They bite. They make your skin extremely itchy and painful.  And because they are super tiny, you may not even know they are biting you until it has already happened. And nope, this is NOT a mosquito. No-see-ums are back with a vengeance in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Here's an up close pic of the nasty no-see-um.


Those annoying bugs that you are swatting at in Minnesota could be No-see-ums.

You usually never even see these super tiny and annoying bugs but if you've ever found a bunch of red spots on your legs or arm after you were relaxing outside, good chance No-see-ums found you.  According to, these super small flying insects also go by a few other names including:

  • biting midges
  • punkies
  • sand flies
  • biting gnats
Fingers Holding Dead Mosquito
YesKatja ThinkStock

How is a No-see-um bite different than a mosquito bite?

Here are a few differences in how these bites look and feel according to

Mosquito bite: 

  • You can typically see a mosquito when it is on your body.
  • Their bite welts might be puffy but are fairly flat.  As long as the scratching doesn't start, the bite will disappear in a day or two.
  • Mosquito bites are typically isolated.

No-see-um bite:

  • Because of their size, you may not notice when the insect is on your skin.
  • Bite marks will appear a day or more after the insect bit you.
  • The pain of a No-see-um bit is more painful.
  • The bites will usually look like multiple red dots in a cluster and will slowly get larger into raised welts and could be 2 inches in diameter.  The welts can be noticeable for 2 weeks or more.

Tips that might help if you have been bit by the nasty No-see-um insect.

These insects are so small that they can slide right through your screens on your windows.  The bites can literally happen anywhere.  If you've noticed some red bites and welts, these tips from might help relieve some of the pain from a no-see-um bite.

A woman scratching her itchy mosquito bite. Tropical climate danger.
globalmoments ThinkStock

1.) Notice your symptoms. Initially, the bite will be a small red dot but could grow to 1 to 2 inches and be raised slightly.  If it does raise, that area will be itchy and mildly painful.

Women scratch the itch with hand
Tharakorn ThinkStock

2.) Look for more bites. The bug usually travels in large groups and tends to bit the legs, hands, and back of the neck but can bit on any skin that is exposed.  Look for groups of red dots.

Close Up Of Medical Staff Washing Hands. Hand hygiene.
Sucharas wongpeth ThinkStock

3.) Wash the bite area.  To help reduce chances of infection and to also get any residual saliva off your body, use warm water and a mild antibacterial soap and wash areas where bites occurred.

4.) Try not to scratch your welts. When you feel that need to scratch, the only thing you can think about is scratching.  The chance of infection happens when you start scratching the welts because those could open up.

dog watching at you
damedeeso ThinkStock

5.) Use an ice pack for the swelling.  If the welts are causing a great deal of pain, use an ice pack or a frozen bag of veggies and lay it on the impacted area for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

6.) Apply hot water.  You'll have to be careful with this one.  Heat up some water to a point of just under boiling.  Once it is hot, take a Q tip and dip it in the water and put that tip on the bite.  It may sting for a little bit but this should stop the itching.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash
Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

7.) Find relief with over-the-counter products. Look for products to help relieve itchiness, pain and/or swelling.

Urgent Care
mgcatfish ThinkStock

8.) For severe symptoms, see a doctor.  If you start to have an allergic reaction, excessive pain, discomfort, skin irritation or notice an infection, contact your doctor.

Check out this amazing Minnesota cabin that is just inches off a lake!

Yes, there is water so both the mosquito and the no-see-um may join you for this little vacation, but check out the pics below.  A few bites might be worth it!

Enjoy This Unique Minnesota Cabin That Sits Just Inches Off The Lake

This incredible Minnesota Cabin is available on Airbnb, and is truly unique! Sitting just inches off of the lake, you'll get incredible views of northern Minnesota's natural beauty!

'Getaway Shores' is a modern Scandinavian cabin on the shore of Lake Mitawan in Superior National Forest near Isabella, Minnesota. Check out some of the beautiful views, traditional Finnish sauna, and modern cabin below!

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