There are mosquitoes, which look smaller than usual, that enter your home and leave a nasty bite.
Sometimes it feels like they enter in swarms and are everywhere inside your house.
So, what are these tiny mosquitoes that bite and cause itching? Are they mosquitoes or some little flying bugs that look like mosquitoes?
This guide answers all these questions.
You’ll also learn how to eliminate these tiny mosquitoes, or mosquito look-alikes, from your home and some effective hacks to protect yourself from their bites.
Let’s get into it.
Are Those Tiny Mosquitoes, Really Mosquitoes?
First, let’s be clear. Some mosquitoes look smaller than common mosquitoes.
So, the tiny mosquitoes that you’re seeing inside your home, or biting you outdoors, can be a different species mosquitoes.
These mosquitoes are Aedes (pronounced as “aid-dees”) mosquitoes.
Aedes mosquitoes are not your typical house mosquitoes. An average house mosquito is grayish or light brown.
But Aedes mosquitoes are dark black with white spots on them. But, despite looking smaller, they’re the same size as a standard mosquito, which is 0.25 inches.
Aedes mosquitoes are common in cities and towns. And these mosquitoes commonly bite in the lower half of your body, especially the ankles.
That’s why these tiny mosquitoes are also known as ankle biters.
Aedes mosquitoes are efficient disease spreaders.
They’re responsible for spreading the Zika virus in Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. And they can also spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever.
Lately, they’re also known to spread the West Nile virus.
That keeps the vector control districts on high alert for the Aedes mosquitoes.
These mosquitoes are invasive species. It means settlers from outside of the United States brought them.
Aedes mosquitoes are native to Europe, Asia, and South America. Their sources are the same as an average mosquito.
However, their capability to transmit diseases makes them more lethal than other mosquitoes.
Three types of Aedes mosquitoes are active in the Southern US. They’re Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito), Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), and Aedes notoscriptus (the chikungunya mosquito).
The point to note here is that the male mosquitoes don’t bite. The female mosquitoes of all the mosquito species bite humans and feed on human blood.
Now that you know that the little mosquitoes in your home can be pretty menacing, some bugs look like mosquitoes and bite.
Let’s find out what they are.
Biting Midges Or No-See-Ums
A biting flying insect many confuse with little mosquitoes is the biting midges.
Also known as no-see-ums, biting midges leave nasty bites on people indoors and outdoors.
These bugs look like mosquitoes. But you can quickly tell the difference between biting midges and mosquitoes based on the differences in their anatomies.
The first difference is biting midges are smaller than an Aedes mosquito and household mosquito.
Biting midges grow 3 mm in length, less than the mosquito’s size.
The second difference is biting midges don’t have a proboscis or a beak, a tube-like thing on a mosquito’s mouth that they insert into your skin to draw blood.
Instead, biting midges have strong mouthparts and mandibles that rupture your skin and bite.
The third difference between biting midges and mosquitoes is that biting midges don’t have scales on their wings.
When stationary, the biting midges’ wings rest one over the other. Those wings are opaquely white.
Some biting midges can also have visible black patches on their wings.
The source of biting midges are aquatic habitats like ponds, lakes, and streams, where the adult biting midges lay their eggs.
They can also lay eggs on damp and decaying organic matter like foliage, compost piles, and moist soil beds.
Biting midges thrive in hot and humid conditions. That’s why they’re more common in the southern states than elsewhere in the US.
Another flying bug that looks like mosquitoes is the gnats.
Gnats look so similar to mosquitoes that it’s hard to tell the difference between them at first look.
However, there are some differences.
The first difference is their flight pattern. Gnats are weak fliers and can’t fly in a straight line like mosquitoes.
Their flight pattern is zig-zag.
Secondly, gnats also don’t have a proboscis.
Gnats infestation is common in homes with a lot of humidity and organic wastes.
These tiny flying bugs breed in damp wastes, including the debris in your trash bins, rotting wood pieces, mulch beds, compost piles, and moist soil beds.
Gnats can also enter homes. And the light from the light bulbs attracts gnats.
Gnats enter homes through open doors and windows in swarms, hovering around the light bulbs.
When gnats are inside homes, they’re a disturbing nuisance. Gnats get inside the fridge, fly inside your bedroom or bathroom, sit on your food, and they can even get inside ears and noses.
But do gnats bite? The male gnats don’t bite.
But the female gnats do. And they feed on your blood too.
The male gnats feed on the flower’s nectar.
Both biting gnats and biting midges don’t spread diseases like the mosquitoes. So, you’ll only get itchy red welts from their bites unless you’re allergic to bug bites.
Why There Are Tiny Mosquitoes And Mosquito-Like Bugs In Your Home?
There are five reasons for these tiny mosquitoes and their look-alikes’ presence in your home.
- Stagnant water
- Damp wastes
- Uncovered trash cans
- Overgrown vegetation in your yard or garden
- Light bulbs
Stagnant water on your property is the biggest reason for the presence of any mosquito in your home.
These mosquitoes lay their eggs in these stagnant waters. And it’s not only limited to water in your yard, tires, containers, or trash bins.
Mosquitoes can also lay eggs in your swimming pool and pond.
The mosquito larvae that hatch out of the mosquito eggs live in these waters. They come to the water’s surface to breathe through a snorkel-like tube on their abdomen.
Mosquito larvae look like a tiny wiggly worm, less than 1/5th of an inch long, and they’re brownish black.
You can see the larvae wiggling in the stagnant water sources like swimming pools, potholes, tires, and containers holding water.
When the larvae mature into adult mosquitoes, they need blood meals. And that’s the time when they enter homes.
Damp and decaying organic wastes, wastes rotting in uncovered trash cans in your yard, stagnant water, and lush vegetation are breeding grounds for gnats and biting midges.
Light bulbs attract both these tiny mosquito-like bugs inside your home.
How To Get Rid Of These Tiny Mosquitoes And Their Look-Alikes?
Removing their sources is of primary importance in eliminating these tiny mosquitoes.
It means that you must get rid of their breeding grounds –
- Organic wastes like foliage and rotting wood pieces.
- Control the dampness of your yard by avoiding overwatering and fixing water leakages
- Remove stagnant water
- Maintain your swimming pool and ponds so that bugs don’t infest them
- Keep trash cans covered. And don’t let wastes in bins rot for days.
Additionally, using fogger sprays and insecticides specifically made for mosquitoes and midges are also helpful.
Installing bug zappers in your outdoor area helps eliminate these and many other flying bugs that enter homes.
Covering your window screens with fine meshes protects these bugs from entering your home through the open windows.
You can also use bug-repelling light bulbs on your patio and doorways to keep gnats and biting midges from entering your home.
Scattering Epsom salt in damp soil beds, flower pots, compost piles, and mulch beds eliminates the fungus gnats and their larvae in these places.
Keep your windows closed during dusk and dawn. During these periods, mosquitoes, midges, and gnats will most likely get inside your home.
To protect yourself from the bites of these flying bugs, wear a DEET-based, skin-friendly insect repellent, especially when you’re outdoors.
Wearing light clothes and essential oils, like eucalyptus or peppermint, keeps mosquitoes and biting midges away.
The tiny little mosquitoes in your home can be Aedes mosquitoes or bugs that look like mosquitoes – biting midges and gnats.
This guide revealed their sources, the differences in their looks, why they enter homes, and how you can eliminate them.
Out of all these bugs, the Aedes mosquitoes are dangerous. It’s because these mosquitoes are disease carriers.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.