Those few weeks you are travelling and free in backpacker’s life are the highlight of the year for most of us. You have waited so long, saved up all this money and organised well to finally dig those sandy white beaches and jump into those turquoise waves at the other side of the earth. But there is a hidden danger lying in the sand, luring to get you and spoil your holidays. Who? Sandflies. Why? Because they can!
What is still unknown by many travellers is the fact that the tiny flies with the slivery, shiny wings, which will sit on you from time to time are not just any harmless fly. Those are sandflies.
And the little sting you might suddenly feel for a second is not an illusion, the salt on your skin or a tick of the nerves. This is a sandfly bite.
What starts out harmlessly and can be overseen easily in the first minutes is one of the most terrible things we have experienced in terms of skin irritation, the urge to itch for hours and hours and simply being annoyed for days and days.
Once sandfly bites hit you will be lost in a vicious circle of 4 – 14 days of itching, bleeding, festering and hurting. If you are unlucky you will even have an allergic reaction to the bites and it will be hard for you to even dress in clothes because the sandfly bites hurt so much and the pressure of the textiles will be unbearable.
So let’s take a closer look on sandflies, the b****es of the tropical dream beaches and see if we will be able to play a trick on them and escape those mean and cruel creatures…
Sandflies occur most throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, as well as in temperate zones. They are often found at beaches, and at the edges of lakes or swamps. There are many countries which are populare for backpackers (like you) You will find sandflies in the following countries in South East Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Malysia, Singapure, Myanmar and Vietnam. Sandflies occurs in Africa, where it is an important vector in certain regions, Europe (particularly the Mediterranean region), the Middle East and Asia (particularly the Indian subcontinent). A number of sand fly species are present in Europe, and in recent years, their range has increased.
New Zealand is konwon als one of THE sandfly countries: The New Zealand blackfly occurs in the North Island and around the coasts of the South Island. The West Coast blackfly is confined to the South Island, where it is a nuisance.
The West Coast and Fiordland are infamous for their sandflies. The terminus of the Milford Track, where trampers board the ferry to Milford Sound, is called Sandfly Point.
Australia: Sandflies might be a problem all along the Sunshine Coast in Australia
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