mighty nuisances.

Key Takeaways

  • No-see-ums are tiny insects known for causing disproportionately irritating bites and thrive in moist environments.
  • Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown, blood-feeding pests infesting areas by hitching rides on luggage and clothing.
  • The main differences between no-see-ums and bed bugs include size, color, and the presence of wings.
  • Preventing infestations of these pests involves installing fine mesh screens, using protective bedding, decluttering, and selecting effective insect repellents.
  • Professional pest control is recommended for severe or persistent infestations, which involves detailed steps from initial assessment to post-treatment follow-ups.


No-see-ums, also known as biting midges, sand flies, or biting gnats, are tiny pests that cause irritating and out-of-proportion bites to their minuscule size.

Identifying No-See-Ums

Here are the key features to look for when identifying no-see-ums:

SizeOften no larger than the head of a pin (1-4 mm)
ColorLight gray to black
WingsTranslucent with sparse hairs
EyesLarge and iridescent, taking up a significant portion of the head

Habitats and Behaviors

No-see-ums thrive in specific environments and exhibit unique behavioral patterns.

Understanding these can help manage and avoid infestations, especially in notorious areas like Louisiana and Florida.

Where do no-see-ums live?

  • Moisture-laden Areas: Provide optimal breeding conditions for no-see-ums.
  • Breeding Grounds: Common breeding grounds include mud, wet sand, and decaying vegetation.

What time are no-see-ums most active?

  • Dawn and Dusk: Most active during the twilight hours.
  • Seasonal Activity: During the warmer months.

No-see-ums lifecycle

  • Lifespan: Generally live from two to seven weeks.
  • Lifecycle: Four stages include eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.


Bed bugs are small, elusive insects that feed on human blood, often leaving itchy bite marks.

They can cause considerable distress to homeowners like you due to their persistent presence once they establish an infestation.

Identifying Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have a distinctive appearance that can aid in their identification:

ColorTypically reddish-brown, gaining a reddish hue after feeding on a blood meal
ShapeOval and flat
SizeAbout the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm)
FeaturesSmall, stubby antenna with six legs; lack wings

Common Habitats and Spread

Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to hitch rides and infest new areas, progressing through several life stages:

  • Life Stages: Bed bugs begin as tiny, white eggs before maturing into nymphs (juveniles) and eventually adults.
  • Mode of Transportation: These pests commonly travel via luggage, furniture, and clothing, exploiting the mobility of their human hosts to spread to new locations.
  • Thriving Locations: They are not specific to any one environment as long as they have access to a human host. Common infestation sites include homes, hotels, shelters, and dormitories.


NO-SEE-UMS VS. BED BUGS comparison

Here’s a closer look at the physical differences between no-see-ums and bed bugs to help you better identify these pests:

FeatureNo-See-UmsBed Bugs
SizeVery tiny, typically 1-3 mm in lengthLarger, around 5-7 mm in length
ColorUsually light gray to blackReddish-brown to dark brown
WingsHave wings and are capable of flightDo not have wings, cannot fly
VisibilityDifficult to see with the naked eyeVisible to the naked eye
ProboscisLong proboscis for piercing skin and sucking bloodShorter beak-like mouthpart for feeding on blood

Biting Patterns

Entomologists say no-see-ums and bed bugs bite humans. Hence, knowing their biting patterns and health implications is crucial for effectively managing and treating their bites.

Here’s a guide to help you with the differences and similarities in their biting behavior and the resulting health effects:

AspectNo-See-Um BitesBed Bug Bites
Bite AppearanceLeaves itchy, red welts or dotsCauses itchy hives, often in a line or cluster
Feeding TimeTypically bite during dawn and duskUsually, bite at night when the host is asleep
Bite Symptom OnsetImmediate itchy sensation after being bittenItchy sensations might take a few days to develop after the initial bite
Allergic ReactionSome individuals may experience allergic reactions to bitesAllergic reactions can occur, ranging from mild to severe
TransmissionDo not transmit diseases to humans, but bites can be very itchy and annoyingDo not transmit diseases, but repeated bites can cause sleep disturbances
Treatment RecommendationOver-the-counter antihistamines and anti-itch creams are commonly usedDermatologist-prescribed remedies, anticoagulants, or antihistamines can help manage symptoms


Effective prevention and control are vital to avoiding the nuisances and health risks of no-see-ums and bed bugs.

Prevention TipsDetails
Install Window ScreensFine mesh screens keep no-see-ums out.
Use Protective BeddingEncase mattresses and pillows to deter bed bugs.
Declutter Living SpacesLess clutter means fewer hiding spots for bed bugs.
Regularly Wash Bed LinensHot water washing eliminates potential no-see-ums and bed bugs.
Seal Cracks and CrevicesDeny entry for both pests by sealing off access points.
Essential Oil Diffusers (DIY)Some oils may repel no-see-ums; not effective against bed bugs.


When experiencing non-stop blisters or itchy welts, your humble abode has become a buffet for no-see-ums or bed bugs! It may be time to wave the white flag and call in pest control experts.

Whether you’re in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, seeking expert help should be easy. For immediate intervention for a severe infestation, let Lajaunie’s bed bug control specialists tailor a solution that’s right for your home.

For more information about the areas we service, visit our location page.