No See Um Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites: What’s the Difference

No See Ums are tiny biting insects that can cause skin irritation and itching. Bed Bug bites, on the other hand, are caused by insects that feed on human blood. It can be difficult to tell them apart since both cause red and itchy marks on the skin.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between No See Um Bites and Bed Bug Bites to help you accurately identify them.


What are no see ums?

No see ums are small, biting midges that are often referred to as sandflies or punkies. These insects measure just 1-3 mm in length and their wingspan is even smaller. So small, in fact, that they can pass through screens and other openings which makes it difficult to keep them out of areas where people live. No see ums are commonly found in warm and humid areas, such as near large bodies of water or forests. They can also be found in urban areas since they prefer moist soil and mulch beds over dry dirt.

No see ums exhibit a unique behavior during the day; rather than directly attack host animals for blood meals, no see ums wait until their host is inactive before attacking. This usually occurs right before sunrise or several hours after sunset when the air temperature drops below 85o F (29o C). No see ums fly around their hosts searching for exposed skin to feed on and will feed on both humans and animals alike.

In order to avoid bites from no see ums, it’s important to wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves at night so you can more easily identify when one lands on you.


What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects typically found in the crevices of mattresses, furniture and other hard-to-reach areas around the home. They feed on human blood and can thus be a serious annoyance to homeowners. These creatures often target sleepers during their nighttime feeding cycles, making them particularly difficult to detect.


In some cases, bed bug bites may be mistaken for those resulting from no see ums – tiny flying insects with a similar appearance. The two pests can create similar-looking welts on a person’s skin and spotting the difference between the two is not always easy.

Physical characteristics can be used to identify which bug has bitten a person – bed bugs are oval in shape, whereas no see ums are rounder. To further complicate matters, both pests tend to avoid daylight and become increasingly active at night when conditions are more favorable for them to find food sources.

Without proper inspection of an infested area, it can be difficult to identify which type of bug is responsible for an individual’s bites. Professional pest control services have the experience and knowledge necessary to determine whether bed bugs or no see ums are present in a particular location so that effective treatments can be implemented and future problems avoided.


No See Um Bites

No See Um bites are caused by tiny, two-winged insects called No See Ums. They tend to bite in large numbers and can become incredibly itchy and irritating. While their bites may look very similar to bed bug bites, there are actually some key differences. Let’s take a closer look at No See Um bites and what makes them different than bed bug bites



No see um bites are relatively small and often raise little to no concern in most people. Symptoms of a no see um bite are usually localized red itchy bumps that may appear in large numbers. The bites often resolve quickly without further symptoms.

Bed bug bites, on the other hand, can cause more of an allergic reaction in those with sensitive skin. Symptoms can range from slight itching or tingling to painful swelling and even blister-like formations. These bites may be grouped together or appear singularly, although the area surrounding each individual bite may be red and swollen for hours or days after being bitten. Both types of insect bites usually take a few days to manifest any symptoms if any at all, so it is important to be aware of preexisting conditions before assigning blame to any type of insect species.



No see um bites cause itching, swelling, and other discomforts. These reactions can range from mild to severe and vary based on an individual’s sensitivity level. However, no see um bites do not need to be treated in the same manner as bed bug bites.

Due to their small size and the thinness of their proboscis, no see hums rarely draw blood. In addition, unlike bed bug bites, no see um bite marks normally only last a few days and do not require medical attention. Nevertheless, any bite or sting should be monitored to ensure that it heals correctly without infection and that symptoms are temporary in nature.

Treatment of itching or pain associated with no see um bites typically involves:

  • Using cool compresses or anti-itch creams/ointments applied directly over the bitten area as required – typically several times each day.
  • Corticosteroids or antihistamines may also be recommended if resistant cases occur or if topical medications provide inadequate relief of symptoms.
  • Antibiotic ointment may be used to reduce the risk of infection that could arise from scratching the affected area too hard for too long which can cause skin breakdown and possible increase susceptibility for antibacterial action against microorganisms breaches in the skin integrity after a bite from gnats insects such as No See Ums.


Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are typically caused by the Cimex lectularius, a blood-sucking bug that feeds off its host without usually being noticed. Bed bugs can be found in places such as mattresses, bed frames, box springs, and other dark areas. Symptoms of bed bug bites include red, itchy welts and swelling around the bite.

It is important to know how to differentiate between bed bug bites and no see-um bites.



Bed bugs and no-see-ums both feed on human blood. However, bed bug bites are usually located on exposed skin, such as the arms and legs. No-see-um bites tend to be found in clusters or lines, whereas bed bug bites usually appear as isolated spots or in groups of three. Bed bug bites may be identifiable by a small, red bump surrounded by a slightly red halo. On the other hand, no-see-ums produce tiny red pinpricks more than one bite per feeding area.

Bed bug bites may also cause allergic reactions in some people which could include rashes, hives itching that may lasts several days after being bitten. No-see-ums do not cause any allergic reactions although they can become infected if scratched too vigorously or not cleaned properly after being bitten.

