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A good repellent for Tetse fly?

London
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A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Hi All - I am visiting S Tanzania (Selous & Ruaha) later in the year and i have read Tetse flies are abundant!! Unfortunately, all bugs love me and I have been bitten by tetse flies before (vivcious things!!), anyway I normally use mosiguarg but this obviously doesn't work - any suggestions on a good repellent would be great. I have heard rumours about taking anti-histmine prior to departure to build up a resistance? but not keen on taking medication unless I know it is going to work. Any suggestions please. Thanks ;o)

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

If you find one, do let us know!

You can read older posts on here about them. AFAIK, there is no repellent or medication. ANti-histomine may be useful if you get a reaction,but you can take it after getting bitten - it won't prevent bites.

There a clever device called a Clickit (or similar), which applies a short electrical burst to the bite which seems to calm it down. The main thing to do is NOT SCRATCH, otherwise you risk making it worse and infection. So anything like calamine lotion which soothes the bite is useful to take.

The good news is, they tend to be very localised. There was a problem last year in Ruaha, where some schemes to poison the flies weren't completed, and so the numbers shot up. The camps and park authorities recognise that this can't be allowed to happen again, so the eradication work should be in full swing.

I have a theory that they are greatly attracted to buffalo (so don't wear dark colours), and have noticed that almost always after being bitten, we find some buffalo in the immediate area. Drive on a few hundred yards and the tsetse disappear.

Your guide should be able to show you how to kill the blighters. Slapping is no good - you need to pinch with finger and thumb.

Keep an eye out for them on your companions in the vehicle - its probable you will see them land before the other person feels them.

Sheffield, United...
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2. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Hi, the very reason why its always recomended not to wear anything dark coloured or blue. Tsetse fly are attracted by blue, and electric blue in particular is used to attract them into traps by scientists. It's not just to look the part that rangers wear neutral colours like green or khaki.

Ivan

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Nothing is really out there. But take colgate white tooth paste to put on the bites. it will relieve it and also stop the blister apearing.

Wise Maasai man put me onto this!

london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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4. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

I was plagued by tsetses last year in Zambia and my conclusions were:

1) Dark colours are bad. I agree with the buffalo theory- they certainly liked my "buffalo brown" trousers. I found black socks to be a big mistake- like most bitey insects they love your ankles. White socks are better and I actually found I was bitten less wearing sandals and no socks than wearing black socks.

2) They bite through your clothes so the best protection is to wear loose fitting clothing so even if they land on you and try to bite they won't be able to reach your skin. I found a loose long sleeved shirt was good. The longer and looser your trousers are the better, so that when you're sat down your ankles aren't exposed.

I was in Selous this January and didn't find the tsetses too bad- they were troublesome in some areas but not everywhere.

London
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5. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Many thanks for the tips on wearing dark colours and black socks!! Funny as I normally do wear dark clothing - the idea of loose stuff makes a lot of sense - I also got bitten quite badly when I visited Lower Zambezi by Tetse fly - and yes I did scratch and yes it got infected ;o(( which is why I'd rather not get bitten again. I have heard that 100% deet can be effective?? I ordered some stuff from Amazon, which says it is 100% deet and for shot term use only - gotta be worth a try.

Thanks all for your helpful hints and tips they are much appreciated, If this stuff woeks I'll let you all know ;o)

London
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6. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Thats interesting - Thanks ;-)

Laren, Netherlands
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7. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

AND remember, you are not allowed to kill them when you are in the National Park. Outside you are of course allowed to kill as many with any means possible.

And be glad you are not going to Katavi. That is the worst place for TseTse flies. And Vuma Hill in Mikumi..

desert
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8. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Prior to our safari I read some where that rosemary oil can act as a fly repellent. I was unable to find any that could be applied to skin, but I did find some that was meant for scenting a house. It came in a small vial, so I took some with me to Tanzania. I applied it to the cuffs of my shirts and trousers each morning and it seemed to help me avoid the tse-tse flies. Along with either mosi-guard or tabard--depending on how bad they were the previous day.... not bad at all while we were there (northern loop and then a southern loop) in late june to late july

Another way to help avoid the bites is --don't twitch! Sit or stand still in the vehicles. The flies are attracted to movement.

And yeah, avoid dark colours. They kept going after our guide's dark neck just above the beige collar line. Dress in dull, mid tone colours and avoid blues, including either greens that tend to blue or violets on the other side of blue of the colour wheel.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

Do not use DEET. They can smell it and know all about it. My companion last time ignored my warning and he got slayed while I sat in the row ahead and got nothing.

Avoiding UV spectrum clothes will deter and whilst you may get some funny looks if male, a pale primrose/jonquil shade of shirt works wonders. Anyone brave enough to wear 'Daffodil/Buttercup' please let me know.

Sadly the click type soother rarely works either. I aim to put Kime75's toothpaste to the test if any get through my defences next time. (They will!)

If you pass an infested area check your companions and they you. Look on the floor as when swatted at, not recommended, they will bomb down there and lurk.

Check the back of the seats as they also love to 'slipstream.' Sounds awful but it is not a big deal. If there were not any Tsetse the NP would be farmland by now.

Like Peter suggests, swatting does no good, they are toughies. I just scoop them in my cupped hand and lift them back out. Waving you arms around and jumping up and down just gets them excited.

I am a fan of Mossiguard and it seems about the best for the job. Not washing, shaving and covering your self with fancy Lotions also works although not so popular with your companions. (you can do all that before dinner to regain 'respectability' and a Beer..)

And above all, DO NOT SCRATCH IT!

Salem, NH
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10. Re: A good repellent for Tetse fly?

I am going to Tanzania in February of 2010. My doctor requested that I used 100% deet, but only apply it every 12 hours.

Good luck!

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