No-see-ums: Those Pesky Biting Midges Are Back!

My wife says I have ugly feet. Normally I’d disagree, but not today. Because today my feet are ugly, and painful, and itchy and, well, they look like this…

no-see-um bitesLet’s take a closer look…

no-see-um bites closerUnhappy feet.

This, as many of you will know, is the work of Ceratopogonidae. Or, as they are more commonly known, biting midges, sandflies, no-see-ums, midgies, or punkies.

I’m going to call them no-see-ums, even though sometimes you can see them. Just not often.

I’ve written about these horrible, nasty little critters before…

But that was a long time ago. At the time I was being plagued by these things, so I took action. I settled on a two pronged attack.

First I started taking vitamin B; B6 specifically is supposed to be a deterrent. There is no scientific evidence for this, but for me it worked as I know it has for others. Interesting that you can get vitamin B from Vegemite, an Australian favourite, or Marmite, the slightly different (superior according to Mrs BobinOz) UK version.

Second, I bought a Yard Guard….

That was almost exactly 2 years ago and I wrote about all of this in a post called…

Update:

For the reasons explained on the following post, I now prefer a different kind of gadget to the Zapper. For more details, see:

End of update.

And guess what? Since then, no no-see-um bites. Until this week that is, as you can see from those poor pictures of my feet.

But a couple of things have happened lately. I stopped taking vitamin B and the bulb went on the Yard Guard.

Yes, I have learnt my lesson.

Meanwhile, I’ve also learned some new things about no-see-ums. They are very difficult to kill, partly because they are very difficult to see. But even when you see one and you try to spray it with with some kind of critter killer aerosol, the puff of air that arrives just ahead of the chemical tends to blow them out of the way.

Same thing happens if you try to kill one by clapping. As your hands come together to squash the little nasty, they seem to miraculously float out of the way.

Even if they don’t float out of the way, squishing one is unlikely to result in his death. Yesterday a no-see-um was on Elizabeth’s arm choosing a spot to feed on her blood, when I picked him off between my thumb and forefinger.

Squeezing very hard for a few seconds I was shocked to notice that when I parted my fingers, he was still alive. Hurt, yes! Dazed, certainly! But not dead.

Three squishes later he was though 🙂

Fortunately, they do die anyway. I know that because the small desk in my office had the dead bodies of about 20 no-see-ums in a space no bigger than the size of a computer keyboard.

So, I think it’s fair to say we have a plague of no-see-ums in our house. Perhaps a female has got in and laid some eggs? Who knows!

By the way, they never bite Elizabeth or Mrs BobinOz. They both eat Marmite. I don’t, but I am back on the vitamin B again and tomorrow I’m off to the hardware store to buy a new bulb.

Related Posts

It's good to share...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+1Share on Reddit0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0
Open a bank account in Australia
{ 62 comments… add one }
  • Vicki June 24, 2017, 3:56 pm | Link

    I found a few effective solutions from this site, Bob, and I want to thank you and others who have posted over the years. A few years ago, I wrote down several recommendations listed on your site and tried them one by one. I tried the B complex, but I got some sort of reaction on the roof of my mouth and had to quit taking. But one thing that works VERY well for me is vanilla scented car air fresheners. I buy them at auto-supply stores and I usually buy the Little Trees brand. So they are not very attractive to wear on your person, but I never get bit sitting out on my deck anymore. My friends get a kick out of me wearing a yellow Christmas tree on my wrist and ankle, but now some of them are starting to use them. This has been life-changing for me because, before trying these, I had gotten to where I didn’t want to go outside during warm weather anymore.

    Another tip I got from your site, was to use heat on a bite to stop the itching. That totally works! I started out heating a spoon in hot water and holding the spoon on the bite, but that takes too long and not efficient if you have several bites. I now use a hair dryer. It’s very fast, if you have multiple bites. Just aim the dryer heat until it gets too hot to handle (you need to stop before burning your skin, which I did once). The itching will get intense and then stop. This method works for several hours. This is the only thing that has worked for me. But I did note recently that a few people recommend topical treatments (like cortisone cream), but they said to apply a few layers, if necessary. I will try cortisone again, but be more diligent. I don’t always have a hair dryer handy.

    I’ve also found a few of the homemade solutions in a spray bottle to be effective to prevent getting bit.

    Again, thank you for this site, and a big thank you for all who post. I hope I help others by sharing my experience. I think the post I read a few years ago about the vanilla air fresheners has been taken down. I don’t see it listed.

    • BobinOz June 26, 2017, 7:40 pm | Link

      Very pleased to hear some of the tips and tricks mentioned here have worked for you in the fight against mozzies. There are so many different supposed remedies about, some work for some people and not others, so it’s all a bit hit and miss at times.

      So is good to hear you have had some success with some of these things, I hope they continue to work for some time. I’m sure you look quite ‘different’ with your Christmas tree bangles 🙂

  • Kim Daugherty May 4, 2017, 8:45 pm | Link

    Hi, I need to know how to keep the blind mosquito or midges from sticking to my house or rv . they stain and it won’t come off! Is there a spray or oil I can out in my house to keep them from sticking to it?

