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Bothered by bugs this fall? This pesky insect may be the culprit

They're not corn fleas, and they're not even no-see-ums! So... what are they?

AMES, Iowa — September brought a resurgence of allergies; ragweed being the primary culprit. 

Now, as we head into October, it's the bugs that are causing the annoyance. 

While one may think no-see-um's are the guilty party, Ginny Mitchell, the education program coordinator for the Iowa State University Insect Zoo, says there's actually a different bug to blame.

"The insect that we're going to focus on is the minute pirate bug," Mitchell said.

So... where did they come from? As it turns out, they're looking for food. Their usual food source is disappearing for the year.

"The corn and soybeans are being harvested," Mitchell said. "So now, the minute pirate bug is thinking 'Well, winter is coming; I need some last minute meals to be able to survive the winter.' So they're going off to find a new food source. That is us."

But we're not an ideal food source for the pesky bugs. They don't feed on our blood or our skin, but they bite us to see if they can, in fact, feed on us. It's not successful, but it still hurts.

"For such a teeny tiny insect, the bite that they have hurts really bad," Mitchell said. 

Bug spray doesn't work on minute pirate bugs, and that's one way you can tell the difference between minute pirate bugs and no-see-ums.

A hard freeze will be the end of the biting bugs, which could arrive later this week. 

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