This guide reveals the 9 tiny black bugs that bite, and their bites cause intense itching.
Some of the little biting bugs on the list can also cause serious diseases if you don’t seek immediate medical attention.
The list also includes small biting insects that are dark brown or reddish, but they can appear as black.
Let’s dive straight into these vermins to find out what they look like, the reasons they bite, the side effects of their bites, and how you can protect yourself from their nasty itchy bites.
Biting midges are tiny black flies that bite humans when they’re outdoors.
Also known as no-see-ums, or punkies in Florida, these biting flies are 1-3 mm in size.
They’ve got a pair of wings with dark patterns that cover their entire bodies when they’re at rest.
Biting midges don’t have a beak or proboscis like mosquitoes to draw blood from their hosts.
They’ve sharp blade-like mouthparts that they use to rip open the skin to draw blood.
Sever itching, red rashes, and burning sensation on the skin ensue after the bite.
No-see-ums bites occur mostly at the outdoors near the water bodies such as lakes, streams, ponds, marshes, and swamps.
Dawn and dusk are the typical periods when biting midges are active.
And they attack humans and animals to feed on their blood.
Biting midges appear as tiny black dots on the skin. But many people can’t see them.
So, they wonder what’s biting them that they can’t see.
Point to note here is that it’s only the female biting midges that bite humans and animals to draw blood.
The reason is that females need blood to process and develop eggs in their bodies.
The male midges don’t bite. They feed on the flower nectar.
Biting midges are active in the entire summer.
As the temperature starts to drop with the beginning of fall, their numbers start to decrease.
The best way to protect yourself from biting midges’ bites is to wear DEET-based insect repellent and have minimum exposed skin.
Many people mistakenly presume sand flies are as same as the no-see-ums. No, they’re different.
Sand flies are not black. They’re golden or brownish.
Sand flies have hairy wings that are slanted upwards at a 45 degree angle while at rest.
Buffalo gnats, also known as the black flies, are biting gnats that have a hump on their heads.
They’re black and tiny. They grow only up to 3 mm or 1/8th in size.
Black flies are active during the late spring, and they continue to thrive throughout the summer.
Like the biting midges, the buffalo gnats live near the water bodies.
But buffalo gnats’ habitat is running water, not stagnant water.
Buffalo gnats will lay their eggs in submerged objects like stones submerged inside the water.
Black flies are terrible biters. And they also draw blood from animals and humans.
Their sharp scissor-like mouthparts cause laceration on the skin to draw blood.
The bites are intensely itchy and the symptoms include swelling and rashes.
In some cases, bleeding from the bitten wound can also occur.
The worst part is that black flies can get inside noses and ears.
Their bites don’t cause any diseases to humans. But their bites can kill poultry and livestock.
Black flies or buffalo gnats can be active in barn or farm.
The best way to protect yourself from black flies’ bites is to use the methods for mosquito bites protection.
Minute Pirate Bugs
Minute pirate bugs, the close cousins of insidious flower bugs, deliver a big bite despite being so tiny.
Growing only up to 1/5th of an inch in size, this tiny black fly looks like a beetle because of its oval body shape.
They’ve got white markings on their back which makes them easily identifiable.
Minute pirate bugs are active during the late summer when they move from the woodlands to your home’s yard or garden.
Minute pirate bugs are garden pest predators.
So, they feed on tiny garden pests like white flies.
Minute pirate bugs have a beak which they insert into your skin to sting. The stings are intensely itchy and painful.
The best part is that their bite is only a probing bite.
They insert their beaks just to know if you’re its prey.
So, unlike the biting midges and buffalo gnats, the minute pirate bugs don’t draw your blood.
They don’t have any venom either.
Another thing is that minute pirate bugs don’t take off after biting you.
So, you can smash it while it’s on your skin.
As per the university of Iowa, you don’t need to take any steps to control them.
They go away with the arrival of the fall.
And they play a beneficial role in the ecology by eating the harmful plant pests.
So, a skin friendly mosquito-repellent and a bug spray are enough to protect you from the minute pirate bugs’ stings.
Black-Legged Ticks Or Deer Ticks
Out of all the tiny black bugs that can bite humans, the black-legged tick or the deer tick is the worst.
Black-legged ticks can feed on human blood.
They can also remain latched onto your skin, and its bites can also life-threatening diseases like the Lyme disease.
They also carry disease vectors of harmful diseases like Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis.
Black-legged ticks are widespread in the northeastern United States.
States like NY, MA, CT, and NJ are the worst regions with prevalent black-legged ticks problem.
Growing only up to 1/10th of an inch in size when unfed, the black-legged ticks can be hard to detect.
However, after feeding on blood, these ticks become engorged, and their size increases up to 0.4-0.5 inches, resembling poppy seeds.
When black-legged ticks bite, they insert only their mouthpart into the skin.
Contrary to popular belief, black-legged ticks don’t get inside the skin.
They release an anti-coagulating agent into your blood stream to prevent the blood from clotting.
That makes it easy for them to suck on your blood.
The worst part is that these ticks can remain attached to your skin for days without you ever noticing it.
It’s during the feeding, black-legged ticks transfer the Lyme disease virus into the human body.
Black-legged ticks can make the dense vegetation and tall grasses on your property as their habitat.
They’ll hide in these places and wait for a host to pass through to latch onto.
So, pets can easily get the black-legged ticks and bring them home.
The black-legged ticks will also latch onto your clothing, luggage, hair, and on your skin when you pass through a habitat with ticks.
Wash your clothes with hot water after coming back from an outdoor trip.
