No-see-ums vs Gnats vs Mosquitoes with Springer Professional Home Services in Des Moines, Iowa

Insects are out in Des Moines IA throughout the year, waiting for people to bite. No matter whether you’re awake or sleeping, outside or inside, active or minding your own business, you can be a target.

Flying pests are some of the hardest to stay away from when it comes to bites. There are several airborne insects in our area that can leave us with painful, itchy, or even dangerous bites. We have heard a lot of people complain about no-see-ums, gnats, and mosquitoes this summer in particular. If you think you’ve been targeted by one of these pests before but aren’t sure how to tell, keep reading. We’ve laid out some advice from our experts here at Springer 

Identifying Gnats vs No-see-ums vs Mosquitoes

These three are definitely the peskiest flying pests in our area. It’s hard to imagine that you’ve never seen them before, but it can be confusing to tell them apart. Here are some ways you can tell gnats, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes apart:


Mosquitoes are the largest of the three, growing up to around 3/8”. They have long, upward-slanted wings, a hunched back, and a needle-like proboscis protruding from their mouth.

These pests are notorious for their adaptability to diverse habitats, thriving in both urban and rural settings. They are commonly found near stagnant water sources, such as ponds, marshes, and puddles, where females lay their eggs. Female mosquitoes also use their needle-like proboscis to pierce the skin and feed on blood, while males primarily feed on nectar.


Gnats are small, flying insects belonging to various families, including fungus gnats and biting midges. They are commonly found in moist, humid environments, such as gardens, forests, and wetlands, where they breed and feed on organic matter. 

Gnats are attracted to decaying vegetation, fungi, and algae, which serve as food sources for both larvae and adults. They are often encountered in swarms, particularly during the spring and summer months, when environmental conditions are favorable for reproduction. 


No-see-ums, also known as biting gnats or midges, are tiny flying insects that measure just 1/16th of an inch – small enough to squeeze through a screen. Despite their small size, they can be a significant nuisance due to their painful bites. 

No-see-ums are commonly found near bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, and rivers, where females lay their eggs in moist soil or vegetation. They are most active during dawn and dusk but can be active throughout the day, particularly in shaded or humid areas.

No-see-ums vs Gnats vs Mosquitoes Graphic with Springer Professional Home Services in Des Moines, Iowa

Do You Have a Gnat, No-see-um, or Mosquito Bite?

One way that you can tell apart different bugs in Des Moines IA is by learning the symptoms of each of their bites. Mosquito, gnat, and no-see-um bites differ in these ways:

  • Mosquito bites: Starting as a raised white welt and receding into a pinkish-red bump, these bites are familiar to many. They are often found on arms, legs, and other places where skin is commonly left exposed.
  • Gnat bites: Gnat bites are smaller, darker, and more rough-looking than mosquito bites. They are more painful initially and longer-lasting.
  • No-see-um bites: Because no-see-ums are actually gnats, their bites will look about the same. The main difference with their bites is that they are more likely to occur in closer clusters and in less common locations, like your face.

Bites from any of these pests can be annoying and painful. Using an EPA-approved bug spray with up to 20% DEET can be a great way to repel these insects during the summer here in Des Moines. While that may help you avoid bites, it isn’t always effective – especially if you have a large infestation on your hands. 

Get Rid of Biting Pests With Springer Professional Home Services

If you need extra help with pest control this summer, reach out to the experts at Springer Professional Home Services. We have years of experience dealing with all of these pests and can teach you the best ways to avoid them on your property. For a free quote, contact us today!

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No-see-ums vs Gnats vs Mosquitoes

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