How Do You Get Rid of No See Um Bites Fast?

No see um bites should be resolved as fast as possible because they can cause significant annoyance and even serious health problems. Technically, however, no see ums really do not bite in the strict sense of the word. Instead, they pierce your skin using mouthparts that have been specially adapted for the task.

Their mouth apparatus is composed of four small cutting blades in a fleshy sheath, which is very efficient for feeding on human skin. No see ums can also feed on pets, but your pet’s fur offers a bit of protection for their skin. So how can you get rid of no see um bites fast?

To get rid of no see um bites fast, wash it with water and soap to avoid irritation and infection. Never scratch it. Compresses; analgesic and cortisone creams; essential oils; rubbing alcohol; deodorant; baking soda; toothpaste; and honey lessen symptoms. If the problem worsens, consult a doctor.

For the purposes of our discussion, we will use the term “bite” when referring to the feeding activity of no see ums.

Among the two sexes of this bothersome insect, however, you should not blame the male, for it is actually the female that sucks and feeds on your blood.

The male no see um only feeds on plant matter and nectar. The female needs your very nutritious blood for the protein they need to successfully lay healthy eggs. When seen under the microscope, the female begins to turn into a pinkish-red coloration after it has fed on blood.

She then looks for a dark and moist area where she can lay eggs that will serve to perpetuate her species.

You should try to know everything you need to know regarding no see um bites in order to avoid being bitten, identify a bite from the bite of another insect, and treat and eliminate no see um bites fast. We will show you how in this article.

How to Get Rid of No See Um Bites Fast

no see um
Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

The bad news about the bites of no see ums are the itchiness and irritation that you experience from them. The bites cause this reaction because no see um saliva has histamines and proteins that prevent the coagulation of the blood on the bite site and keep it pooling on your skin’s surface.

This facilitates the purpose of the no see um for biting you: to suck and feed on your blood which they essential need to successfully reproduce.

You can take several measures to eliminate no see um bites fast. You can help in accelerating the healing process and apply supportive treatment as well as other measures, which are all essential in the treatment process.

We will discuss the various measures which you can take to treat these bites and relieve the itchiness, pain, and suffering they cause.

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Observe the symptoms

It is important to be observant of the bite, its appearance, as well as its symptoms. These are important in order to be able to take the proper course of action in treating it.

For example, the bite area will show a small, red-colored dot that, as the days go by, could expand to a diameter of up to one or two inches. It could also gradually raise into a welt, which is characterized by extreme itchiness and mild pain and can persist for up to two weeks.

Avoid scratching the bite area

The first thing to remember when you are experiencing extreme discomfort and itchiness from a no see um bite is to do your very best to avoid scratching it.

If you scratch the bite to relieve the itching, you can expose your skin to secondary bacterial infection and you may worsen the lesion. Try to avoid scratching the site especially if they have already developed into welts.

You may consider trimming your nails and always keeping them clean so that you can minimize the damage and possibility of infection if you should ever unconsciously scratch the bite site and welts while you are sleeping.

Monitor your skin and look for other bites

If you notice one or more bites on a skin that is easily visible to you, you should also inspect the rest of your body if other parts of your skin have also been bitten and show symptoms.

No see ums usually travel as large groups; in addition, individuals can and do bite different areas multiple times. Thus, it is quite probable that you actually have more bites in other areas of your skin.

You should look for clusters composed of red dots throughout your skin or look for developing welts. The areas that no see ums often bite include the back of your neck, your hands, and your legs. However, they are also capable and do not hesitate to bite on any part of the skin as long as it is exposed.

Wash with warm water and soap

You should wash the bite site using warm water and soap, preferably a mild and antibacterial type of soap. Wash all the bitten areas, preferably as soon as you become aware of them.

Washing will remove the residual toxic saliva left by the no see ums when they bit your skin. The saliva is the cause of skin irritation and itching. Washing the bite site also helps reduce your risk of a bacterial infection.

Apply Cold compress to relieve itchines and pain

You can relieve the itchiness, pain, and swelling of the bite by using a cold compress on the area. For this purpose, you can use an ice pack or clean washcloth that has been soaked and dipped in very cold water. You can even use frozen vegetables in a bag.

Press the cold material against the site of the bite for about 10 minutes. Repeat the process several times until you get satisfactory results.

Cold compress works to numb the bite area, thus reducing tenderness and pain. It also lessens inflammation and swelling. It works as well in reducing bleeding, if present.

Use hot compress to stimulate blood flow

Afterward, you can also apply heat in order to stimulate blood flow to the bite area. Take note that you should never use a hot compress immediately and within 48 hours after any injuries, including no see um bites.

To make a hot compress, you can use a damp towel soaked in warm water. Never use boiling water, as it may scald you.

You may also use a heating pad, although you should be careful to avoid any burns by not putting your skin in direct contact with the pad. You can use a towel and place it on your skin where you will apply the pad.

You may also apply moderately hot water on a cotton swab to put over the bite.

Use over-the counter medication

You can soothe the symptoms of swelling, itchiness, and pain of no see um bites by using over-the-counter medication products. The local drugstore in your area has a variety of topical and oral medicines that can relieve them.

You can apply an analgesic cream to reduce the pain.

For itchiness, you may take an antihistamine drug. Meanwhile, any over-the-counter cortisone or hydrocortisone cream can remedy the problem of swelling and itching.

A zinc cream is capable of dealing with skin irritation and rashes. Calamine lotion can also help in easing the itching.

Make sure that you follow closely the directions of every over-the-counter medication you use. Pay special attention to any contraindications on the label, and do not use the medication in case there are circumstances where it is contraindicated.