    • BobinOz May 5, 2017, 8:07 pm | Link

      Get a can of eucalyptus spray, you can pick it up from any chemist or maybe even the supermarket. It’s marvellous for many things, so you won’t waste your money, and my guess is it could work for this. I’ve not tried it for this particular problem, but eucalyptus is great at de-gunging all sorts of things, so it could be the answer.

  • Margaret February 6, 2017, 2:06 pm | Link

    My body has been taken over by these bugs, truthfully my life has been taken over by them. Right now I have at least 35 of the bites from those buggers. I started with them this last summer, I had a few bits. I ignored them because there are so many critters to bit you here in Wisconsin in the summer. Well they’ve gotten so much worse. I’ve had two doctors and one dermatologist tell me it’s my dry skin, and to use lotion on my skin and the bumpy redness keeps getting worse. I’ve told all three doctors it’s a bug bite, not a dry skin rash. I think they’re writing me off because of my age (62 years young) and think I’m making it worse by thinking it’s bug bites. I have an appointment with the dermatologist next week, she was sure my rash would be gone. I’m bring my lap top with
    me to show them your page, and others that describe exactly what’s been eating me alive. 🙂

    • BobinOz February 6, 2017, 6:57 pm | Link

      Sounds horrible Margaret, I do hope the dermatologist sorts this out for you, and quickly. Itchy skin is very unpleasant, no matter how young you are 🙂

      Let’s hope they find out what the true problem is and find a solution for you. Good luck, Bob

  • Karen January 30, 2017, 5:46 pm | Link

    On a Bonanza re-run recently, Mr. Cartwright’s cows got fleas so Hoss and Little Joe put sulfur in their feed and water, and it cured them. I bought over the counter (on Amazon), Hyland’s Sulfur 30x tablets, eat 6 when needed and they quickly relieve itches & bites, until next swarm. arrgghh. thanks, karen

    • BobinOz January 30, 2017, 7:17 pm | Link

      Bonanza was on TV and I missed it?? Luckily for me I think I saw that episode 44 years ago 🙂

      Anyway, interesting suggestion, I’ve just read some of the reviews on an online Australian herbal remedy store that sells these tablets, most people say it works. It’s apparently good for itchy skin, sunburn, eczema, hives etc so I can see how it can help with this.

      Who would have thought Bonanza would have been good all these years later with a bit of medical advice.

      Good tip Karen, thanks.

  • Kerry kemp October 9, 2016, 2:54 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, don’t know if your still posting but I wonder if you have any new updates on sandfly bites. I’ve just moved & where I’ve never been bothered by these pesky things before, now they’re driving me mad. Yes I’m near a river but my sister who has lived near here for 30 years says she’s never seen or been bitten by so many of them, thanks in advance

    • BobinOz October 10, 2016, 5:37 pm | Link

      Yes, I’m still posting, and the last update is mentioned in the above post, click on the link that says Preparing for Summer Part One: Mosquitoes.

      Living by a river really won’t help you, but there are some steps you can take to try minimise the bites. I hope you find a way because these things do drive you mad when you can’t get rid of them. Good luck, Bob

  • Leonie July 23, 2016, 1:59 pm | Link

    Interesting comments. As of today ALL my indoor plants are now outside as i didnt realise about the pooling! Best thing i’ve ever used on my skin for the itch, and it’s very effective is Japanese rice wine vinegar (aussie vinegar is not strong enough!)
    Cheers Leonie

    • BobinOz July 24, 2016, 8:42 pm | Link

      Japanese rice wine vinegar, that’s a new one, I’ve not heard that before. Definitely worth a try though, thanks.

  • Wanda June 1, 2016, 4:54 am | Link

    Hi bob
    We haven’t got rid of them but every evening before sunset we close all windows (even the ones that have screens). As we are going to bed, and once the lights are turned off and the fan that is directed at the bed is on then my husband will open the window. Pretty simple but we are sleeping bite free!

    • BobinOz June 1, 2016, 11:12 pm | Link

      That’s great news, sounds like you have some kind of control over them now. Closing the windows is a great idea, I think these critters are so tiny that they squeeze in through those screens.

      I think it’s the fans that are making a big difference as well, I think they stuff up their ability to smell your human skin which they know is a potential source for their bloodsucking.

      If they don’t know where you are, they can’t bite you 🙂

  • K-Hill May 31, 2016, 6:58 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Great blog. Many compliments for your efforts.

    You have some posts on no-see-um’s but I cannot figure out how you managed to eliminate the no-see-um’s. These little criatures are also on my target-list. You gave some clues but what action was most decisive?

    Was it:
    – removing the standing water
    – the bug eater
    – the vitamin B

    Guess these are all possibly good actions, but which one is ranked number one? Thanks in advance!!

    Kind regards,

    K-Hill

    • BobinOz May 31, 2016, 8:36 pm | Link

      Yes, everything, do everything you can. And cross your fingers. All three of these things will help in my view and I wouldn’t rank one above any of the others, they are all equal but even so, there are no guarantees that it will work. These things are really pesky!

      • K-Hill May 31, 2016, 9:51 pm | Link

        Thnx Bob.

        Sounds good, removing all standing water from my premises can be done (although the neighbours sometimes haven’t the cleanest pool) and vitamins (B1 or B6 or B12?) can be taken daily.

        The only problem I have with complying with those rules is to find a bug eater in Europe. Cannot find a dealer or wholesaler here. The idea to attract these insects with water sounds appealing to me.

