How to Get Rid of No-See-Ums

No-See-Ums are tiny blood sucking gnats that are typically found near areas with water nearby such as ponds, lakes, coastal areas etc.

No-see-ums go by many different names such as biting midges, sand flies, and punkies; but for this discussion we will refer to this annoying bug as the no-see-um.

No-See-Um Breeding Prevention

no-see-ums breed in potted plants
no-see-ums reproduce in muddy areas
damp rotting gardens are breeding grounds for no-see-ums
No-see-ums are closely related to the mosquito and thus display many of the same traits and deterrents that affect the mosquito. Unfortunately preventing no-see-ums from breeding is not as easy as it is with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes need at least an inch of water to lay their eggs, whereas no-see-ums just need very damp soil (which is why no-see-ums are very prevalent near the edges of bodies of water).

To prevent breeding near your house you need to focus on removing things such as heavily watered potted plants from your yard. Muddy areas are also a common place for these pesky bugs to reproduce, so fixing any areas of your yard that prone to being damp and muddy is also a great way to prevent no-see-ums from breeding. Lastly damp gardens are another place that no-see-ums love to breed, especially those with decaying vegetation in them.

Overall preventing no-see-ums from breeding is much more difficult than preventing mosquitoes; which is why the next few techniques are really important if you want to get rid of no-see-ums in your yard!

Giving No-See-Ums Food to Die For…

Something that many people do not realize is like mosquitoes, no-see-ums need to eat plants to sustain their energy. No-see-ums eat nectar from the leaves of plants and trees and are drawn in by the smell they produce.

This is where one company saw a unique opportunity to capitalize on the diet of biting insects. Terminix Bait and Kill uses the natural scent of the no-see-ums food in order to lure it in. The no-see-um unknowingly ingests garlic oil in the process of eating the bait; since the no-see-um cannot digest garlic oil this bait ends up killing the biting fly.

Another positive thing of this product is that it does not use any toxic chemicals! The only active ingredient in this product is garlic oil instead of harsh chemicals like many other products.

Lastly, this product attracts a host of biting insects including mosquitoes, so if you find yourself getting bitten up by many different types of bugs, than this product is sure to help you out by eliminating over 90% of these pesky creatures in just 2 to 3 weeks!
Bait and Kill No-See-Ums

Fogging No-See-Ums

Insect Fogger
No-see-um Fogging
Propane Tank for Fogger Fogging Insecticide
Another really effective method at killing and repelling no-see-ums from your yard is by using a fogger. Fogging has some advantages and also disadvantages. We’ll first start with the disadvantages.

Disadvantages – One of the main downfalls of this method is that it does not last for a long time. The immediate effects of fogging your yard will be strongest during the first 6 hours and fade in effectiveness after that.

One other disadvantage is that you are using chemicals to repel the no-see-ums and other biting flies from your yard. It is a good idea to wear a respiratory mask and keep all other people and pets out of the yard for at least 5 minutes after you apply the fogging mist to the area.

Lastly you will also need to restock on the insecticide as well as a small propane tank, both of these costs are rather minimal, but it is a factor you will need to weigh in on your pest control decision.

Advantages – The biggest advantage of fogging is its immediate effect on your yard. You do not have to wait a 2-3 weeks for the bugs to die, like you have to with the bait and kill method. Once the fogging mist has dispersed you will not have to deal with any no-see-ums, mosquitoes or any other biting flies for the rest of the night!

Another advantage of fogging is that it will repel all biting flies whereas the bait and kill method actually draws them in to eat from the foliage around your house, unfortunately it takes around 24 hours for the no-see-um to die off, which may result in the area you want to protect being a gathering place for no-see-ums. The fogger on the other hand does not have this issue.

Bug Zapper for No-See-Ums

Bug zappers are highly effective at killing bugs and flying insects, but are they good at killing no-see-ums? The answer in short is: not really.

