"No See-ums" in Carroll County? #581549 - Ask Extension

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"No See-ums" in Carroll County? #581549

Asked July 19, 2019, 9:21 AM EDT

Hello, I have been living in rural central Carroll county, near Uniontown, for 15 years. Almost immediately upon moving I noticed a near absence of any biting insects, especially mosquitoes such that at night, one could sit outside well into the evening and maybe get ONE bite. I attributed that to mostly living near the top of a hill with a good air/wind fetch and for the first couple of several years, not many trees on my 1+acre property. Now I have a decent woodlot and plenty of shrubs, gardens etc. About 2-3 years ago, I noticed both an increase in mosquitoes (but still far below what one gets in the city) and also small gnat like bugs that seem to bite-almost like the nasty biting midges of the eastern shore. But these midges don't cause a burning -itching welt. They just itch like a mosquito bite and usually leave no lasting welt. In incidental conversations with others in the county, they too have said that these "no-seeums" are plaguing their area as well- lately. So what's up? last year was so bad that I had to buy a bug zapper and now wear DEET when outside which I never had to do. It may be coincidental, but the last couple of seasons have been much wetter than usual. Then again, this little gnat like biters do not cause the exact same reaction as the midges on the shore do. What are they and how to combat them?

Carroll County Maryland

Expert Response

This article from the University of Florida provides information about biting midges or 'no see ums' and things you can do to protect yourself (screens, repellents, etc.). These insects are a type of fly. All flies need moist areas in order to complete their lifecycle. Wet seasons like we had last year and this spring are favorable for their survival. 
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/biting_midges.htm

More info here:
https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/noseeums2011.html

Christa

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