        Regards,

        K-Hill

        • BobinOz June 1, 2016, 10:52 pm | Link

          I don’t think a swimming pool will be a problem, these things only like stagnant water so if there is a pump running, they won’t like it. Pretty sure they don’t like the chlorine either. Good luck, hope you manage to find one of those bug eaters. Cheers, Bob

  • Glenno November 25, 2014, 8:31 am | Link

    I’m not advocating anyone drink kero, in the same way I’m keen to steer clear of antibiotic creams, just in case the day comes when my life depends on those antibiotics working for me. I was only passing on one man’s story. Another cheap & easy solution is to mix 1/2 a bottle of baby oil (the carrier), 1/2 a bottle of dettol (antiseptic) with say 5ml of citronella oil (repellant), give a good shake as they don’t mix well, then rub on your skin. It’s oily & not so nice when it’s hot & humid but tolerable in the evening if you know you’ll be having a shower b4 bed. But seriously, I would be looking for deterrents as in smells. In the same way you would not like to live near a sewerage pond, or breathe in diesel/car fumes you need to work out what bloody midges find offensive. That could come with diet (eg: you yourself can find it unpleasant to be near someone that loves their garlic or curry). Indoor sprays (essential oils /dried flowers/herbs or maybe a concoction of ground up green/weaver ants [which r edible]). Outdoor plants, there’s lots of different plants/shrubs/flowers that can be grown that are a deterrent at the time of year when needed as a result of some insects finding the smell intolerable. Those into permaculture & organics use plants to keep pests away from their crops… OR you could put a few drops of blood on a steel plate & spend your evening smashing them with a sledge hammer.

    • BobinOz November 25, 2014, 2:42 pm | Link

      I certainly agree with your preferred method of repellent Glenno and I’m not talking about the blood and hammer method. Personally I’m really not keen on putting deet onto my skin, I know it works great for repelling those mozzies, but I’m really not sure what it’s doing to my body.

      So, like yourself, I prefer to look at other deterrents. I take vitamin B each day and that seems to help and I have a Bug Eater in my yard. As I’ve mentioned to Blanche above, I’ve not tried them but the repellent wristbands look interesting and they work on the same principles you are talking about, emitting a smell that the mozzies just don’t like, hopefully.

      I have no idea if they work or not though, it’s something I plan to look into in the near future and I’ll probably be writing a post about it soon and looking for everybody’s opinion on it.

      It’s hard for me to test these things though, I’m lucky, I simply don’t seem to have any mozzies around my house. Well, lucky, or that Bug Eater and vitamin B is working because as you can see from the above images, I’ve not been immune to them in the past.

  • Blanche Sullivan November 24, 2014, 9:12 pm | Link

    I don’t think a tablespoon of kero would do much harm. I’m thinking of putting some sugar on the spoon and letting it slip down slowly and that way it wouldn’t burn anything (I hope).
    I can’t say they drive me out of house and home because they are worse out there than inside. I’ll keep an eye on this page and see who swallows the first kerosene. They make one’s life miserable so much so that I rarely go outdoors now. Keeping the grass short and spraying it with insecticide has been suggested but it would be hard to keep up the spraying with insecticide in summer. The grass grows so fast.

    • BobinOz November 25, 2014, 1:55 pm | Link

      I’m not sure adding sugar, another ‘poison’ to the kerosene would actually help that much, other than add to your waistline.

      Couple of things Blanche, have you tried using some Bug Eaters around your home and also, although I’ve never tried any, have you looked at the mosquito repelling wristbands that are now on the market?

      I’d at least take a look before considering kero 🙂 (even with sugar).

  • Glenno November 24, 2014, 9:16 am | Link

    I met an ol’ guy 60ish, at a caravan park in Bridgetown south of Perth a few years ago. He had been a driller contractor hence had moved around & worked in many different locations. Nothing ever bites him… insect wise. His solution was to once a month drink a tablespoon of kerosene. At first I didn’t believe him, but to convince me he drank a spoonful in front of me. He assured me it has never affected his health, and it apparently works as a result of your body slowly sweating it out through the pores of your skin, which acts as the deterrent. Another solution is to hang a rag soaked in kerosene up wind from the problem (or where you’re sitting). You can also try wiping your insect screens with the soaked rag and maybe hanging them over the outside of the screens. I haven’t tryed it, but maybe wipe your wrists & ankles with it. If you are up north in Qld, the green ants (the ones that build nests from leaves in paperbark trees), just simply get one ant, squash it with your fingers then rub on the bite.. and bingo the itch will be gone. If you want to get real serious, crush up a whole nest and rub it over your skin, nothing will bite you. The smell will keep everything away, including your best mates. There is another solution which means removing tree bark & burning it in the camp fire, but I wont mention it here as it’s a very slow growing native tree hence not an environmentally good way to go. These last remedies were given to me by an aboriginal elder..the squashed green ant on my itch worked for me… the itch instantly disappeared, never to return. It left me with a lot of respect for the knowledge they have accumulated over the centuries..

    • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 8:10 pm | Link

      Hmm, I’ve just googled “drinking kerosene” and found a website that basically says things like “Swallowing kerosene may cause damage to the linings of the mouth, throat, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, and intestines. If kerosene gets into the lungs (aspiration), serious and, possibly, permanent lung damage can occur.” It also suggests calling for medical help straightaway for assistance in the event of ingesting kerosene.

      There is a pretty long list of symptoms as well, including breathing difficulties, throat swelling, vision loss, vomiting, possibly with blood. So I’m not sure I’m ready to try kerosene just yet, I think I will stick to my vitamin B 🙂

  • Blanche March 12, 2013, 4:33 am | Link

    The advice I was given was to keep your grass cut short and stay away from grassed areas. This means stay locked up in the house and then you only have to outsmart those who get through the flyscreens. I spray the screens but still see them stuck in the wire.
    They must have been breeding inside the house because every day I swept them off the windowsills. I live uphill from a creek and apparently, when the wind blows this way, I cop them. I can’t tolerate sandflies either so maybe I should think seriously of migrating to a cold climate. Mosquitoe coils seem effective. I hide them under my computer on the floor. They don’t like smoke and you have to develop a tolerance to the smell of the coils.
    The Gold Coast Council sprays them and having just come back from my sister’s place in Currumbin, I was amazed to find no mosquitoes or midges there. She lives on a high hill and not down on the flat where the cannals have been built.
    Rid is the repellant I have found best in detering them and applied to bites, it does help. My scratshing led to several courses of antibiotics and I was left with horrible
    scars. This is a great country, I love it. Pity someone told all these pesky insects
    how geat it is. Don’t lose heart – we will find a solution. Hope I’m still around then.

    • BobinOz March 13, 2013, 12:37 pm | Link

      Sounds like you are not ideally located Blanche. Living close to a creek is not a good idea if you want to avoid the mozzies, living on a high hill, like your sister, is. I don’t really think you need to move to a cold climate, I think you will see a huge reduction in mozzie problems simply by moving somewhere where there are less mosquitoes.

      Not sure how long you’ve been here, but you might just find that the longer you stay the less these critters will bother you. It’s not uncommon to build up a bit of resistance, you might still get bitten, but you won’t need to scratch so much.

  • Jess January 14, 2013, 11:27 am | Link

    Oh my goodness! I have been going insane the past 3 summers from bites and finally figured out that it was midge bites! I moved to SE QLD almost 4 years ago, and every summer I wake up with bites everywhere and yet my husband doesn’t have a single one. I guess he has acclimatized where I have not! (He is aussie and I’m american…) I am definitely going to try out those coils as nothing else has worked for me.
    Thank you, thank you!

    • BobinOz January 14, 2013, 8:44 pm | Link

      It’s a strange thing Jess, but some people never seem to get bitten while others get covered in bites. Some people think it’s to do with cholesterol levels, others vitamen B, but I don’t think anybody really knows. My wife (originally from the UK) and my UK born daughter never seem to get bitten, but mozzies love me.

      It’s just the way it goes, unfortunately people like me and you are the losers.

      Hope the coils do their job, let us know how you get on.

      Cheers

      Bob

    • Gigi January 25, 2013, 12:36 pm | Link

      Jess I’m no expert but it could be that your husband is actually getting bitten but has no allergic reaction like you to noseeum bites, I understand some people desensitise over years but I haven’t in 3 summers of severe bites! These things will be the cause of a house move!

      Apparently they prefer cattle to humans, maybe I’ll invest in a cow, poor cows, they’re always lose!

  • gary cann January 8, 2013, 10:32 pm | Link

    hi bob
    i have just patented a new trap that will get rid of the residential midges out of your back yard
    im in broome and we have a bad problem with them …they swarm on the full and no moon thats why they are not around some times. they don’t actually breed in your yards but they do hide and feed during the day in your garden, then come out on dusk and dawn for there blood meal ..
    this is how my traps work, they go in the garden ( not near you) into the areas that the midges are hiding
    because the midges are so small they have a lot of predators that will eat them during the day so they like to hide low in the grass or under shrubs
    my traps are designed to give the midges every thing they are looking for warmth,moisture humidity and protection its the perfect midge home
    they natural go to the trap, so theres no need for attractants or lights
    in the trap is a small can of insecticide in an auto dispenser it give one puff of insecticide every hour ( one small can will last up to 4 months thats how little spray is used) and because the spray is in the trap other insects are only slightly effected.

    mozzies all so love the traps

    2 traps will do an average back yard 20m x 20m

    i send you a couple to try if you like and if any one is interested they are on gummtree Queensland under sandfly ( midge) traps

    and just a warning to every one ….BEWARE OF THE FULL MOON
    even with traps and barrier spays and repellants they can come in such numbers nothing will stop them ( unless all around you have traps in there yards ) …LOL

    • BobinOz January 9, 2013, 7:49 pm | Link

      Okay, these traps sound fantastic, but if I was a mozzie and I was looking for somewhere to hide and I found the ideal home, but then walked into it (sorry, flew into it) only to discover thousands of dead bodies, I’d smell a rat.

      But hopefully, mozzies are stupid.

      I would be more than happy to trial your traps out in my back garden and if they work, I’ll write a post about their brilliance here and then you will sell thousands and thousands of these devices and become incredibly rich.

