What Are Tiny Black Flying Bugs that Bite

I’m an outdoor enthusiast, and I’ve always found myself swatting and itching, especially during summer hikes or on my fishing trips. 

The worst part is that these flies feed on human blood. Their bites are more painful and itchy than mosquito bites.

So, if you don’t want to be in a miserable situation like mine, read on to find out what the types of tiny black flying bugs that bite. 

I’ll also share the hacks to protect yourself from their relentless attack so your outdoor fun doesn’t become an itchy nightmare.

Biting Midges

Biting Midges Tiny Black Flying Bugs That Bite

Biting midges, which go by different names such as punkies in Florida and no see ums or sand flies, are tiny gray flies active in the coastal areas and near the marshes and swamps. 

These flies are terrible. They’re tiny, growing 1-3 mm in size, and have dark patterned wings that make them difficult to spot. 

So, when biting midges bite, you might wonder what’s biting you that you can’t see. 

Biting midges are biting gnats that belong to the Ceratopogonidae family. 

These flies are active during the summer and bite primarily during the dawn and dusk. 

After filling themselves with blood, these small biting flies turn red. And they appear as tiny red spots.

But once they get off your skin, itching and burning sensation ensue. The bite wound turns reddish and swelling appears on the skin.

Biting midges are primarily outdoor flies. But they can also enter homes because these flies are attracted to light.

So, if you live near a farm or in a rural area, you can also have biting midge problems in your home.

Biting midges bite don’t cause any diseases. 

Black Flies

Buffalo Gnats - Tiny Black Flies That Bite And Itch

Black flies or buffalo gnats are closely related to mosquitoes. But they belong to the Simuliidae family. 

Black flies breed in flowing waters such as rivers and streams. And these flies are also as menacing as the biting midges.

Their sizes are similar to the biting midges, growing 3 mm long.

However, black flies are darker, to the point of being black, and they have a humped back. 

They bite only during the daytime and rarely venture indoors.

Black flies or buffalo gnats can carry disease vectors that cause river blindness. And they attack in swarms. 


What Are These Tiny Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes need no introduction. Mosquitoes are the most common small black flies that bite indoors or outdoors.

The presence of mosquitoes on your property is a clear sign that there are active mosquito breeding grounds where they lay eggs.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water in potholes, garbage cans, bird feeders, and even in your swimming pool or pond. 

Mosquitoes glue their eggs on the edges of the water-holding container. Their eggs are black and when they hatch they produce mosquito larvae. 

The mosquito larvae is tiny brownish wiggly worm that floats on the water’s surface. 

Also, damp areas with moist soil and dense bushes can be their egg-laying grounds. 

Mosquitoes can cause diseases such as Lyme disease and dengue fever. Fortunately, there are no mosquito-borne diseases in the Unite States.

However, things don’t look safe because of the sighting of the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes in the US.

Minute Pirate Bugs (Insidious Flower Bugs)

Minute Pirate Bugs - Tiny black flies that bite and itch

Minute pirate bugs are 1/8 inch in size, oval-shaped, black with golden triangles on their back. 

These are primarily garden flies that feed on soft-bodied garden insects such as aphids and mealy bugs during the summer.

But minute pirate bugs are not garden pests. They’re beneficial insects that keep the population of plant-damaging insects low. 

When fall arrives, their prey dies off. And in search of food, they land on bare human skin and use their mouthparts to bite. 

But that’s just an interrogatory bite to figure out if the thing they landed on is food.

Their bites are painful and itchy welts appear on the skin. But they don’t inject saliva into our skin. 

Minute pirate bugs don’t cause any diseases. 

To protect yourself from minute pirate bug bites, wear dark-colored clothing. 

These bugs die off as the weather gets colder. And you don’t face the brunt of these bugs till the following fall. 

Reason Tiny Black Flies Bite Humans

The carbon dioxide we humans release and our body sweat draw these small biting flies you can barely see.

These flies can pick up the carbon dioxide that mammals release to find their host. 

Also, the color of our clothing matters too. Dark-colored clothes draw flies and gnats to humans. 

The odor that we emit, for example, the fruity smell, is also responsible for attracting biting and non-biting gnats or flies to us. 

Ways To Prevent Black Fly Bites

Wear DEET-based insect repellents to keep these flies away from your skin. These creams are skin friendly. 

Also, wearing light-colored, long sleeve shirts and long pants covering your skin also protects you from biting flies outdoors.

The choice of scents you prefer to wear also significantly impacts protecting yourself from gnat bites.

Do not wear any fruity-smelling perfumes or deodorants. Instead, use scents that smell minty. 

Flies and bugs hate the smell of peppermint and keep off things that reek of the minty odor. 

Eucalyptus and lavender also have the same effect.

Only The Female Black Gnats Bite

The interesting fact is that it’s only the female gnats that bite. 

Yes, only the female mosquitoes, female midges, and female buffalo gnats bite. The males don’t.

The reason is that female biting gnats need blood meals to develop eggs. 

That’s the reason they bite humans and other warm-blooded mammals. 

The male gnats and mosquitoes feed on the flower nectar. 

Treating Gnat Bites

Anti-itching or antihistamine creams on the itchy welts and swellings soothe the pain, irritation, and swelling. 

These creams are readily available over the counter.

Washing the bite wound with soapy water and putting ice caps on it also alleviates the skin discomfort.

However, some people are highly allergic to gnat bites. They show signs like difficulty breathing or nausea after bug bites. 

If you’re facing such symptoms, then seek medical attention ASAP.


Biting midges, black flies, mosquitoes, and minute pirate bugs are the tiny black flying bugs that bite.

The bites mostly occur outdoors with the exception of mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can bite both indoors and outdoors. 

Wearing insect repellent creams and long-sleeved clothing are keys to prevent the bites while at the outdoors. 

But if you’re facing the brunt of mosquitoes indoors, then you’ll need to treat your home for mosquito infestation and remove their sources such as standing water.

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