Otherwise, the product may produce unwanted reactions. In cases like this, do not use such products. Always read and follow the label, instructions, and contraindications BEFORE you take any of these products.

Use essential oils

The application of essential oils is useful for relieving the swelling and itching caused by no see um bites. Some of the essential oils which can be effective for this purpose include tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint.

Remember to only use therapeutic-grade and pure essential oils; however, do not directly apply them on your skin undiluted. You should mix them with some drops of oils that serve as a carrier. You may use sweet almond, aloe vera gel, or jojoba oils for this purpose.

Failing to dilute the essential oils may cause further irritation of your skin.

Take a cold shower

Similarly with washing the bite areas with soap and water, you can also take a cold shower to help relieve the itchiness of the bites.

biting midge
Image credit: Charles Olsen, USDA APHIS PPQ, USDA APHIS PPQ,

Use rubbing alcohol for disinfection

You can use rubbing alcohol on no-see-um bites because they have a cooling effect on the treated bite area. When the alcohol starts drying, the skin experiences this coolness. This sensation is helpful in reducing itching.

In addition, rubbing alcohol also has a disinfecting function, which helps prevent the area from getting infected.

Remember not to overuse this substance, because too much application can also cause irritation.

Try deodorant, baking soda, toothpaste, and honey

Unintended use of deodorant is as an itch reliever for no see um bites. Deodorant sticks are also useful in removing moisture and toxins from the bite area due to their aluminum chloride component.

For a home remedy, you can try applying a paste made of baking soda mixed with water. Apply this paste several times per day until the symptoms of itching and inflammation disappear.

You can also apply some toothpaste to the bite area. This substance has menthol which creates a cooling and soothing effect that alleviates the itching and inflammation.

Honey is useful in reducing the swelling or inflammation of the bite. It also has antibacterial properties, so that it can also help prevent infection.

See your doctor

If the symptoms and lesions are getting severe or are not responding to the remedies and medications that you have been using, it is best to consult with your doctor immediately.

For example, if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty in swallowing, rashes, wheezing, and others, you should consider this as a serious matter. Similarly, extreme skin irritation, severe discomfort, and excessive pain are all signs that warrant consultation with your doctor.

Even more serious symptoms are the signs of an infection, which include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, nausea, and pus, and tenderness in the bite area.

Signs of more serious and systemic disease may also include sores in the skin, weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy, cough, and anemia. Infection and systemic disease need immediate medical attention.

How to Prevent No See Um Bites

Once you have experienced being bitten by no see ums, you will surely not want that experience to ever be repeated. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to avoid such bites when you are in their presence or habitat. This is due to the fact that they have bodies that are very small and can infiltrate and penetrate even small exposed areas of your skin.

Around your home, the best way in which to prevent no see um bites is to take proactive measures in removing them from your property.

Think about implementing preventive pest control measures with the help of professional pest exterminators. There are several affordable and highly effective solutions to keep no see ums from pestering you in your home. Such advice can be provided in consultation with these pest control professionals.

The best way to avoid being bitten by no see ums is to use repellents on your skin. There are many products that effectively repel no see ums this way. Some contain formulated chemicals, while others contain natural repellents like plant oils and other substances which no see ums hate. Some people find these products useful, but others think that they are not effective.

You can protect yourself and your pets from no see ums further while you are outdoors by striving to stay indoors during the hours of dusk and dawn. These are the hours when these pests demonstrate the most activity.

How to Identify No See Um Bites

no see um
Image credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

To get rid of a problem such as a no see um bite, you should first be able to identify a bite and determine its cause.

The red bite marks that are itching on your skin could come from many insects other than no see ums. These may look similar in appearance and may seem to look the same to the untrained eye.

The appearance of insect bites could be tricky, although there are indications that you can look for to determine how to differentiate them. For no see um bites, you can experience a slight sting when you are bitten. This is not as severe as the sting of a bee, however; instead, it is closer to the feeling you get from a mosquito bite.

After you feel this comes the feeling of itchiness. This is caused by the saliva of the no see um having a reaction to your skin.

You will also see the bite site developing a significantly sized welt which measures around one inch. The bite site will have a small reddened dot that itches a lot.

No see um bite symptoms can be variable because the reaction of the skin depends on individual sensitivity and other factors.

The bites of no see ums are also very painful as well as irritating. They are much more intense than the bites of mosquitoes and take a longer time to resolve or disappear.

As for the location of their bites, no see ums most frequently prefer to bite the back of your neck, legs, and hands. However, they are attracted to any part of your skin, as long as it is exposed and is accessible to them.

When a no see um bites your skin, it will inject, using its mouthparts, its saliva underneath your skin.

One of the reactions come in the form of blood pooling under your skin, which develops as a small, itchy, red splotch. From that point, it will usually develop and grow larger into a discolored lesion measuring a maximum of two inches in diameter.


What is the color of no see ums?

No see ums have different colorations during their various life stages. When they are laid as eggs, they are colored white; this later changes, turning into black or brown.

Their larvae are colored creamy white, while the colors of the pupae are pale yellow, light brown, and dark brown. Meanwhile, the adults are gray-colored. If a female is full of the blood it has ingested, it can influence the color of its abdomen and make it red or dark red.

You will have a hard time seeing these colors on no see ums due to their tiny size. However, their physical characteristics, including their coloration, are helpful for scientists in identifying the various species of no see ums.

How do you know if an insect bite has worsened?

You should consult your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms in an insect bite: swelling and pain that extends to the chest, back, and stomach; stomach cramps; sweating and chills; nausea; bodily aches; and a purple or dark blue area developing at the bite site’s center which then develops into a larger wound.

This article is part of What Are No See Ums Attracted To and What Repels Them? series.

Previous Post: Are No See Ums Dangerous?

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