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Are the snbdflies really that bad?

Lake Macquarie...
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Are the snbdflies really that bad?

The brother told me that the sandflies/midgies on the West Coast around Milford Sound were horrific when he was there 10yrs ago. We have a similar attraction to the little monsters (we're usually main course) and I'm a bit apprehensive about spending the holiday looking like a pox victim. 10km from where we live there is some problem around late afternoon and I spray liberal amounts of repellent over me before getting out of the car at the mate's place. They got me last week through the socks and joggers on the top of the feet, even after I'd sprayed. I reckon they'd undo my shoelaces if they could!

Colorado
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1. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

I've been to Milford many times and I only had sandfly issues once. It was pretty bad that time - I remember the sandflies actually being INSIDE the cruise terminal and they seemed to attack us from every angle. HOWEVER, I've also been there and not had a problem whatsoever, so I assume it's seasonal (last time I was there with no problem was in March).

I don't think I've ever had a problem with them on the water, so you'll probably be okay if you're on a cruise.

They also seem to prefer my husband. I've read that Vitamin B repels them but I have no idea if this is true or not.

Sandflies like sand, so it's easy enough to ditch them by ducking into the forest when you're walking, etc.

Good luck.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

Not quite meing, the name sandfly is a bit of a misnomer, they ectually live and breed in dark and damp bush! All they need is lots of water, the reason why they are prolific in Fiordland and the West Coast. They don't like bright sunshine or very low temperatures, the reason you normally won't find them out in the open. Here's a thread with some ideas, don't under estimate them, they are there in their millions and their bites(well the itch afterwards) are ferocious.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255104-i125-k7413…

Queenstown, New...
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3. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

When ever I go near the bush I put on long sleeves, longs and wear soxs. Not matter how hot it is.

When we are camping out fishing, someone brings a can of fly spray, or else the evening is miserable.

The other trick is Marmite. Put it on really thick.

They don't like it!

Queenstown, New...
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4. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

I forgot the most important thing.

Lanacane you get if from the Chemist, dap it on the spot and don't rub it, don't scratch, leave it alone. Within minutes you will have forgotten about it.

Carry a tube with you on holiday where ever you go.

Colorado
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5. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

Interesting Zappers, as I've never had an issue with sandflies in the NZ bush/forest, only on or very near the sand.

New Zealand
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6. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

MeIng you're welcome to come do my garden any time you're visiting the Bay of Plenty. I have native bush, hot and humid up here and they are a major bug-bear(no pun intended) ;)

This is not to say they don't appear around sand also, maybe there was bush nearby? There is also a pesky sand mite that bites too.

From a link in the the thread that I posted-

"Native New Zealand Sandfly: Maori name: Namu , family name: Simuliidae blackfly

There are 13 species in New Zealand, two of which bite humans: the others preferring penguins, bats, and seals. They locate their prey through sight and smell and it is only the female sandfly that bites. She needs blood to produce her eggs so using her saw-like jaws to stab the skin a pool of blood is created, this is lapped up with her tongue. Her saliva contains an anticoagulant that causes the irritation to your skin.

Eggs are laid in fast flowing water. The males congregate in shady humid bushy areas and live off sap and nectar.

Sandflies are located in wetter areas of New Zealand and can be pests, but are effectively controlled by use of an insect repellent.

The West Coast of the South Island and the Fiordland area has sandflies that will "eat you alive". These New Zealand tiny sandflies are not generally lethal but they are very annoying.

You must be prepared with protection or the little flies will drive you mad."

Colorado
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7. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

Fair enough Zappers. I've not spent much time on the NI, but I've definitely run into my share of sandflies (or perhaps mites) on the SI. They're pesky things, no doubt about that!

Are they seasonal?

Greymouth, New...
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8. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

One thing for sure,is that the sandflys like fresh blood.

if they are biting visitoors,they arent biting us.

also remeber what touristsare told, as it isa national park, u are not allowed to kill anything!!!!!!!!!

just dont believe everything you are told. coverup well, dont show bare skin, and dont let spots of water get on you, it attracts them too.

in milford sound they are healthy specimins so enjoy your holiday

New Zealand
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9. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

MeIng, no they are not seasonal, they are present year round but do not come out when temperatures are freezing. As mentioned they prefer shady forest out of the hot sun

Sand flies have a couple of weaknesses(this from another website on the pesky b*ggers-

"They are slow – even at a slow walking pace they can not keep up and you will not notice them. Like wise when it is windy they can not cope and will retreat to the grass or sheltered forest. If you stop for a break, endeavour to stay out in the open where there is enough wind to keep them away.

They go away at night – as soon as it gets dark the sand flies will disappear, only to return at first light. In the early summer when it is light until nearly 10:00pm it can be a trial to wait for them to go away, but there is always relief ahead if you are able to wait until dark. "

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10. Re: Are the snbdflies really that bad?

Hi Harleynut

You should trust your brother and on this one - the sandflies really are that bad! I'm not sure I have ever thought of any insects as bordering on vicious until encountering NZ sandflies, but now that I have suffered their itchy wrath, I am beginning to think otherwise.

I thought we had bad bugs in Florida (we have flying cockroaches, for goodness sakes), but never until now have I awoken in the middle of the night due to a desperate need to scratch my bug bites.

I was chomped by the little monsters at the Moturau Hut on the Kepler Track. They went for any exposed skin - shoulders, hands neck, back, etc. But I think they especially love hot, sweaty feet, which may be why you had such a hard time of it yourself, even with socks and shoes. I took off my hiking boots for about 1 minute to change socks, and I managed to acquire about 20 bites in total on both feet in that short interval.

We just returned from Milford Sound today, and they are indeed swarming in the parking lot, at the cruise terminal, and at various stops along the Milford Highway (the Chasm, various viewpoints). Be careful not to leave your car door open for too long when you stop en route, or you will have several uninvited driving companions.

Zappers gives great advice on how to avoid/protect against the little monsters. It is certainly true that they are not confined to areas with sand. I think a bugspray with a high DEET percentage is a must, but covering up as much as possible is also your best bet. This includes socks and your neck as well. They were going after my husband's bald patch today at Milford Sound!

You might even want to consider applying DEET to your hands as I overlooked this, and the sandflies went straight for the only exposed/unprotected part of my body today.

One of the locals also told me that you can whip up a homemade remedy of Dettol mixed with baby oil (akin to Skin So Soft in the USA), but we just purchased the insect repellant with the highest DEET concentration we could find. Normally, I am not thrilled with applying such heavy duty bug spray all over, but I have to say that the poison inflicted by the sandflies is worse than whatever the bug spray might contain in this case.

Fortunately, the sandflies stay ashore at Milford Sound, so you will be just fine once you are on board any of the boats out in the Sound.

I think as long as you know what you are up against, you will be well prepared. Milford Sound is great, and don't forget to give yourself a few extra hours to enjoy the brief walks and viewpoints along the drive from Te Anau. Enjoy!