Mosquitoes are nobody’s warm-weather friend, but hey, at least they’re slow enough to swat at, right? When it comes to no-see-ums, however, you’re dealing with an insect that specializes in stealth. Even while relaxing indoors, you might unwittingly be up against an insect you didn’t even know was there – until it’s too late. So, how do you protect yourself from what you can’t see? By no-see-um-proofing your home!
Screens for No-See-Ums
The average no-see-um adult is more than just tiny – they’re practically invisible to the naked eye, less than ⅛ of an inch (roughly 3mm) long. Its miniscule size isn’t just a neat piece of trivia but is an integral part of their ability to feed on larger mammals, like humans. Protecting yourself from no-see-um bites, particularly indoors, may mean having to take special precautions to prevent their entry in the first place. So where should you get started? With exclusion! How do you do that? We recommend no-see-um screens.
The average mesh size of your industry-standard window screen is 18 by 16 (meaning there are 18 squares per inch going lengthwise across your window screen, and 16 squares per inch from top to bottom). While this mesh size is suitable for keeping most insects out, no-see-ums are the exception to the rule.
Experts at the University of Arizona note that no-see-ums can easily pass through these standard-size mesh screens and recommend replacing them with a 30-by-30 configuration instead. No-see-um screens are significantly more restrictive in size and can be powerful tools in preventing no-see-um entry. You can find no-see-um-specific screens at most local hardware stores, just make sure to look at the mesh size before you buy!
Doubling Down on Preventive Measures
Replacing your window screens in the summertime with a finer mesh is a great way to keep biting insects from invading your home. But if the problem persists, there is more you can do.
- Keep the Airflow Circulating – For all their stealth, no-see-ums are generally pretty weak fliers. Put a small breeze in their way, and no-see-ums won’t get far at all. Using a simple ceiling or floor fan is an effective means of keeping the more determined pests at bay. Even better, you can stay cool and comfortable while blowing no-see-ums off their flight path.
- Turn Down the Temperature a Bit – Having your AC running to cool down and dry out the air inside your home, particularly at night or in the early mornings, can deter no-see-ums from trying to get inside your property. A good rule of thumb to follow is that no-see-ums like warm temperatures and high humidity – so don’t give them too much of either.
- If You’re Going Outside, Don’t Forget the Spray – Being outdoors during no-see-um feeding hours significantly increases the chance you’ll be bitten. Rather than applying harsh chemicals, try natural sprays, like our No-See-Ums Natural Repellent, to deter no-see-ums . Our effective natural spray utilizes a powerful mixture of essential oils such as lemongrass, peppermint and geranium. Once applied, they can provide up to six hours of protection.
- C. Roxanne Connelly, s.v., “Biting Midges,” in Featured Creatures, Entomology & Nematology, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ,University of Florida accessed April 23, 2022, https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/biting_midges.htm#:~:text=They%20are%202%20to%205,1%2F8%2Dinch%20long.
- Alexis Rohlin, “How to Determine the Mesh Size of a Window Screen,” SFGATE, accessed April 23, 2022, https://homeguides.sfgate.com/determine-mesh-size-window-screen-25184.html
- Shaku Nair, Dawn H. Gouge and Shujuan Li, “Something’s Biting Me, but I Can’t See It!,” School & Home Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Newsletter, July 2018, University of Arizona:College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension, https://acis.cals.arizona.edu/community-ipm/home-and-school-ipm-newsletters/ipm-newsletter-view/ipm-newsletters/2018/07/16/july-2018.