5 Tiny Black Bugs that Bite And Itch (And How To protect Yourself From Their Bites)

Let’s face it. You’re no stranger to itchy painful bites from tiny black bugs, especially during the summer months while you’re outdoors.

These tiny black biting bugs become active from late spring in places like your yard and garden.

And from there, they can get inside your home too.

These small black bugs will either fly or crawl to you to deliver nasty bites that put you into an itchy and painful misery for days to come.

So, what are these tiny black bugs that bite and itch? What attracts them to you?

How can you protect yourself from these nasty biting bugs?

This guide answers all these questions. And a lot more.

Keep reading.

These 5 Tiny Black Bugs That Bite

In the US, especially in the south and west coast, the following five tiny black bugs unleash havoc on people.

  1. Minute Pirate Bugs or Insidious Flower Bugs
  2. Female Gnats
  3. No-See-Ums or Biting Midges
  4. Fleas
  5. Mosquitoes

All the above bugs become active during the summer months.

When you’re spending time outdoors near lush vegetation, you’re likely to get bite from these bugs.

These bugs look similar, especially the ones that fly. So, identifying them can be a tricky task.

So, many people fail to use the right methods specific to each of these bugs to protect themselves from these bugs.

Later in the post you’ll find out how to do keep these bugs away and protect yourself from their bites.

But first let’s find out what draws these tiny black biting bugs to you and to your property.

What Attracts Tiny Black Biting Bugs To You And To Your Property?

There are three things that draw these tiny black biting bugs to your property –

  1. Dampness
  2. Presence of other bugs
  3. Lush vegetation

Outdoors, tiny black biting bugs are quite common during the season.

They’ll breed and spread in your yard and garden if these bugs get the same habitat.

And one of the most common things that attract these bugs are high dampness and lush vegetation.

Excessive watering of your yard or garden, presence of ponds and swimming pools, leaking pipes in your yard, and wastes are the prime attractors of these bugs.

On top of that, dense bushes and shrubs and flowers also draw these bugs because many of them feed on the flower’s nectars.

Bugs like the insidious flower bugs feeds on the flower’s nectar and on tiny plant pests like aphids and thrips.

Your sweat and carbon dioxide that you release also draw these bugs which results in bites.

Controlling the factors that draw these bugs to your property, and to your home, are one of the keyways to prevent infestation.

Now let’s deep dive into each of these bugs to identify them and to find out their biting behavior.

Minute Pirate BugsThe Tiny Black Flying Bug Outdoors That Delivers A Nasty Bite

Black Microscopic Bugs That Bite Insidious Flower Bug

The most surprising thing is that minute pirate bugs don’t actively seek humans to bite.

It’s when you pass through a vegetation while working outdoors these tiny black bugs bite you.

And they bite you out of curiosity to find out if you’re their food.

Therefore, the minute pirate bite you only once. They fly off from your skin once they realize that you’re not their meal.

But the worst part is that these bugs attack you in small swarms. So, you can get nasty multiple bites from multiple minute pirate bugs.

Minute pirate bugs have a sharp beak-like mouth that they insert into your skin to probe on what they’ve landed on.

Their bites are pretty painful.

Minute pirate bugs’ bite symptoms include itchy red welts and rashes on the bitten area.

But their bites are harmless. It means that they neither do they carry any diseases or venom.

So, what do minute pirate bugs look like?

Also known as insidious flower bugs, minute pirate bugs are black and oblong shaped with clear visible wings on their back.

The scientific name of minute pirate bugs is orius insidiosus. Their adults grow up to 3-5 millimeters in length and they have a visible pair of antennae.

One of the distinguishing features on minute pirate bugs is the brownish patch on their thorax.

Minute pirate bugs become active during the summer season when they’re constantly searching for food.

These bugs are beneficial garden bugs because they feed on plant damaging pests like thrips, mites eggs, aphids, and larvae of small insects.

If there’s no prey, then the minute pirate bugs will feed on the pollen and nectar of flowers.

Female Gnats – The Little Black Mosquito Look-Alike That Bites

Fungus gnats - tiny black bugs in houses near windows

Gnats are mosquito look-alikes that live and breed outdoors. These are delicate small black flies that bite people both indoors and outdoors.

