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Bugs on Routeburn track

Melbourne
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Bugs on Routeburn track

Hi does anyone have experience of biting insects On Routeburn track and what to do about them?

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

Sandflies are common in most of NZ. They wont bother you while you are walking. Wearing long sleeves & pants in the evening when sitting around the huts can help. You can buy various repellants such as Bushman's Friend or Aerogard, but they are unpleasant to apply. Spray-on or roll-on application keeps the stuff off your hands.

Auckland Region...
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2. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

The sandflies can be pretty vicious, definitely the most dangerous animal in the NZ bush. Not quite as bad as your Taipans and Brown snakes, but close!

Seriously though, on the bad days (usually evenings) they will bite any square mm of bare skin that you don't cover with repellant. From my experience, the best repellants to use are those will a hgih proportion of "deet". Bushman has about 80%, but there are others.

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

There is anecdotal evidence that vitamin B of which there are large amounts in vegimite/marmite puts the blighters off. Aparently it is more effective taken internally (on toast) than smeered behind your ears :). You will find that one member of your group will be party teritory for sandflies and everyone else will be left alone.

When our boys were younger we stopped for a swim in a beautiful river. We could see the bumps appear on one son, but the other was untouched. Just hope it's someone else they like.

Evening near water is the worst time. At least they do not carry tropical disease.

Durham, North...
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4. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

You might consider the Australian repellent, RID -- it contains 3 repellents, including a fly repellent, and lots of soothing things for skin and bites.

We got ours (for Africa) and it worked very well.

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

They will not bite you while you are walking, but once you have stopped for 2 or 3 minutes they might find you. They don't bite in the night, and strong wind or heavy rain will keep them away. But a light drizzle might not.

Some people just don't get bitten (taste bad??) and some don't react much. But if you are like me (tasty apparently, and react badly) this is what you can do

1) take antihistamine tablets (fexofenadine based ones work best for me, but loratidine and cetirizine are also non-sedating). start 3 or so days before you are in the area. the bites still itch but not so bad

2) use a deet based insect repellent (at least 40%; Repel in 40% strength is available from pharmacies / chemists in NZ and works well) on exposed skin, including cheeks, forehead, neck and ears, but avoiding nose / eyes / mouth. It needs reapplying every 4-6 hours, and after getting wet eg river crossing. And it needs to cover all exposed skin on your arms and legs - if you just smear a bit on here and there, they will bite the uncovered parts. Sandflies especially like feet wrists and ankles so pay particular attention to those areas!

If you are religious about applying insect repellent it is possible not to get bitten at all even in heavily infested areas, but it is a pain in the neck. For people who don't react too badly it isn't worth it. Only problem is you may not know if you react until 24-36 hours after you are first bitten.

Surrey England
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6. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

I was very badly bitten when in Franz Joseph on our last visit and suffered from itchy bites on my ankles and lower legs for about three weeks!

I am hoping to avoid bites this time round.

I know about the sandflies on west coast and fiordland but is there anywhere else where I should be cautious?

I'll also be in the far north (Hokianga) Abel Tasman,Hanmer,Wanaka ,Catlins,

Lake Tekapo areas.

Auckland Region...
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7. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

They are found NZ wide but mostly in the South Island

New Zealand
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8. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

You might collect some bites in Abel Tasman but the rest of your travels should be bug free. I got some sandfly bites somewhere here around Nelson last week and was itching for days. I think sandfly bites are the worst as they continue to itch for so long afterwards.

Best of luck :)

Christchurch, New...
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9. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

Sandflies definitely swarm in parts of the Abel Tasman. Have seen the occasional one around Hanmer but not many. Most parts of the South Island near native bush (beech trees) seem to have them. Farmland areas not so much. That has been my experience anyway.

Surrey England
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10. Re: Bugs on Routeburn track

Thanks, I shall bring plenty of strong repellent.