Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat)

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Updated on March 27, 2023

“One midge is an entomological curiosity; a thousand can be hell!”
– Doug Kettle

As cute as the name sounds, midges (also called “no-see-ums: in some areas) are anything but. A huge nuisance would be a better descriptor.

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However, the most irritating thing about the midges are their bites! These biters have small sharp teeth that can puncture your skin and leave a tell-tale signs in the form of red spots and itchiness.

And while midge bites are treatable, we first need to understand what exactly a midge bite looks like and what its symptoms are. Let’s find out.

Related: What Bit Me?!?

Do Midges Bite?

biting midges

No, not all midges bite but some play critical ecological roles. While some are prey to most insectivores, others take part in the various nutrient cycles; the ceratopogonid midge plays a significant role in pollinating ‘Theobroma Cacao’ or the cocoa tree.

However, there are surely the biting kinds. Anybody who has ever been in an intimate encounter with this nasty kind knows the pain well.

Among all the midges, the Ceratopogonidae, also commonly known as ‘no-see-ums’ or ‘biting midges,’ are the ones that make life quite troublesome when it comes in close contact.

More than 5000 species of this family are present across the globe apart from the Antarctic and Arctic. Surprising much? Of all the species, the one of utmost concern is the Culicoides species as this is mostly the vectors of the disease-causing pathogen.

These pests feed both on humans and other mammals. Some of these pests spread the most common livestock diseases: the Blue Tongue disease and African Horse Sickness.

The Ceratopogonidae has four stages of development, namely egg, larva, pupa, and imago or adult. Both the males and females feed on nectar and plant sap.

However, the blood of vertebrates which includes humans, is what the female mainly feeds on as it needs protein to lay eggs.

What Does A Midget Bite Look Like?

This super-annoying insect of the minuscule size can inflict pain of tremendous intensity. Well, that has been established quite well among those who have had the ‘not so pleasant experience’ of being prey to these nasty critters.

This piece of information is, however, for the ones with lesser knowledge about midges. The biting midges are the female ones, while the male midges usually feed off pollen and plant sap.

Carbon dioxide in our breath attracts midges to humans like a moth to fire, and they can detect it from 200 meters away.

Midge bites look more or less like mosquito bites. However, it’s not easy to spot a midge biting you, but you are only left with a sharp sting or burning sensation as the aftermath of the bite.

A midge bite is often a tiny, red, itchy bump. If watched closely, a small hole can also be spotted within the bump where the bite has punctured the skin. Cases have also been reported of developing fluid-filled blisters around the edge.

So, now you know if the last time you were a feast to unseen little dementors, they could have been midges.

Read Also: What Does a Cockroach Bite Look Like?

no-see-ums bite

what a midget bite looks like
allergic reaction to biting midges

Symptoms Of Midges Bites

These pesky critters can inflict tremendous itching with their bites, and the symptoms are pretty easy to tell.

Persistent itchy bites but without any insect to be spotted is one of the easier ways to tell that you have been food to a midge (or mosquito).

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Sometimes the itch is persistent and can continue for hours at a stretch. There are possibilities of a severe allergic reaction. However, the intensity of it can vary from person to person.

Read Also: 14 Bugs That Are Confused With Mosquitoes

How To Treat Midge Bites

While midges are often hard to control and bites do happen, the good news is that there are things you can do to treat a midge bite and prevent it from swelling up and becoming uncomfortable.

One of the most important things you should do is wash the area with soap and water or some other antiseptic solution. You should also avoid scratching or picking at it as this will only make it worse and more likely for an infection to develop.

A mild antihistamine can also be used for some relief. Tea tree oil proves to be a good remedy too.

An ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables placed on the bite(s) is a good way to dull the itchiness and get some relief.

The use of hot water has also been shown as a treatment option. Simply heat up a few ounces of water on the stovetop or in the microwave (not to boiling), dip the end of a cotton swab in it, and apply to the area your bite is at. It may initially sting for a couple seconds but the result will be less itching.

If you think you might be allergic to midges, then make sure you take some antihistamines before going outside in order to reduce any possible symptoms from appearing.

How to Prevent Midges From Biting You

It’s not easy to control biting midges. However, a temporary solution can be achieved by fogging via insecticides. But as soon as the chemical droplets settle, the midges can re-infest those areas.

Another way of keeping midges at bay is by using residual sprays but the effect lasts only up to 6 weeks.

While on a spraying spree to get rid of those midges, we should keep in mind that too much exposure to residual spray can also affect other insects and spider populations.

Covering your skin is the best way to prevent bites although midges CAN bite through some thinner fabrics. You can also try and stay away from swampy wetlands or areas in your lawn that may get too much water.

Another measure is the use of baby oil mixed with Dettol before stepping outside.

Using Insect repellents that contain either diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin is one of the most effective defenses against midges bites.

Eliminating Midges with Pest Control

sand flies on wall

Now that we’ve established specific facts about midges and their bites, let’s discuss how you can deal with them if you ever face these painful little buggers in more significant numbers.

If these pests ever infest your house, it is always suggestible to take help and hire a professional exterminator who could deal with this problem economically, efficiently, and for an extended time.

Click the link below which will provide you with free quotes from multiple local pest control services to help you get rid of the midge infestation quickly and permanently.

Want to Let the Pros Handle It?
Get a free quote from top pest control companies in your area.

Final Words

There are a hundred ways of beating these bugs. However, one should be much aware that everything you apply to keep these little ‘beasts’ away is also going to repel everyone else.

So, choose your weapon wisely to combat this midge menace. The remedies mentioned above may be effective for some while not helping much in other cases of midge bites.

However, what seems to work in most cases is garlic.

One can also eat many vitamin B-rich food as midges apparently are not fans of Vitamin B’s scent in the blood to ward off these tiny marauders.


1 thought on “Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat)”

  1. I live in the Missouri Ozarks. I moved here from Omaha Nebraska and NEVER had this kind of issue with midgets as I have in the Ozarks. They are HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE. After years of trying to figure out what the F…. was biting me, this article explained AND SHOWED EXACTLY THE BITES I AM DEALING WITH. I kept freaking out we had bed bugs and oh yeah went thru all the steps to ensure we did not. Especially since we haven’t been ANYWHERE in 5 years nor anyone staying in our house. MIDGES, oh the words to explain my constant bites and itch and scabs because of the itch. Missouri/Misery!!! Now I know where the saying came from.

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