Places like moist soil beds in your yard or garden and pots, compost, potting-mix, and decaying organic debris like foliage and mulch beds are their living and breeding places.

Gnats can enter your home too. And they do, especially when the outdoors becomes too dry and hot for them.

Dry weather will cause the wet debris and soil beds to dry up. That forces the gnats to enter your home in search for cooler and mild places to live.

Once inside your home, gnats will look for damp and cool places to hide. That’s why they end up in places like bathroom and in electrical appliances like refrigerator.

Another reason that brings gnats home is that they’re attracted to light.

Light coming out of your home in the evening hours attracts the gnats.

That’s the reason why gnats can also land up in the swimming pool. It’s because the light around the swimming pool attracts them.

Bringing potted plants home, with gnats in the soil bed of the pot, is also another way to bring gnats inside your home.

Despite being a mosquito look-alike, how would you distinguish between a gnat and mosquito?

The most critical difference between the gnats and mosquitoes is that the gnats are very weak fliers.

They can’t fly as strongly as mosquitoes do. To go from one place to another, gnats tend to hop more than they’ll fly.

Outdoors, gnats will feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers.

However, there’s an important point to note. The male gnats don’t bite.

It’s the female gnats that bite humans, livestock, poultry, and even pets. Without blood meals, female fungus gnats can’t breed and lay eggs

The bite from female gnats is severely itchy, or as itchy as mosquito bites.

Female gnats will use their sharp mouth parts to rupture the skin and access the veins to suck the blood.

So, if gnats are inside your home, these tiny black flying bugs will indeed bite you.

No-See-Ums – Small Black Biting Flying Bug

Tiny black flying bug that bite and itch - No See Ums

Another black flying and biting bugs are the no-see-ums. They’re also known as biting midges.

No-see-ums are minute and they’re not that easily visible.

Biting midges are outdoor biting flying bugs. These bugs are a menace for hikers, campers, and trekkers.

Biting midges are so tiny that it makes you wonder that what’s biting you but you can’t see.

Measuring up to only 1/8th of an inch, these bugs are greyish-black with white spots on them. That makes them look like the menacing tiger mosquitoes.

No-see-ums or biting midges are common in homes that are near the woods. They’re not that widespread in towns and urban areas.

Like the gnats, no-see-ums too are attracted to light. Inside your home they won’t shy away from biting you.

In the US, no-see-ums don’t cause any severe skin infection or dermatitis. But their bites are pretty itch and cause red rashes on your skin.

Fleas – The Tiny Black Biting Bug That Can Be In Your Bed!

remove fleas in bed

Now fleas are the bugs that bite humans only when their natural hosts, which are your pets and other mammals, are not around.

Fleas are tiny biting bugs that get inside your home in one of the three ways.

The first is that your pet brings them home. Yes, if your pets have fleas, then those fleas can easily jump off to your bed or couch.

This is quite common when your pets spend a considerable time on your bed or couch. And this is how fleas get into your bed.

The second way that fleas get inside your home are through wild life like squirrels and racoons. They can transfer fleas to your home.

The third way is fleas latching onto your clothing when you’re outdoors.

Fleas hide and breed in tall grasses and dense bushes in moist areas. You walk through those grasses and bushes, fleas will latch onto your trousers and socks.

Fleas can live and hide in your bed. They’ll leave behind itchy bites on you while you’re asleep because they need their blood meals to survive.

On your bed fleas look black jumping bugs that bite. And they’ll leave behind flea dirt, which is their feces, on your bed.

Mosquitoes

California Bugs That Bite - Tiger Mosquito
Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquitoes are the most common tiny black flying bugs that bite. 

Over the years, because of overpopulation and increasing waste, mosquito infestations in homes have increased. 

There are no serious mosquito-borne diseases in the US. But some mosquitoes, like the Asian Tiger mosquitoes capable of spreading deadly diseases, are now active in the US.

Some of the diseases that these mosquitoes spread are Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and dengue fever.

Mosquitoes breed on stagnant water. That’s why you must not allow water to accumulate in your yard or garden. 

If there’s a swimming pool in your yard, it can also be the source of mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are one out of many bugs in the swimming pool that can breed and increase in numbers if you don’t get rid of them.