      How does that sound? Just send me an email and we’ll sort it out. Are there really more mozzies about during a full moon? A friend of mine works in security, a bouncer, sorry, doorman, and he says there are always loads more fights when there is a full moon.

      Bloomin’ solar system!

      Cheers

      Bob

  • Gigi December 17, 2012, 12:31 pm | Link

    Yeah I live near a creek that joins the Brisbane river, I wrote to you a couple of times on this thread. Properties around the river are considered central prime real estate but I can’t recommend living there unless you are “immune” to biting insects. I don’t know if you have the old style heritage houses in NSW, mostly made of wood, wooden floors, on stilts, known here as “queenslanders”. Ours was supposedly “renovated” when sold, needless to say I knew nothing of lurking critters at that time. Just like I did not know that the river can flood you out of your house +- every 70 years. (hindsight 20/20).

    The bug zapper… I don’t think it’s gonna solve my problems, the instructions just tell you to hang it up around 1.something meters, which I did but not effective. It’ll probably kill every other insect besides the biting critters too….. We don’t really have any stagnant water puddles around the house (except when it rains), it gets very hot here so dries up quickly but the creek has mangroves where millions of these critters must breed, mangroves are “protected” in Australia, so the council’s not gonna spray either. I watch children fish all day near the mangroves, I’m sure they are getting bitten but obviously not allergic to noseeums. Moving house is out of the question, so it’s back to pesticides I guess. Noseeums are truly a problem, I’ve looked at your bites in your photos, it really gets to a point where it is no longer funny. Readers, be warned!

    • BobinOz December 18, 2012, 12:25 am | Link

      Sorry Gigi, I should have realised, of course you have posted here previously.

      You really are “up the creek without a paddle” so to speak, I think you will be fighting a losing battle with your bug zapper, open floor boards and nearby river. All you can do is wait for winter, or, as you say, cover yourself in deet.

      Living by the river isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

      If you find a solution, please do share 🙂

      • Gigi December 28, 2012, 9:35 pm | Link

        Well Bob, being in a worse case scenario with noseeums, I have actually found a solution!! C’mon, who will pay me a million dollars for this bit of info that I rediscovered in moments of sheer desperation… he he he….. it is…. (drumroll)… the ….MOSQUITOE COIL!!! Yeah, those ugly smelly green coily things you burn….works a treat! Not a single bite since I bought ’em! Yes they are smelly + smokey but god, you don’t gasp for breath + have headaches as when spraying Aeroguard + pesticides…. We don’t have aircon in the study where I used to get bitten, so I had the fan running during hot weather…. noseeums STILL bit me, even with the fan running… so bang goes the theory that they don’t bite in areas where it is “windy” BUT…. now armed with MOZZY COIL + fan….no bites…. truly! Forget the zappers + lotions + sprays, get yourself some mozzy coils, cheap too, I hope this helps some poor soul out there, let me know! 😉

        • BobinOz January 2, 2013, 9:02 pm | Link

          Ha ha ha ha! You have made a big mistake Gigi, you have told us the secret before we handed over the million dollars! Now we have no further use for you mwahaha!

          Anyway, are you talking about those ugly things you can buy in Coles? I’ve never tried one simply because they do look so ugly. So what happens then, you set fire to them and they smoulder? How long do they last? I suppose you won’t answer these questions, now that you’re not getting that money 🙂

          • Gigi January 7, 2013, 10:46 am | Link

            Changed my mind about the money Bob, any further info you want, just get me a year’s supply of Mozzy Coils. 😉 Yes, you can buy them at Coles, Bunnings or anywhere you buy pest deterrents. They come in Tins (yeah … smoke tins) of 30 (only $5.00) or boxes of 10 I think and yes, you light them…. the secret is in the …..(drumroll)…. SMOKE…. I think. I read somewhere noseeums don’t like smoke…. this is a way to create smoke indoors….(it may not be stylish but let me tell you, style is the last thing on your mind when these microscopic buggers bite you)

            I was surprised, 1 coil lasts around 8 hours! Now another handy tip….. (you owe me BIG TIME Bob)…… when you are sitting in front of the computer (that’s where they nail me the worst) .. put it on the floor or at low level near you… the smoke will then rise, if you put it at desk level they STILL nail you around legs and ankles (ankles and wrists seem to be their favourite bits, probably because of all the veins joining there).

            Another interesting thing I read (now you owe me interest 😉 )……
            Mosquitoes + Sandflies find us by ….. NOT by blood or heat radar…..our carbon dioxide emissions….(and you want stylish pest deterrent?). The stuff we breathe out via nose + sweaty skin. That’s why pesticide sprays, bug zappers don’t work, someone clever should invent a device that emits CO2 to attract them!

            Plants, like us, take in oxygen during the day + emit CO2 but at night it is the reverse…for plants. That could explain why these pests bite more at night than during the day, they probably struggle to detect us during the day but at night we must be “glowing” targets to them! Good idea to keep away from plants in infested areas during the day? Could indoor plants be some sort of deterrent at night, taking up C02, minimizing C02 attraction?

            While I’m on a roll… (drum roll please)….beer? Made with brewers yeast which is rich in Vitamin B….I don’t know if it is my imagination but when I drink the stuff I don’t suffer bites as much…(the bites swell up + itch less).. who knows? Just a thought….Bob, don’t blame me for any DUI’s though…

            OK, expecting those mozzy coils in the post from you soon….

