The Moose Jaw area has been rife with a particular species of biting flies late this summer - it would seem that the 'no-see-ems' have been on everything, and on everyone.

While they are usually hard to see, one can't help but notice congregations of them on just about anything, especially when the sun is shining and the wind is low. However, most don't notice them until they land, and bite. This leaves an irritating sensation, but not often will they leave a mark.

According to Dr James Tansey, the Provincial Insect and Vertebrate Pest Management Specialist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the Ceratopogonidae, known as biting midges, or 'no-see-ems', are no bigger than two millimetres, and most don't even notice them until they've already felt the bite.

Tansey said the obligate blood-feeders tend to have long antennae, and their feeding can result in some swelling and discomfort associated with the bite site.

All flies, Tansey added, are in the order of Diptera, with biting flies, fruit flies, mosquitoes, and gnats and a number of different other groups included. He said there are about 125,000 species described worldwide.

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