Floridians know what’s biting. After all, they spend their waking and sleeping hours in the sunny state. Tourists or those simply passing through, might be oblivious to the woes that await them.
While Florida is a great state to put down roots, Floridians know all too well that it’s also a haven for mosquitoes and biting midges—no see ums.
Especially in coastal areas where most people reside, no see ums are notorious for the biting sprees they undertake. Florida’s richness in salt marshes and mangroves make the state attractive, as no see ums need stagnant, low-lying moist areas to breed.
If you live in Florida or expect to vacation soon, you’ll need to know how to navigate around no see ums in Florida. You can’t be promised a “bite-free” existence or stay. However, knowing what you’re up against prepares you to act accordingly and lessen their effects.
When is No See Um Season in Florida?
While many blog posts and articles tout that no see ums are most active late spring and into summer, travelers say otherwise, especially when it comes to no see um season in Florida. Perhaps no see ums have a specific season in Caribbean countries, but Florida seems to be laced with biting midges throughout the year.
Most people who travel to Florida at various seasons of the year relate that they’ve always been badly bitten. This is regardless of when they visit.
If you’re especially looking to visit Sanibel, expect to be bitten all year round.
No see ums in Florida also seem to be more active during rainy weather, which spans from May through October.
Regardless of what season of the year you travel to Florida, you may have to contend with no see ums.
Be prepared and ensure to use repellent when you move around.
Florida No See Ums—Where Do They Come From?
Florida no see ums, like other no see ums worldwide, are tiny biting midges that are difficult to see. With over 4000 species of no see ums belonging to the Ceratopogonidae family, only 47 species are identified in Florida. That’s more than enough biting midges to go around.
No see ums got the name because their 1/8-inch-long body makes them next to impossible to see. They come from different territories but have demonstrated a preference for areas where water lies low and settles.
This creates the ideal condition for larvae to thrive and mature into bothersome adults. When they mature, no see um adults will emerge from salt marshes, mangroves, ponds, and some man-made water bodies. Also, they are known to travel from their original site of emergence, depending on the wind’s trajectory.
For more information on where no see ums come from and live, consider reading this article.
Dealing with No See Ums in Florida
Contrary to what some may believe, no see ums do not bite 24/7. They, however, have a specific time when they increase their activity.
You’ll likely encounter an attack strolling along the coast of beautiful beaches early morning and lounging outdoors at sundown.
Instead of canceling a vacation or avoiding the beautiful outdoors of Florida, change things up a bit.
Since no see ums are mostly active sunrise and dusk, avoid lingering outdoors during these times.
Below you’ll find a few tips to deal with Florida no see ums:
- Ensure to sport a suitable personal repellent. I recommend “No No-See-Um Natural Insect Repellent (get it here). Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard (get it here) is also another good choice that people rave about.
- Choose to stroll when it’s windy. If you must go for a walk, do so when the breeze is high and mighty. No see ums are lousy fliers and will find it difficult to latch on.
- Wear long sleeves and pants. Also, opt for wearing lighter color clothing instead of dark.
- Be liberal when applying a repellent. No see ums travel as a group, so you’ll need to ensure the repellent covers your skin completely.
Ten Things to Do When Bitten By No See Ums in Florida
- Take a warm shower or wash the area with warm water or cleanse with rubbing alcohol.
- If rubbing alcohol or a warm shower isn’t an option, consider using apple cider vinegar. This has acetic acid, which is said to have an antiseptic action that is great for wound cleansing.
- Take oral Benadryl and use the topical cream to reduce inflammation and pain. Consult your physician if Benadryl is not a medication you’re familiar with taking, especially if you take prescribed medications.
- If you prefer homemade remedies, consider lemon juice and witch hazel.
- Do not scratch the area, as this could worsen the situation.
- Some people suggest using Listerine to ameliorate pruritus.
- Take an oat bath. Oat is commonly used to soothe the itching associated with chickenpox. If you’ve been bitten from head to toe, taking an oat bath may provide relief.
- Use aloe vera. Aloe vera is cooling and may reduce the redness that comes with no see um bites.
- Watch out for hypersensitivity. Some persons develop an allergic reaction to no see ums, which might worsen typical symptoms. In some cases, it might be twice as difficult to get over the situation when this happens.
- Avoid popping blisters and welts should they occur. If after treating no see um bites but nothing changes, consider seeing your general practitioner.
No See Ums in Florida, Conclusion
If you’re looking to visit Florida soon, be prepared to contend with no see ums. Applying the suggestions mentioned in this article will help you deal with no see ums when traveling to Florida and when bitten.