            • BobinOz January 10, 2013, 8:40 pm | Link

              A years supply of mozzie coils? Let me see now, they last eight hours, so that’s 365×3…………. that’s 1095 coils! Can we work on another deal?

              But then at just $5 for 30, we are only talking about less than $200 to live in a mozzie free but smokey house 24/7 for a whole year and never get bitten! I really do think you are onto something here Gigi.

              As for mozzies finding us by our carbon dioxide emissions, yes, I was actually aware of that. But I really don’t think indoor plants are the answer and I’m afraid your other theory, beer, well, that one just won’t work.

              I can assure you I have been testing this theory for more than 30 years, drinking as much beer as is humanly possible to consume as often and as regularly as nightfall itself. As much as I’ve enjoyed the testing, it hasn’t stopped me from getting bitten by mozzies and sandflies. That said, I haven’t been drinking beer in the mornings or during the day when I’ve been working on my computer and that’s when these little critters nailed my ankles.

              Maybe I should run some further tests, and start drinking first thing when I turn on my PC?

              No, perhaps I’ll try the mozzie coils.

              Oh, yeah, coils, all in the post, honest 🙂

              • Gigi January 13, 2013, 9:18 pm | Link

                I never had to worry about biting insects before I moved to Queensland Bob, so was very ignorant. It’s only when I realised the bug zapper was not attracting noseeums & mosquitos that I started wondering how they find us? It’s a special mix of carbon dioxide though, exhaled CO2 that, amongst other elements, contain water vapour, they don’t like the C02 produced by smoke, fire eg mozzie coils

                I found some ideas on DIY yeast traps, very little feedback on their success though. Link :
                http://natashalh.hubpages.com/hub/DIY-Mosquito-and-Gnat-Trap-that-Works

                Don’t worry about money or coils in the post, 😉 hopefully some bright spark will see our suffering & invent a C02 pest control for us!
                I’d pay a lot of bucks for something that REALLY works, a TOTAL solution!

                • BobinOz January 14, 2013, 8:02 pm | Link

                  I like the idea of that home-made trap, thanks for the link. Have you tried it? I’d have a go at making one myself but, touch wood, so far I’ve only been bitten about three or four times this year. Can’t understand why, but there just aren’t any mozzies around my house at the moment.

                  Not sure how long it’ll last, for ever I hope, but I suppose that’s just wishful thinking. Thanks, I’ve put my money back in my pocket 🙂

                  • Gigi January 25, 2013, 12:29 pm | Link

                    Hi Bob, yes I’m giving the yeast traps a shot, just underestimated the amount of sugar you need, so once I get more sugar I will set up in full force!

                    I think the reason why you don’t have mozzies / noseeums around your place is the lack of rain this summer in Aus, the hot sun dried everything out, my side I have the darn creek, their water supply for breeding. No mozzies, no noseeums, seems to be some sort of correlation?

                    Interesting what Gary said about the pests & moon cycles, the moon’s just about full in Aus, I can’t really tell whether there is more or less of them because of the creek, here they bite all summer. What is it about the moon and weird behaviour? Anyway, will report back on yeast traps.

                    BTW, I found that rubbing bicarb of soda paste on noseeum bites really helps, less itching afterwards, I still get them if I dare take the dog for a walk but the coils work a treat inside the house!

                    • BobinOz January 25, 2013, 5:20 pm | Link

                      Well yes, I suspect you are right, it has been very dry and I think there is just nowhere around here for them to breed. Suits me 🙂

                      An Aussie friend of mine has his own ideas about what to rub on a mozzie bite, and funnily enough it seems to work. It’s not very pleasant, but he says make a cross on the bite with your finger nail and then (here goes) spit on it. Gently rub that in and the itching subsites.

                      It’s a practice best done (especially by a lady) in private.

  • Gigi December 15, 2012, 7:02 pm | Link

    Bob, I bought a bug zapper, now at odds as where to hang the darn thing….inside or out, I’m indoors most of the time and INSIDE is where I get bitten. I’m convinced noseeums find breeding spots indoors, not just outside… upholstered furniture… suspect? But then the old house we are in have “slits” in the wooden floors… yeah…I can actually see the garage floor 1 level below through some of them….and this ain’t a cheap house….but it’s made of —–! Gonna hang mine indoors on a timer for a while I guess….

    • BobinOz December 16, 2012, 9:52 pm | Link

      Hi Gigi

      You’ve got gaping holes in the floorboards and you can see the garage underneath??? Oh dear, I think you have an uphill battle to keep these critters out.

      Ideally you want to kill them before they enter your home, and you want to somehow stop them breeding around your property. That means removing any puddles or places where water can gather as without a pool of water, these things just can’t breed.

      I’m going to be updating this post soon, because there are flaws I’ve discovered with this particular kind of bug zapper, (sorry, I know you’ve just bought one) so for now, I just suggest you keep it away from anywhere you might eat food in the house, I’d strongly suggest positioning it outside the house. Check all around your property to make sure there is no water in which they can breed and hopefully, eventually, they’ll stop showing up in your house.

      You don’t live by a river, do you?

