Note: If you are a consumer, looking for information on noseeums and other pests biting you in your home or business, you should check out my post, What’s Biting Me When I’m at Home?
Client is being bit inside their home in the Midwest. They report that the bites feel like bites from noseeums, which they experienced during a vacation in the South. They are looking for a control program to get rid of these biting pests.
The first step in any control program for biting pests is to get a positive identification on the pest. Different biting pests have different sources, and if you do not find the source and figure out how to take care of it, your control program is more likely to fail.
So, our first step is to get a sample from the client. With biting pests, people often want you to identify the pest based upon the bite. With a few exceptions, don’t even try. Identifying bites is very challenging. If the client is being bit repeatedly, you should be able to get samples of the pest for identification purposes.
This client did not have samples. Depending upon the situation, your next step would be to either inspect the property or conduct a more detailed interview. Because this is a more unusual pest, an interview would be the best choice.
The client is concerned that they brought the noseeums back in their luggage after vacationing in the South.
This is unlikely. They don’t behave like bed bugs, who could be found in clothes and luggage, rather noseeums are more like mosquitoes. Also, adults generally only live a few weeks (literature reports a maximum of seven weeks), so any brought back on vacation would have died out some time ago.
You can also talk to the client about the source. Larvae develop outdoors in moist, swampy areas, high in organic matter. This client lives in a typical, well-kept suburban housing tract, without any swampy areas. It’s unlikely that any breeding is going on near their house, so adults are unlikely to be near their house.
We’ve just determined that the biting pest is unlikely to be a noseeum. We worked through this process step-by-step with the client, so they came to the same conclusion as we did.
But, we still have the question of what is biting them.
You can inspect the areas in the house where they are being bit, looking for any pest activity. If you don’t find anything, ask the client to collect samples of the pest so you can identify it.
Identification is an essential step to take before treating for a pest. Don’t leave it out of your control program.