In addition to the bite symptoms mentioned above there are some other differences between bed bugs and no see ums:

  • Bed bugs typically take longer to feed than no see ums and their larger size makes them easier to spot with the naked eye.
  • No see ums are very small so they can go unnoticed for quite some time before being detected by people living in infested homes or buildings.
  • Bed bugs prefer warmer climates while no see ums are found more commonly in tropical areas with heavy precipitation levels during certain times of the year.



No matter whether your skin has been irritated by bed bugs, no see ums, or another source, it is important to treat your bites with the same level of care. The moment you notice an itchy bump or other skin irritation from a bug bite, you should:

  • Wash the area gently with soap and warm water
  • Apply a cool compress to reduce swelling
  • Apply antibiotic cream to prevent infection
  • Take OTC antihistamines for relief of itching and swelling
  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain as needed

If the itching persists for more than two days or you develop an infection around the bite site, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can rule out complications and help alleviate severe symptoms such as nausea, hives, facial swelling and difficulty breathing.


Differences Between No See Um and Bed Bug Bites

Many people mistake no see um bites for bed bug bites. No see um and bed bug bites are similar in that both cause itchy red bumps on the skin, however, there are differences between them. This article will explain the differences between no see um and bed bug bites, so you will know what type of bite it is when you are bitten.


Size and Appearance

No see ums and bed bug bites are both caused by small, wingless insects. However, there are many differences between the two insects, including their size and the appearance of their bites.

No See Um bites are typically smaller than bed bug bites and appear as red welts or spots on the skin that can be very itchy. Their bite marks may even appear in clusters or lines because of how quickly they can move when feeding. No see ums may leave behind what look like hives or welts that last several days to a few weeks.

In contrast, bed bug bite marks are typically red and flat in the center with a noticeable swelling around them. They tend to appear in groups of three which is often referred to as “breakfast, lunch and dinner“. Bed bug bite marks may appear larger than no see um bite marks, but this is because they consist of multiple little punctures along with flat lesions where they have sucked up blood. These usually take a few days to appear after having been bitten and healing may take up to 14 days depending on an individual’s sensitivity levels.



The location of the bites is one of the primary distinguishing factors between no see um bites and bed bug bites. While no see um bites generally occur on exposed skin or in covered places where clothing has created a tight fit, bed bugs tend to target areas underneath clothing or in spaces such as blankets.

No see ums will typically bite any exposed skin including the face, hands, arms, legs and feet. As these insects are so small and their bites relatively painless, it is common for people to not even realize that a bite has occurred. Bed bug bites on the other hand will usually be located in areas such as neckline folds, feet, ankles and wrists as this is where clothing creates a seamless fit with the skin. This provides an ideal platform for them to become entrenched and to begin sucking blood from their victim over time.



Apart from the appearance and size of the bug itself, one of the ways to differentiate between no see um bites and bed bug bites are through the severity of the reaction.

No see ums have very small mouths that do not penetrate deeply enough to draw blood. As a result, the skin reaction they produce is usually mild, with only a localized redness on the skin.

Bed bugs, on the other hand, are able to pierce through more layers of skin as they feed and extract blood. This means that reactions from bed bug bites often exhibit all of the classic signs of insect bites. Hosts may experience redness, swelling or hives around each bite mark, or an itchy or burning sensation in some cases. In extreme cases, an allergic reaction can occur leading to even more pronounced symptoms such as fever or recurrent rashes.



The treatment of no see um bites and bed bug bites is similar. However, there are a few differences that should be taken into consideration.

In the case of no see um bites, the primary goal is to reduce itching and swelling of the area, as well as prevent infection. Treatment includes products such as hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or an over-the-counter topical antihistamine to reduce inflammation and relieve itching. Additionally, for areas where scratching has caused further irritation or infection, antiseptic creams or oral antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor.

For bed bug bites, the same measures may be used to alleviate the pain and itching caused by their bites. However, treating a bed bug infestation requires more aggressive action than treating no see um bites. This includes:

  • General cleaning and laundering;
  • Deep cleaning any surfaces with detergents;
  • Vacuum cleaning;
  • Steaming fabric furniture with hot water;
  • Inspecting mattresses for signs of bed bugs;
  • Freezing fluids in bottles/cans certain materials can’t be steamed cleaned;
  • Utilizing pesticides appropriately (including sprays, dusts and monitoring devices such as glue boards);
  • Encasing mattresses in approved cases (such as ClimbUp Interceptors to trap any bugs trying to climb out of beds);
  • Decluttering living spaces to reduce hiding spots for any surviving bugs;
  • Using encasements on box springs/pillows if infestations persist after treatments have been applied;
  • Enlisting professional services if control issues continue after DIY methods have been implemented.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are No See Ums?

A: No See Ums are tiny flying insects, also known as biting midges. They are often found near beaches, swamps, and other areas with standing water.

Q: What are the signs of No See Um bites?

A: No See Um bites typically cause itchy, red bumps on the skin. They can also cause pain and swelling.

Q: How do No See Um bites differ from Bed Bug bites?

A: No See Um bites are usually smaller and itchier than Bed Bug bites. Bed Bug bites can also cause a reaction in the form of a rash or hives.