      Cheers

      Bob

  • Chuck December 12, 2012, 11:05 am | Link

    Help! haha I was just on vacation and at a friends house right by the water in southern Florida, and I have a ton of bites all over my lower legs, my arms and my lower back! Probably about 75 bites. I have tried cortisone lotion, anti-itch lotion……doesn’t seem to be doing a whole lot. I’m dying!! Should I take a anti histamine? Thanks! from: “trying not to scratch!!!”

    • BobinOz December 12, 2012, 1:51 pm | Link

      Wow, you have been well and truly nailed. Maybe you should take an antihistamine (disclaimer: I am not a doctor surprise surprise, so don’t take any notice of me) as I can’t see what harm it can do. I’m not really sure it will do much good either, I think you might just have to live through it.

      Ouch!

      • Chuck December 12, 2012, 2:03 pm | Link

        Update! lol I found a prescription antihistamine in my partners medicine cabinet. I took two, and sure enough an hour later I am barely feeling any itching! It totally worked!!!!!! YAE!

        • BobinOz December 12, 2012, 9:09 pm | Link

          Perfect! I’m glad it worked, I know how itchy those pesky bites can be. I’ve never really thought of whacking antihistamine down me, but I’ll remember that trick just in case I get chewed up again. Thanks for the tip Chuck!

          PS. I hope you sought the advice of a doctor before snagging those prescription drugs? 🙂

          • Bonnie November 25, 2016, 8:10 pm | Link

            Hi fellow sufferers, once bitten, I Queenslander born and bred living on the coast all my life, (who is alergic to most things so takes a antihistamine every day), also takes another antihistamine made from a different ingredient to help the itch. Yes take 2, one in the morning the other at night. The high dose combo works a treat and really reduces the itch. Try taking the sedating type at night to help you sleep. I over the years have tried many many things and found that a thick coat of ……….Nurofen gel works! You need to reapply as needed.
            Hope that helps
            Bonnie

            • BobinOz November 27, 2016, 8:47 pm | Link

              Nurofen gel sounds like a good idea, I don’t think we’ve had that one before. Certainly worth a try to get rid of that pesky itching. Thanks for the suggestion Bonnie.

              • Bonnie November 28, 2016, 1:55 am | Link

                Hi Bob, after reading all the strange remedies offered I decided to have a go at some, since I had just been attacked. I usually use a combo of 2 different antihistamines one in the morning/one drowsy type at night and use NUROFEN GEL for quick relief reapplying untill the bits stop itching. However I will now be doing something else. After trying a few different suggestions at the same time on different parts of me the best thing was and I can’t beleive it myself. …WINDEX!
                I applied 2 squirts once only, it did not stop the itch on the night I sprayed it, to be very honest it itched worse for a few minuits, but the next day, wow, NO ITCH. The raised welt was reduced by 75% and the weeping center dried up and the scab 50% smaller. I can only guess that somehow windex nullifies the toxin allowing the body to heal. I know Windex is toxic so it wasn’t easy having a go, I was thinking I’m nuts to do this, but it works! So my plan for the next unfortunate attack is to take the antihistamine, cover the bites with windex and let dry, apply nurofen for the immidiate itch, and the next day enjoy free of burning itching hell. Please remember Windex is toxic use wisely.
                Bonnie

                • BobinOz November 29, 2016, 8:03 pm | Link

                  Windex!

                  WINDEX!!

                  Crikey, I prefer not to use deet sprays because deet, as good as it is at preventing mosquito bites, is not the greatest thing you can put on your skin. But at least that is its intended purpose and it has passed the necessary tests to deem it safe.

                  Windex though, it’s for cleaning glass! It’s almost certainly toxic to your body.

                  As you say, ‘Please remember Windex is toxic use wisely’. That means cleaning windows with it 🙂 I do admire your determination to beat this Bonnie, but I would rethink your strategy if I were you.

                  I’d suggest trying a good multivitamin B complex taken daily, it’ll take about a month to kick in, but it has worked for me. Until I forget to take them, but that’s another story.

                  Keep fighting the fight, we will get there in the end. Cheers, Bob

  • Gigi December 4, 2012, 9:53 am | Link

    Oh, by the way, I’ve tried the Vitamin B6 + vegemite thing too, does not work for me either. Someone suggested rubbing baby oil on yourself, apparently it makes your skin too greasy for them to “land”… yeah well, it may work but who wants to go around looking and feeling greasy all the time?
    I have also observed they don’t like temperature extremes, bright hot sunlight or cool windy days. They seem to lurk in damp, moist, warm, dark areas…. they truly are a menace, like mini vampires. I can’t stress enough, mosquitoes are your friends compared to these things!

    • BobinOz December 4, 2012, 3:23 pm | Link

      Oh, I feel for you Gigi, I really do. Well, you know that from looking at the picture of my feet. I also know they just love to hang around by the river; as you probably know, they breed in water, without it they can’t. That’s why for houses that are not close to rivers it is advised to go around the property making sure there is nowhere where stagnant water can sit and act as a breeding ground.

      And I couldn’t agree more, give me a mosquito bite any day, I’d much rather have one of those than a no-see-um bite for sure. As for getting into your house, these things are so small I think they fit through the tiny mesh netting on the windows that normal mosquitoes cannot pass through.

      They are a major problem if you have them breeding around you.