Also, drains in the mosquitoes are a common occurrence, especially when you’ve got clogged drains in your home and catch basins in your yard.

Clogged drains are the reason for several bugs, including drain flies and drain roaches.

To get rid of mosquitoes in your home, use mosquito repellent sprays during dusk and dawn, as these are the times when they’re most active and more likely to bite you.

Mosquito bites are solitary itchy red welts or lumps. They never bite in clusters. 

As a long-term solution to mosquitoes, do not allow stagnant water, damp and organic wastes to accumulate on your property. 

Maintain cleanliness in your outdoors as much as indoors.

How To Protect Yourself From Tiny Black Biting Bugs?

There are straightforward ways to prevent bites from these little black biting bugs. All you’ve to do is remove their sources and take necessary precautions.

Here’s a five step guide to get rid of these tiny black biting bugs –

Step#1 – Reduce The Dampness In Your Yard

Overwatering your yard or garden causes the soil to remain damp. It also causes waterlogging problems in different sections of your yard.

Leaky pipes and drains also play a role in keeping your yard damp.

So, the first step you need to take is to reduce the dampness levels in your yard.

You can do it by fixing any leaking pipes and by not overwatering your yard, lawn, and garden.

Step#2 – Remove The Wastes From Your Yard And Property

Organic wastes like foliage, rotting woodpiles, and expired mulch beds are magnets for bugs of all sorts.

Bugs not only nest in them but also lay eggs in these places.

So, keep your yard clean. Ensure trash bins in your yard and garden are not filled with wastes for long periods of time.

Step#3 – Don’t Let Water Accumulate In Your Property

This is important specifically for reducing and eliminating mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water. And places where water accumulates becomes the source of mosquitoes.

So, fill up any potholes that are in your yard.

Remove unwanted tires, containers, bins, and any other objects that can potentially water.

Ensure that you maintain your swimming pool and pond in your property properly so that they don’t become the source of mosquitoes.

Step#4 – Remove Excess Vegetation

Overgrown bushes around damp areas in your home are the breeding grounds for many bugs including fleas and ticks.

If you don’t get rid of them, then there will be more biting bugs that will be hiding and breeding in these places.

So, chop off those dense bushes, especially the ones that surrounds your home’s perimeter.

Step#5 – Use Insecticide Sprays, Cautiously

Insecticide sprays are lethal to beneficial bugs like the minute pirate bugs.

So, we don’t recommend them using it on plants and flowers where these bugs feed.

However, you can use insecticide sprays in the rest of the sections of your yard.

Places like catch basins, wood piles, and mulch beds are breeding grounds for bugs. So, spray it on those areas.

You can also use pesticides along the pool and pond area where many bugs, including ants, hide.

Step#6 – Wear Bug Repellants And Proper Clothing While You’re Outdoors

This step is specifically for protecting yourself from bug bites while you’re outdoors.

Wear DEET based insect repellants or bug sprays that are skin friendly.

Also, ensure that you’re wearing dark clothing that covers all of your body. Don’t let your forearms and legs remain exposed while you’re walking or hiking outdoors.

After returning from the outdoors, ensure that you don’t keep your clothes and belongings inside your home.

That keeps bugs like insidious flower bugs and no-see-ums away from you.

Wearing essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint also work great in keeping bugs away from you while you’re outdoors.

Put your clothes straight into the washing machine and use insecticide sprays on your luggage before you take them inside.

That will kill bugs like fleas, ticks, and ants that might have latched onto your clothing or luggage while you’re outdoors.

Conclusion

In the US, the most common tiny black bugs that bite are –

  1. Minute pirate bugs
  2. Female gnats
  3. No-see-ums
  4. Fleas
  5. Mosquitoes

These bugs are active in the summer months and they bite people mostly when they’re outdoors.

They can also be in your yard and garden if there are conditions that can sustain their lifecycles.

In this guide, you learned what draw these bugs to you and why do they bite.

There’s a six-step guide that you can follow right away to remove any of these bugs from your property and protect yourself from their bites.

There are more bugs that tinier than these on the list. Those are known as microscopic bugs.

These bugs are hard to spot and when they bite, you wonder what’s biting you but you can’t see.

Chiggers is one of them. To know the entire list, check out our guide on microscopic bugs that bite.