They know where to find you. And you can't escape.
These tiny menaces aren't enemy micro-drones. They're a more old-fashioned assailant.
They're the small biting insects that you see outside all summer, but never knew had a name. They have, in fact, a few: no-see-ems, biting midges or punkies.
According to Penn State Entomologist Greg Hoover, the insects have a few "unspeakable names" as well.
And these bugs are everywhere this summer.
"It could be because of an abundance of moisture this spring," Hoover said.
Northern states from Washington to Maine and down to Mississippi all received more rain than average this spring.
No-see-ems breed in ponds, wetlands and near flowing water like streams. They'll also breed in any stagnant water in your yard.
No-see-ems will bite you when you're digging in the garden or sitting out on your boat. Even at home, a screen door won't give respite from the bugs. At between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch, biting midges fly right through the holes in the screen.
Like the mosquito, the female biting midge feeds on blood. Though no-see-ems are tiny bugs, their victims say the itch from bites is just as bad as mosquito bites.
"The pain is quite extreme when you look at their size," Hoover said.
The folk remedy cure is painting over the bite with nail polish. A more effective technique is rubbing on some antihistamine cream.
But, like most insects, biting midges have their good points. Their rain forest relatives pollinate the cacao plant. The insects are something that we "equate with causing us pain," Hoover said. "But we don't have chocolate without pollination."
After natural disasters, it’s not uncommon to see pop-up charities appear, particularly around the holiday season.
A storm bearing strong winds, heavy snow, torrential rain, thunderstorms and fog will converge on the Northeast and Midwest on Christmas Eve and will likely create ground and flight delays.
With many winter storms lined up, snow will create a wintry setting for Christmas in some areas.
As the train of storms from the Pacific Ocean continues, rounds of rain and mountain snow will affect areas from the Northwest to the Intermountain West and Rockies through Christmas Day.
The train of storms that has pushed through California this month has brought welcome snow to Southern California ski resorts and helped launch their season after a slow start.
After a few mild days at the start of next week, temperatures will fall in time to create some wintry weather and travel woes for Christmas.
Arctic blast causes temperatures to plunge to 20 to 30 below zero.
West Palm Beach, FL (1989)
Record high of 88 degrees.
Philadelphia, PA (1991)
High of 30 degrees; only 5th day in 1991 with a high below freezing.