The light from UV lamps is not a great attractant for no-see-ums or mosquitoes for that matter; in fact studies suggest that biting flies only make up a total of 4.1-6.4% of the bug zapper kills over an entire season. [1]

However, there is a way to make the bug zapper much more effective at killing no-see-ums. Like mosquitoes, no-see-ums are attracted by smell, so one way to lure up to 5x more biting flies into the bug zapper is to use mosquito attractant cartridges, even though they are designed to lure mosquitoes in, they also lure no-see-ums in because they are attracted to the same smells.

If you do end up choosing the bug zapper as your pest control method, make sure to get the smaller and cheaper bug lamp as the size of the UV bulb does not greatly affect the amount of no-see-ums you will attract into the zapper.
Bug Zapper
Mosquito Attractant

What Plants Repel No-See-Ums?

Plants are a fantastic way of repelling biting flies such as the no-see-um and the mosquito! One of the main benefits of this technique is that it is completely natural! There are no chemicals or insecticides to deal with; the citronella/lemon like smell that these plants give off is completely safe to breathe in and does a great job at repelling no-see-ums.

The reason that these plants work is because the scent they give off confuses biting insects by scrambling there sense of smell. No-see-ums as well as mosquitoes are attracted to C02 which humans and animals exhale while breathing.

When the no-see-um gets near these plants however, they can no longer detect humans by smell which makes us no longer appear as food to them! Instead, these flying insects realize that they need to get away from the scent that is messing up their sense of smell and are motivated to leave the area fast!

Below you will find the best types of plants for repelling no-see-ums, mosquitoes and other biting flies.

For more information on these plants see: Mosquito Repellent Plants

No-See-Um Repellents

The last way and equally effective way to get rid of no-see-ums is by using repellents! There are many, many, different types of repellents you can use, and all of the repellents that work on mosquitoes are also effective on no-see-ums.

The reason for this is that no-see-ums and mosquitoes are very similar in there scent-driven attraction to living things; it’s the females that end up biting humans because they need protein in order to lay their eggs, and the only way they can get an adequate amount of protein is through the blood of people and animals.

For more Information on this see: What do Mosquitoes Eat?

Since both of these biting flies have the same scent receptors, spray on DEET is one of the best repellents you can use. But there are also natural alternatives that work great as well! Below is a list of the different types of repellents that you can use to get rid of no-see-ums.

No-See-Um Spray On Repellents

Spray on repellents of all types will help to keep no-see-ums away; however all repellents are less effective in deterring no-see-ums than they are against mosquitoes.

For this reason we highly recommend using DEET. DEET is by far the strongest and most effective spray on repellent against biting insects and will provide more protection than the natural alternatives.

If however you are allergic to DEET or just don’t want to put chemicals on your skin (we don’t blame you) then natural repellents will still give you a measure of protection.

No-See-Um Wearable Repellents

Wearable repellents are the only type we will not recommend anyone to use for protection against no-see-ums. The reason for this is because if you plan on moving at all while wearing these repellents you will lose all protection temporarily. Whereas with spray on repellent you will always have protection regardless of how much you are moving around.

If you still choose to try a wearable repellent than we recommend you use the OFF clip-on instead of the wristband repellent. The wristband repellent is not effective at all when it comes to repelling biting insects.

No-See-Um Area Repellents

Area repellents are a great way of setting up a perimeter of protection around an area you plan to stay in. They will greatly help in the number of no-see-ums that will be interested in biting you.

However, if you choose to use this method we recommend that you also apply some sort of spray on repellent to fully help protect you from these creatures.

All of the repellents above are fully elaborated on including the advantages and disadvantages of each type, this information is located here: Mosquito Repellents

Other No-See-Um Related Topics

Other Mosquito Related Topics

Other Insect Related Topics


1. American Mosquito Control Association “Do Bug-Zappers work?”, American Mosquito Control Association. Retrieved on 7 Oct. 2016.