We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Tsetses

Annapolis, MD
Level Contributor
205 posts
52 reviews
Save Topic
Tsetses

I'm going on safari Aug. 23-September 5. Can anyone confirm whether tsetses are less of a problem during these months? I heard my biggest problem will be Tarangire and I should be ok at Ngorongoro and the Serengeti.

I have a head net, a hat and bandanna soaked in permethin and plan on spraying my clothes with permethin before I depart.

I've also heard ankles were an especially attractive area for tsetses so I'm going to find a couple of heavy pairs of socks and saturate them with permethin as well. I may use off wipes for mossies but know that it doesn't have any effect on tsetses. I did order something called Skeeter Beater, a natural repellent that some say has limited success with tsetses.

Any other suggestions? Should I mostly be concerned about Tarangire?

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
7,080 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Tsetses

Don't wear dark colored clothes, and if bitten don't scratch. While very annoying the bites will go away after a short while.

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
Level Contributor
16,094 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Tsetses

Don't saturate ANYTHING in permethrin. It is a highly poisonous chemical and it should not come in direct contact with your skin. If you treat yoru garments, do not soak them, and allow to dry thoroughly before wearing. I would never wear a bandana with permethrin on it, please be careful with its application(read the warnings on the bottle, it's serious stuff!)...

Stanley, Falkland...
Level Contributor
32,835 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Tsetses

To prevent scratching, there's a little electrical device ('zapper' or similar) which you apply to the bite to reduce the irritation.

I know in some parks with lots of buffalo,tsetse can be a serious problem, but I think you may be being over-anxious.

Ask your guide to show you how to catch and kill the flies - much more eco-friendly than chemicals on your skin...

nyc
Level Contributor
14,752 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Tsetses

Another who says - don't saturate your cloths in that poison... it's supposed to kill something, you don't want it to be you. And for sure not on a bandana that you breathe in. .

Even if items are dried, should you sweat, defeats the purpose. Besides, permethrin doesn't help when it comes to tse-tse... nothing does. With luck, your vehicle will have a/c... so just roll up the windows till out of the area.

Your guide should show you how to flick them out of vehicle, so don't smash them. If bitten, it's nasty, but do not scratch... apply an anti-itch cream, suck it in and you'll survive.

Annapolis, MD
Level Contributor
205 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Tsetses

Interesting, the bandanna and hat are from Ex-Officio and they also have numerous pants, shirts etc under the Insect shield brand that are all pre-treated with Permethrin to act as an insect repellent. None of these items should come in contact with your skin?

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,640 posts
1,070 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Tsetses

I picked up some permethrin to treat some of our clothing for our trip on Saturday. The person helping me at REI suggested using it only on outer layers of clothing and socks. After reading the instructions on how to treat the items and weighing the benefits vs. risks we decided not to use it. I just returned it to REI this morning. Pretreated clothing sounds much easier to deal with then soaking it, fumes and drying it outside. Seemed to much trouble. We are using Ultrathon lotion which is about 34% deet. I'll let you know when we get back in few weeks how it goes.

San Diego
Level Contributor
29 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Tsetses

We just returned from Tanzania and used permethrin to treat the pair of pants I wore almost every day of the 17 days we were there. Also took along an ex-officio pre-treated shirt and socks that I wore at dawn and dusk (when malaria mosquitos are most active). We traveled with a friend who is a doctor and she did the same. No side-effects from our clothes and no mosquito bites (there is a lot of malaria in tanzania and medications don't completely prevent getting it). I can't vouch for its ability to ward off biting flies because we rarely encountered them, but it warded off the biting ants when we were camping. Yes, it's creepy stuff, but it's short term use and I certainly preferred having it on my clothes rather than applying DEET or other chemicals directly to my skin.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,485 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Tsetses

I think that you may be over reacting a bit on this. If you run into Tse Tse then get inside until you get away from them. These will probably be the worse in the Tarangire, but not always. Just scoot them out of the vehicle and they'll be gone.

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
Level Contributor
16,094 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Tsetses

Good for you, Planet R! :-)

I've only ever used it to treat a few garments when I was heading to a malarial area of Cambodia , and my mosquito net.

State College, Pa
Level Contributor
777 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Tsetses

Don't have my notes right with me but don't recall experiencing any Tse Tse while in Tarangire NP last Nov. Did encounter a few in the Ndutu area but only sporatically. Interesting how they were distributed in a given habitat. Any time we ventured into one group of trees near the lake we "found" them. Driving thru similar vegetation type just a short distance away and none. Same thing in Mikumi a couple of years ago. There one particular dense brushy area had numerous ones and I just about lost my patience with them. But, our guide (actually the Vuma Hill Lodge manager) wanted us to see one particular area for its eland and the adventure was quite worth it.

We do not treat clothing nor seldom use inspect repellant spray. For 5 safaris I can practically count on my fingers the numbers of bites received. Yes, they are difficult buggers to kill.