Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat) (2023)

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Updated on March 10, 2022

“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.

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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?

Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat) (1)

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, theCeratopogonidae, 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 theCulicoides speciesas 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: theBlue Tongue diseaseandAfrican 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. Thebiting 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.

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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?

Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat) (2)

Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat) (3)

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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(Video) Skin Infection From Bug Bites - Daily Do's of Dermatology

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

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 mildantihistamine 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.

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

Eliminating Midges with Pest Control

Midge Bites (Symptoms, What They Look Like, and How to Treat) (4)

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.

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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.

(Video) Houston dermatologist shares how to treat gnat bites at home | HOUSTON LIFE | KPRC 2

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 manyvitamin B-rich foodas midges apparently are not fans of Vitamin B’s scent in the blood to ward off these tiny marauders.

FAQs

What does an infected midge bite look like? ›

Symptoms of an infected insect bite may include: pus in or around the bite. swollen glands. increased pain, swelling and redness in and around the bite.

What can I put on midge bites? ›

Applying an ice pack or using a mild antihistamine may provide some relief. Secondary infections can result from scratching the bites and may require the application of antiseptic cream or antibiotics. In severe cases, medical advice may be required.

How long do midge bites take to heal? ›

How long do midge bites last? Midge bites can be reasonably persistent, lasting up to two weeks as red lumps or sores (possibly linked together by a red rash or welt).

What is the best cream for midge bites? ›

Hydrocortisone cream: Anti-inflammatory topical creams, such as hydrocortisone cream, can be used to help minimise itching, redness and swelling.

What does a midge bite look like? ›

Midge and gnat bites often look similar to mosquito bites. They usually cause small, red lumps that can be painful and very itchy, and can sometimes swell up alarmingly. Some people may also develop fluid-filled blisters.

When should I worry about a bite? ›

a large area (around 10cm or more patch of skin) around the bite becomes red and swollen. you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness. you have symptoms of a more widespread infection, such as a high temperature, swollen glands and other flu-like symptoms.

Can you get sick from midge bites? ›

Biting midges are not known to transmit any human diseases in Australia, however, bites often cause a severe local (allergic) reaction and can be painful and/or irritating for some people. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person.

Why do I react so badly to midge bites? ›

Most people won't have severe symptoms after being bitten or stung by an insect, but some people can react badly to them because they've developed antibodies to the venom. You're more likely to have an allergic reaction if you're stung by an insect.

Why am I getting bitten by midges? ›

What Attracts Midges? Midges find some people more attractive than others; this goes a long way to explain why some people get bitten more frequently than others. Furthermore, midges can also be attracted by certain deodorants, perfumes, aftershave, amongst others.

Why are my midge bites so itchy? ›

The midge will pierce the skin with her mouth and pump saliva into the wound to prevent it clotting. It's this saliva which causes a mild immune response in humans, resulting in itchy red spots as the body seeks to repair the wound.

Why do midge bites itch for weeks? ›

The female biting midge takes a blood meal to provide protein to develop her eggs. The 'itchiness' from her bite is due to allergens in midge saliva.

What does an infected bite look like? ›

a red or dark line extending from the bite. discoloration and swelling appearing around the bite. sores or abscesses on or around the bite. swollen glands (lymph nodes)

What to put on bites to stop itching? ›

For bites that itch, apply an ice pack or an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as hydrocortisone. Another option is to take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine. To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the bite.

Is vinegar good for bites? ›

Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection – if your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean. Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they're unlikely to help.

What helps bug bites heal faster? ›

Apply to the affected area calamine lotion, baking soda paste, or 0.5% or 1% hydrocortisone cream. Do this several times a day until your symptoms go away. Take an anti-itch medicine (antihistamine) by mouth to reduce itching.

How do I get rid of midges? ›

How to get rid of midges: understand what attracts midges and how to get rid of them
  1. Practice good hygiene. ...
  2. Keep your kitchen fresh. ...
  3. Use screens on your doors and windows. ...
  4. Ensure your home has no standing water. ...
  5. Create a midge trap.
20 Oct 2020

Do midges carry disease? ›

Midges are not harmful. They lack the sucking mouthparts that are found on mosquitoes for use in feeding on blood and nectar. Midges have no ability to bite and do not carry any human diseases.

What do midges live on? ›

The boundary where air and water connect is rich in resources. The larvae of non-biting midges feed on algae and bacteria, filtering micro-organisms out of the water, but some are predators. The larvae of phantom midges live in the open water and prey on water fleas and small larvae.

What is the best antihistamine for insect bites? ›

Antihistamines are the first-line treatments for insect stings. They can help reduce swelling, itching, and hives.
...
OTC antihistamines that are nonsedating or less likely to cause drowsiness include:
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)

How do you know if a bite is poisonous? ›

Spot warning signs of infection

Fever. Chills. Swelling, redness or red streaking around the bite area. Cold sweats.

How do I know what bite me? ›

Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs. Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction. Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.

