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The dreaded chitras!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
12 posts
314 reviews
The dreaded chitras!

Usually insects are seasonal to some degree, they breed at certain times of the year and can be bad if you visit at the wrong time. Are there particular months that are bad in Bocas del Toro? Or are they more of a constant nuisance?

What do you recommend as repellent? Digging thru these forums it seems many folks recommend an oil based repellent since the little f%$#ers get stuck in it. We have some high potency DEET from a trip to southeast Asia that is sorta oily but also sorta smelly and probably carcinogenic. I've also read good things about the special formula they cook up at the Pickeled Parrott, is that the only place you can buy their stuff or do they happen to sell it in Bocas Town too? We were planning on grabbing a water taxi to Isla Bacimentos after stocking up on some groceries in town. Thanks!

Edited: 03 April 2012, 05:18
Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
5,892 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: The dreaded chitras!

As you probably gathered, different repellents work differently on different people. LN swears by Skin-so-Soft oil. For me, it's Cutter's Advanced. Anything beyond 40% DEET is a waste and ruins clothes and skin.

As for breeding times, this is the tropics -- there are two seasons; rain and no-rain. In Bocas they don't necessarily follow the calendar and they certainly have no effect on chitras. The only thing that seems to keep the chitras down naturally is a good breeze. Close your eyes and throw a dart at a calendar to predict when that happens.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
12 posts
314 reviews
2. Re: The dreaded chitras!

hmmm, yeah I know what you mean...up north the blackflies can be fierce and they seem to have a distinct preference for certain people. We're just trying to be well prepared in case they find either of us delicious. Probably makes sense to bring a couple of options

Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
1,339 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: The dreaded chitras!

I have read that tea tree oil helps with some people as well. Will be trying that out in a couple of weeks!!

LN
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
5,784 posts
75 reviews
4. Re: The dreaded chitras!

DON't let your guard down if you are there a coupla days and don't get bit.....

I did that once and the day I didn't wear any protection I was eaten alive by no-see-ums . Wear protection daily.

LN
Isla Bastimentos
Level Contributor
421 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: The dreaded chitras!

The Chitra or no-see-ems in Bocas are much worse at dawn and dusk and have been said to be worse around period of a Full Moon. Living here full time, I usually wear xtra lite weight long pants during these times and and I almost never get bitten. DEET is a toxic pesticide and I never put it on my body, Citronella based products work just fine for me and my pretty legs are 100% bite free :-)

Bocas Town, Panama
Level Contributor
1 post
2 reviews
6. Re: The dreaded chitras!

try C-Van, they sell it at Union in town and any coconut oil prevents chitras from biting because they can't land in the oil.

LN
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
5,784 posts
75 reviews
7. Re: The dreaded chitras!

Right Sophisticated, I SO AGREE the oil is the ticket for sure!

Bocas del Toro
Level Contributor
316 posts
8. Re: The dreaded chitras!

there are no breeding seasons for them, they breed all the time! they do prefer mangrove habitats, but are found everywhere. Bocas is not as bad as say the bay islands of honduras. And bocas in general is not too bad. The worst, is the small island of Carenero. there is a swamp at the center of the island where they thrive. Another issue is that some people first attract them more, and the second issue is that some people are highly allergic to the bites. Once in a while i will see someone walking with 100s of bites that have been scratched to the point of infection. The oil will not repel them , it will only get them stuck. they will land and then drown in the oil. but then the sand will also stick to you....coconut oil is best, as it is the thickest. Deet is the only thing that repel them. So maybe if you do not want your skin to absorb it you can spray it on your clothes....but in the bathing suit it wont help much. At night, the coils seems to help. it is pyrethrin.

LN
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
5,784 posts
75 reviews
9. Re: The dreaded chitras!

Yep, that is ME, crazy, I would be the person with 100's of bites. Right now I have only 5 infected ones.....and the doctor says "Don't scratch them" or some other lame advice. Who cares of the sand sticks to you, you will shower later anyway and the sand can act as a defoilate, he he. Still think oil is the less toxic to your systems.

Bocas del Toro
Level Contributor
316 posts
10. Re: The dreaded chitras!

LOL LN, maybe a whole marketing campaign can be developed around this concept. nourish your skin, avoid chitras bites AND exfoliate......all for the cheap price of a bottle of coconut oil! sorry to hear about your infected bites but your doctor is tight. DO NOT scratch. have you tried vinegar? it does help some people with the itching.

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