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…
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….
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.