What does an allergic reaction to a bite look like? ›

Symptoms of a generalised allergic reaction include red swelling skin, or rash or hives (urticaria) in areas of the body other than at the site of the sting or bite.

What midges look like? ›

What Do Midges Look Like? Some adult midges look similar to mosquitoes, with the same dark brown coloring on their bodies and wings, and bodies that extend beyond their wings. Most biting midges look like stocky flies, with wings that are only as long as their body.

Why do midge bites itch more at night? ›

Itching Worsens At Night

You're not imagining it—mosquito bites do itch more at night. "Most people itch more at night because our cortisol levels (our bodies' own anti-inflammatory hormone) are higher in the morning, and also because we are less distracted as we wind down and try to fall asleep," said Dr. Kassouf.

What kind of insect bite causes a hard lump? ›

A mosquito bite is a small, round, puffy bump that appears soon after you've been bitten. The bump will become red, hard, swollen, and itchy. You may have multiple bites in the same area.

What keeps midges away naturally? ›

Nature's way There are said to be some natural midge such as essential oils like Eucalyptus, lavender and lemon. The results vary between people although these oils can make you smell rather nice! A brand called Incognito make hair and body wash infused with citronella and tee tree for "natural anti-insect camouflage".

Do midges bite through clothing? ›

Biting activity varies among species but they are most active in day time or near sunrise and sunset. With short mouthparts, biting midges are unable to bite through clothing and so exposed body parts such as hands, arms, legs (when wearing shorts) and the head are most frequently attacked.

How do you get rid of midges naturally? ›

Midges can be easily trapped if you place apple cider vinegar into a bowl with a few drops of washing up liquid. The insects are attracted by the smell, but will get stuck when they land. Make sure to replace this bowl regularly as it may quickly become filled with midges.

How long do midges live for? ›

pupa, metamorphosis takes place, and the midge emerges as a flying adult, with a lifespan of 20-30 days. In conditions which are ideal for larval development, midge densities reach extraordinary levels, with a hectare of land estimated to contain up to 24 million larvae.

How can you tell the difference between a mosquito bite and a midge? ›

Females of both feed on blood; mosquitoes use a long needle-like “proboscis” to silently suck blood from capillaries, whereas midges have serrated mouthparts, cutting a painful hole in the skin to feed from.

Where do biting midges live? ›

Biting midges are small, gray, two-winged insects, less than 1/8” long. They are a significant human pest and are found throughout the United States, primarily in coastal areas and farming operations. Some species occur mainly in wet mud, mangrove swamps and salt-marshes.

Why do midges bite me and not others? ›

It comes down to a complex trifecta of carbon dioxide, body temperature and body odour that makes some people more inviting to mozzies than others.

Do midges pee on you? ›

Contrary to common belief, it is not fly urine that causes the discomfort. Rather, it is the saliva itself that produces the classic allergic response. Female biting midges may attack in large numbers, biting exposed skin, and the bites can be irritating and painful.

Why is my bite still itching after a month? ›

Allergic reactions to insect bites do not normally last more than a few weeks, but sometimes they can linger for months. In this case, the individual should consult a doctor. Learn more about severe allergic reactions.

Why is my bug bite getting bigger and redder? ›

If a sting becomes seriously infected, contact your primary care doctor. Due to bacteria under fingernails, scratching an itchy bug bite is the most likely way infections begin. “You can recognize infection by its hallmarks, which include increasing redness, warmth to the touch, pain and pus,” said Monteiro.

Why is my bug bite getting bigger? ›

When you get stung, they inject the venom under your skin. "The concern about the venomous insects is that some people develop an allergic reaction. When you have an allergy to the insect venom, the part of your body that got stung, will swell up.

What insect bite lasts for weeks? ›

Skeeter syndrome is diagnosed when you have a strong reaction to a mosquito bite. You may see a large area of swelling, soreness, redness, and itching or pain at the location of the bite. Such a reaction can develop within hours of the bite, and it may last for weeks.

Does toothpaste stop bites itching? ›

Toothpaste is a great treatment to help fight the annoying itch that possesses you after a mosquito bite. The menthol flavour from the toothpaste acts as a cooling agent keeping your mind distracted from the urge to scratch.

Does toothpaste stop bug bites from itching? ›

Toothpaste Why it Works: A dab of toothpaste on the bite will act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from the wound as it dries. Menthol in the toothpaste will also provide a “cooling” sensation that will occupy the nerves in the same way ice does, relieving discomfort.

Can toothpaste stop itching? ›

Toothpaste can be used to treat any oozy skin irritations like bug bites, athlete's foot and even blisters. It;s a disinfectant, antiseptic and fungicide. Toothpaste will stop itching and reduce swelling when applied topically.

Does salt water help midge bites? ›

Washing the bitten area with water and white soap and then applying oxygenated water, salt water or lemon is effective to relieve itching more quickly and prevent swelling. However, in severe cases, the medications prescribed by the doctor should be used.