      That said, I don’t live close to the river, but I do have friends that do and they too are plagued by these things. Fortunately, touch wood, I’ve not seen any so far this year around my house, or in it. Looking at this post, it was almost exactly one year ago I was being bashed by them, so far this year not a single nip.

      I’ve got so complacent, I’ve forgotten to take my vitamin B. I suspect I’ll regret that some day soon. I wish I had answers for you Gigi, but other than the dreaded Aeroguard, I know of no other 100% sure fire way of preventing these bites.

      By the way, I once picked up the Aeroguard to spray a cockroach, I obviously meant to pick up the pest control. The cockroach died a horrible death all the same, and they are supposed to be able to survive a nuclear war. That tells you all you need to know about Aeroguard.

      On that happy note, I really do hope you find a way of beating these critters and if you do, I think we would all love to hear it.

      Good luck!

      Bob

    • Ally March 9, 2013, 12:16 pm | Link

      Vitamin A is also good. Pure Lavender Oil before you scratch usually stops the oncoming itch. Lavender oil and Tea Tree Oil mixed with water in a spray bottle is a really good natural repellant (works for head lice as well) and smells great too. Unfortunately I didn’t get to the Oil before I scratched and ended up with a rash from the midge bites. Had to get a steroid antibiotic cream from the Doc to help stop the itch. With all the rain we have had here in Brisbane, the mosquitos, midges, ground fleas and march flies are horrendous!. Even worse at my place because we can’t mow the lawn with the ground so wet.

      • BobinOz March 11, 2013, 5:53 pm | Link

        Strange, but even though we have had plenty of rain I still seem to have escaped the dreaded mozzies bites this summer. Maybe my vitamin B is still working for me, but thanks for those additional tips. If I start to get bitten again, maybe I’ll get some vitamin A as well.

  • Gigi December 4, 2012, 9:46 am | Link

    We live near a creek that joins the Brisbane River and it has those….. mangroves. Wherever you find mangroves…you find noseeums (sandflies?, biting midges). Are you near a creek Bob? In 3 years of summer bites I can’t say I’m less affected, have not built up a resistance, I still get bumps and it itches like mad for days afterward. It’s impossible not to scratch! Mosquito bites are a pleasure compared to these! I have found running very hot water over the bites (yes it tingles) really helps healing / itching. It does open the bites but it’s the only way to get rid of the nasty stuff this insect injects into your skin, else it will just keep itching until you scratch it open anyway… yuck! Plus, if you scratch, you end up with scar marks!
    We live in a wooden Queenslander old style house which apparently is a favourite breeding ground for them. We spray the house with tons of insect repellent on a regular basis but it does not last long, I’m sure the noseeums have built up resistance!

    Somehow they track me down inside my house that is totally kitted out with insect screen. When I sit at my computer, watch tv or near a light, they find me. Natural remedies like citronella oil does not help for these pests, they are on a whole different level to mosquitoes, the only thing that works for me is Aeroguard Tropical Strength. When you spray yourself with the stuff you gasp for air and you have a headache afterwards, if it affects you it will affect them, else not!

    How many bug zappers do you need in a house to keep them under control?

  • jenny May 27, 2012, 7:03 am | Link

    I have them all the way around my pool,is there any way to get rid (kill) them?

    • BobinOz May 28, 2012, 9:55 pm | Link

      I know the council can spray areas of infestation, but I’m not sure what chemical it is that they use. It may be worth giving your council a call, look for their pest control department.

  • Blanche Sullivan April 20, 2012, 1:18 pm | Link

    Don’t scratch them and break the skin like I did. I now have painful sores with a hole in the centre and yellow in colour. I’m on antibiotics and have decided to use my own treatment after reading this. I’m about to use teatree ointment and I’ll also get a yard guard. These biting midges are giving me as much trouble as sandflies have at some beaches in the past. I live in The Hills of Sydney and approx. 18 years ago I had the Health Inspector to the house. He gave me literature on the problem but the midges at the present time are worse then ever. I spray the flyscreens (they can get through) and also window sills. I have never seen so many dead ones on the sills. Local Council won’t allow residents to remove trees (not even camphor laurels). Couldn’t even have solar heating on the roof because we are so shaded although none of the trees are mine. Nice seeing all the greenery but I wish something could be done about the biting midges. I enjoyed your article. Thanks.

    • BobinOz April 21, 2012, 12:26 am | Link

      Sounds like you are having a tough time with these pests. Scratching does make it worse, although sometimes it’s hard not to. I hope the tea tree oil treatment works, and I would definitely get a yard guard, I think they work.

      Do you think these midges are attracted to your trees then? I thought they liked stagnant water, I think that’s what they breed in. Check around your building for any puddles of water which are potential breeding areas and get rid of them.

      Good luck!

  • Hayley November 30, 2011, 8:09 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, You should also have some Antihistamines this takes away the itching and makes the bites bearable, also tiger balm or tea tree oil which is a natural anti-septic also.

    • BobinOz December 2, 2011, 10:05 pm | Link

      Thanks Hayley, but I use beer. Taken internally, works for me 🙂

      But seriously, in the early days the itching used to drive me mad. But now, I think I have got used to it, or it just doesn’t itch is much. Maybe I’ve built up some kind of resistance?

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn’t get answered, find out why…..
FAQs and Comment Policy.

torfx-ad