Ceratopogonidae is a family of flies commonly known as no-see-ums, or biting midges, generally 1-3 mm in length. The family includes more than 5,000 species, distributed worldwide, apart from the Antarctic and the Arctic. The scientific name is from the Greek keratos (horn) and pogon (beard).
Ceratopogonidae are holometabolous, meaning their development includes four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and imago or adult, taking two to six weeks. Both adult males and females feed on nectar. Females also feed on the blood of vertebrates, including humans, to get protein for egg-laying. Their bites are painful, and can cause intensely itchy lesions. Their mouthparts are well-developed for cutting the skin of its host. Some species prey on other insects.
Larvae need moisture to develop, but also air and water, so they are neither aquatic nor terrestrial.
Some species in other genera are predatory on other small insects.
Like other blood sucking flies, the Culicoides species can be vectors of disease-causing pathogens. Among diseases transmitted are the parasitic nematodes Mansonella, bluetongue disease, African horse sickness, Epizootic hemorrhagic Disease, arboviruses, and nonviral animal pathogens.
Historically, numbers were managed with the insecticide DDT. They can be trapped by luring them with carbon dioxide. Most midges are small enough to pass through ordinary insect window screening. They can be repelled with DEET, oil of eucalyptus, or Icaridin.