Painless, itch-less, but bloody bug bites at beach?
June 7, 2020 5:46 PM   Subscribe

What kind of Upstate NY bug hangs out at the beach and whose bites don’t hurt or itch, but do bleed?

We went to a beach on Lake George today. It was only in the 60s so social distancing wasn’t a problem, but distancing from bugs was. I know it’s black fly season in the Adirondacks, but I’m pretty sure these were not black flies (though they were small, black flying insects). I think this mainly because the bites are not painful or itchy, but bled quite a bit (for bug bites). My daughter and I both ended up with scabby blobs along our hairline and hair part, and they went in and behind my daughter’s ears, too. They didn’t bother my husband. When washed, the blood washes away - it’s not actually a scab. Leaves behind a small red dot, not raised.

What were these? I’m not new to summer in upstate NY, but I haven’t encountered these particular bug bites before.
posted by Kriesa to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Possibly biting midges (also called no-see-ums)?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:36 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: They were about the size of a midge but maybe less “fly” looking, and the midge description says bites are painful and can be intensely itchy.
posted by Kriesa at 6:47 PM on June 7, 2020

Best answer: The blackflies that get me here in Maine go for the hairline and the bites sometimes bleed. if you haven't encountered these beaties before, you may not have an allergic reaction. Until next time.
posted by theora55 at 6:55 PM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My first encounter with blackflies was a lot like that. Others who had an allergic reaction got big puffy ichy bits but mine just bled a bunch.
posted by lab.beetle at 7:33 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds like my experience of blackflies in New England: didn't feel them bite, but got big bloody welts afterwards.
posted by suelac at 7:37 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Blackflies cut a wedge out of your skin. Their bites are very tiny wounds. The bites can heal, or get infected, just like any other wound. Blackflies are evil little fuckers that will crawl behind your ears, under your collar, into your hairline, or under your eyeglass frames before they cut their evil little wedge out of your skin. Fuckers.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:15 PM on June 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Sounds like it was blackflies after all. I hadn’t realized that the allergic reaction to bites wasn’t developed until exposure. The description of their bite really being a little wedge cut out sounds right.

I guess we’d usually head for a pool instead of a lake so early in the summer most years (and we actively avoid the woods in June).
posted by Kriesa at 3:08 AM on June 8, 2020

Also, hooray for dragonflies, who are the cavalry who charge in and eat the blackflies.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:55 AM on June 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

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