Don’t keep the clothes straight into your clothing storage or in places like couch or bed.
If you do, you’ll transfer ticks from your clothing and luggage inside your home.
Please do take a bath after coming back from the outdoors.
And if you’ve got long hair always tie your hair and wear a hat to prevent ticks from latching onto your head while outdoors.
The best way to protect yourself from deer ticks is by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while you’re in a dense vegetation near damp areas.
If there are redundant tall grasses and shrubs in your property, remove them.
Removing the vegetation is vital to control ticks, especially when you’ve got a water body like swimming pool or pond on your property.
Also, check your pets for any tick or flea infection. Your pets can bring them home too.
Fleas are not typically black. They’re dark brown.
But they appear as black when you notice them in your pets and in places like couches and bed.
And fleas not only bite animals. Fleas can bite humans too to feed on their blood.
Fleas biting humans is a common occurrence when their primary hosts, which are furry animals, are missing.
Fleas grow up to 1/8th of an inch in size. And they’re tiny blackish bugs that jump and bite.
Fleas share the same habitat as the ticks.
So, it’s only a matter of time they’ll be inside your home if you’ve got dense vegetation on your property and pets.
Your pets can transfer fleas to your bed and couch. In that case, fleas will bite you at your sleep.
The most common areas where fleas bite is near the ankles and calves.
Flea bites are in clusters or in straight line. Flea bites are in the form of little red bumps like pimples, and they intensely itch.
There’s also a halo around the bitten area.
To protect yourself from flea bites indoors, you’ll have to remove fleas from your home and pets.
While outdoors, use the same precautions that you’ll take to protect yourself from ticks.
Bed bugs are reddish brown that grow 3/8th of an inch in size. They’re flat, oval, and look like poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
Bed bugs primarily feed on human blood. And their bites generally occur during the night.
When the bed bugs had their blood meals, they appear as dark red to black on your bed.
Bed bug infestation in homes is a serious issue that has resurfaced across the US in the past decade.
The best way to get rid of bed bugs in your house is by hiring a pest controller.
However, if you’ve spotted the infestation early, then you can get rid of bed bugs on your own too.
Bed bug bites are in the form clusters. They appear as red welts that intensely itch.
But many people are non-reactive to bed bug bites.
So, they’ll not show any signs of bed bugs bites like reddish itchy welts on their skin despite bitten by bed bugs.
There are many ways to protect yourself from bed bug bites.
One of them is to clean your bed, preferably with a steam cleaner, and wear bed bug repellants like peppermint essential oil on your skin.
Chiggers, also known as itch mites, red bugs, or harvest mites, are tiny reddish-black biting mites that feed on the human skin.
Chiggers are larvae of the trombiculid mite that live in the moist soil and dense vegetation in tropical and humid climates.
Incidentally, the adult trombiculid mite doesn’t bite humans.
It’s their larvae which is known as chiggers bite both humans and animals.
The worst part is that you don’t realize when chiggers bite you.
It’s because chiggers first inject a saliva to liquefy the skin to feed on it.
Red rashes and itching occur appears a few days after the feeding.
One of the features of chiggers bites is that the bitten wound turns dry.
These biting mites are hard to spot because they’re microscopic bugs that bite.
Chiggers grow only up to 1/50th of an inch in size.
So, you might need a magnifying glass to spot them.
Chiggers will latch onto your clothing and belonging when you’re at the outdoors.
So, be sure to wash your clothes and bags before you keep them in your storage.
Else, chiggers can spread into your home, including your bed.
Chiggers are different from scabies mites.
Chiggers don’t burrow themselves inside the human skin like the scabies mites do.
Like the body lice, head lice are one of the contagious parasites that live in human hair and scalp.
They can spread from one human to another.
An adult head louse is about 3mm – 4mm in size, has six legs, grayish-white or tan, and oblong-shaped.
Head lice can camouflage themselves to appear black or cream depending on the hair color.
Head lice will also breed and lay eggs on the human scalp. The eggs that they lay on the scalp are known as nits.
Unless you don’t take medical treatment for head lice, the head lice can spend their entire lifecycle on your scalp.
These parasites feed on the human blood by biting on the head.
The common biting areas are at the back of the head and behind the ears.
An itchy scalp with red rashes is a common sign of presence of head lice on the head.
Mosquitoes are a big menace all over the US.
These stinging flies not only bite while you’re at the outdoors but also indoors too.
Standing water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Swimming pools and ponds in properties can also be the source of mosquitoes in your home.
The most common cause of mosquito infestation in your home is that there are standing waters that are allowing them to breed.
Some of these sources are pot holes, old tires, trash bins lying outdoors, and even choked drains.
Though there are no mosquito-borne diseases in the US, but with the appearance of tiny mosquitoes like the Asian tiger mosquito have been a cause of concern.
Mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus, dengue, malaria, and many other harmful diseases.
The best way to prevent mosquitoes on your property is by eliminating their sources and consistently using mosquito sprays inside and outside your home.
There are many black bugs that bite. Some of those black biting bugs can be spiders like the black widow spider, black wasps, or bees.
But those bugs are quite big.
However, the tiny black bugs that bite and itch are a serious issue if you’re at their habitat or your home has conditions that helps them to breed and lay eggs.
This guide revealed what are those bugs, how you get them, what are the bite symptoms and what’s the best course of action to protect yourself from their bites.
People who’re sensitive to bug bites can show severe allergic reactions like nausea and difficulty breathing when these bugs bite them.
If you or yours are one of those people, then please see a doctor ASAP after being bitten.