Is Vicks good for insect bites? ›

I have an excellent use for Vicks VapoRub: mosquito bites! It not only stops the itch right away, but the bite disappears.

How do you draw out a bug bite? ›

Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the affected area to relieve itching. Apply a cold, used tea bag to the affected area to reduce swelling and redness. Soak a cotton ball in Witch Hazel and apply to the bug bite. Wait a few minutes and the itch is gone!

Is aloe vera good for insect bites? ›

Did you know that aloe vera is a fantastic, natural, antiseptic agent? That's what makes it a good natural remedy for mosquito bites. The vitamins and minerals found in aloe vera will help to reduce the pain, swelling and itching. On top of that, it will also help the bite heal faster.

Why do I keep getting bitten? ›

If you feel like mosquitoes bite you more often than other people, you may be onto something! Several specific factors can attract mosquitoes, including the carbon dioxide you exhale, your body odor, and your body temperature. A combination of these factors likely makes certain people more attractive to mosquitoes.

Why is my bug bite swollen and hot? ›

A person can get a localized allergic reaction (swelling, heat, or itching of the skin around the sting area) or a systemic allergic reaction, meaning that the venom causes a reaction throughout the body. In the case of a systemic reaction, the person may break out in hives.

What does an infected bite look like? ›

a red or dark line extending from the bite. discoloration and swelling appearing around the bite. sores or abscesses on or around the bite. swollen glands (lymph nodes)

Can you get sick from midge bites? ›

Biting midges are not known to transmit any human diseases in Australia, however, bites often cause a severe local (allergic) reaction and can be painful and/or irritating for some people. The severity of the reaction varies from person to person.

How do you know if a mosquito bite is infected? ›

What is an infected mosquito bite?
  1. Swelling of the lymph nodes.
  2. Wide-spreading redness around the mosquito bite.
  3. Red streaking that extends beyond the initial bite.
  4. Pus or drainage.
  5. Area feels warm to the touch.
  6. Chills.
  7. Fever (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celsius).
24 Jan 2022

Will an infected bug bite heal on its own? ›

Some bug bites can also become infected. If your bite does become infected, you'll usually need to see a doctor for treatment. However, most infected bug bites can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

What helps bug bites heal faster? ›

Apply to the affected area calamine lotion, baking soda paste, or 0.5% or 1% hydrocortisone cream. Do this several times a day until your symptoms go away. Take an anti-itch medicine (antihistamine) by mouth to reduce itching.

What bug bite leaves a hard lump? ›

Bites from midges, mosquitoes and gnats often cause small papules (lumps) to form on your skin that are usually very itchy.

How do I know what bite me? ›

Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs. Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction. Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.

Why do midge bites itch so much? ›

Biting midges have a histamine like substance in their saliva which can cause intense itching in sensitive individuals. To prevent acute allergic reaction and allow the body to develop its own immunity to midge bites vitamin B1 (thiamine) can be tried.

Why do I get so many midge bites? ›

What Attracts Midges? Midges find some people more attractive than others; this goes a long way to explain why some people get bitten more frequently than others. Furthermore, midges can also be attracted by certain deodorants, perfumes, aftershave, amongst others.

What does an allergic reaction to a bite look like? ›

Symptoms of a generalised allergic reaction include red swelling skin, or rash or hives (urticaria) in areas of the body other than at the site of the sting or bite.

What is the best antihistamine for insect bites? ›

Antihistamines are the first-line treatments for insect stings. They can help reduce swelling, itching, and hives.
...
OTC antihistamines that are nonsedating or less likely to cause drowsiness include:
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)

Why is my bug bite getting bigger and redder? ›

If the area around the bug bite starts to turn red and swell, you may have developed an infection. Monitor the spot and your symptoms. Seek emergency medical treatment if you develop a fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes. These signs are more serious and could become dangerous if left untreated.

What is the best antihistamine for mosquito bites? ›

If you are allergic to mosquito bites, the reaction will stay in the area of the bite. Reach for a cold compress, antihistamine such as Benadryl, and 1 percent hydrocortisone cream for itch relief.

Can you get sepsis from insect bites? ›

The bacteria, most commonly Group A streptococcal bacteria, enter the skin through an opening, such as cut, scrape, burn, or surgical incision, or even a bug bite or sting. Cellulitis can cause sepsis in some people. Often incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body's life-threatening response to infection.

What insect bite lasts for weeks? ›

Skeeter syndrome is diagnosed when you have a strong reaction to a mosquito bite. You may see a large area of swelling, soreness, redness, and itching or pain at the location of the bite. Such a reaction can develop within hours of the bite, and it may last for weeks.

Can you get a staph infection from a bug bite? ›

Staphylococcus (Staph for short) is a germ that lives in our noses and on our skin. An infection can happen when the skin is open from a scratch or cut or an insect bite. Often a Staph infection can be small like a pimple and will respond to applying heat to the area.

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